An Open Letter to Cory Bernardi

Re: Orwellian Influence in Public Discourse

You should resign from politics immediately, you disgraceful, homophobic bigot.

There, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s get one thing straight right from the start. When someone attacks you because of how you were born, who you love, or any other aspect that you never chose and cannot change, that’s bigotry. When someone attacks you because you choose to go around attacking others over things they never chose and cannot change, that’s not bigotry; it’s fair play.

Refusing to tolerate a bigot is neither intolerance nor bigotry. And freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences or criticism. It just means that it’s literally not illegal to express something. I fully support your freedom to hold your views and to openly express them, no matter how wrong and irrational they may be. However when you express a view that’s not based on reason, and do it in a way that’s repeatedly derogatory and harmful to a very large number of people, none of whom have given you any cause to attack them, you can expect to cop plenty of consequences and criticism. Which you can certainly go and have a whinge about on your blog if you like, but it’s not Orwellian, it’s not unjustified, it’s not a suppression of your right to free speech. It’s just you having a whinge.

If you want an example of something Orwellian, you using your political power to tell an unpopular minority that they cannot have the same rights as everybody else, that the law will not permit them to live the lives that they desire, that they will be treated as second class citizens before the powers that be, all because the idea of them having equal treatment under the law makes you personally uncomfortable, that’s fucking Orwellian. State-sponsored repression and state-mandated orthodoxy is Orwellian. The public calling you out for spouting hateful nonsense is not.

But no, I don’t call you a bigot simply because you oppose marriage equality, nor am I saying that opposing same-sex marriage automatically makes somebody a bigot. Neither am I calling you a bigot for choosing to follow Christianity or for choosing to adopt Christian values. Some of the most decent, compassionate people I know do the same (though really, religion is no predictor of character or decency; some of the worst people I know also wear that same hat).

I call you a bigot because instead of choosing to practice what Christ actually preached in the New Testament, such as “love thy neighbor” and “judge not lest ye be judged”, you’ve chosen to push forward with Old Testament dreck about “abominations” and the like. Perhaps you’d also like to revive the Salem witch trials? After all, “though shalt not suffer a witch to live”, right? That’s in the Old Testament too.

I call you a bigot because instead of putting forward any rational arguments to support your side (and let’s be honest, there aren’t any; even your recent conceit about historical tradition is nonsense, as the Marriage Act was only passed in 1961, and has only defined marriage as being between a man and a woman since 2004) you choose to simply vilify and demonize an already unpopular minority while simultaneously abusing your political power (and Malcolm Turnbull’s tenuous grip on the Prime Ministership) to single-mindedly dismantle programs designed to help them cope.

I saw your same-sex marriage debate with Penny Wong. Your performance was underwhelming, to say the least. And Ms. Wong showed remarkable restraint in not simply dismissing your arguments as the hateful commentary of a bigoted man. Frankly, I was quite disappointed that Wong chose to stick to the high ground rather than giving you the thrashing you so rightly deserved, though I can understand her motives for doing so; she’s actually got skin in this game, she still has to sit and wait while the rest of us weigh in on her rights, she has to show respect and deference to those that would vilify her just for having been born. But I don’t have any skin in this game, and as such, I can tell it like it is.

Assertions that gay couples are unfit to raise children have been thoroughly rebuked in study after study (and besides, gay couples are already raising children and will continue to do so whether or not they can legally marry), and certainly tend to indicate a strong case of homophobia. Implying in any way that same-sex relationships somehow lead to bestiality, pedophilia, incest, polygamy, or similar things is just as nonsensical, just as completely unsupported by any sort of evidence whatsoever, definitely homophobic, certainly bigoted as well, and incredibly disrespectful and harmful to a segment of our society that has had to put up with disrespect and harm for far too long already. So I call you a bigot (and a homophobe) for saying those things, too.

In short, I call you a bigot because it’s the mantle that you’ve chosen for yourself. If you don’t like it, you’re free to choose to stop wearing it at any time.

And I call you a disgrace because…well, the reasons for that one are as numerous as they are obvious. The fact that we may well end up wasting $160+ million to hold a farcical, nonbinding plebiscite to appease tools such as yourself who will probably still vote against same-sex marriage even after the farcical, nonbinding plebiscite passes is nothing short of appalling.

You are a homophobe, a bigot, and a disgrace to your elected office. You have no business being in politics, and if/when our paths cross I will happily tell you so every single time.

I fully encourage every other decent Australian to do the same.

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