Waatea News Column: This is America !

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Images over the last 24 hours of a native American veteran singing for his fallen comrades met with sneering MAGA hat wearing white youth is a jagged, damaged vision of America right now.

Nathan Philips was marching in the Indigenous People’s march when it over lapped with an anti-abortion protest. At that protest were catholic school boys wearing Make America Great Again hats.

The school boys were originally yelling at a small group of black religious protestors (and included a bizarre Haka attempt by the MAGA hat wearing students) when Phillips waded in between the two groups and was surrounded.

The students mocking taunts in the face of a man who has fought for the very nation they are claiming to make great again speaks on so many levels of privilege and inequality it’s difficult to know where to begin.

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Adding more confusion were the original rushed media claims that the school boys had approached Phillips, when it was he who stepped in between them and the black protestors. This rush to the facts and subsequent backdown was seen as another example of media bias, which is unfortunate as Philips motivation, as seen in the full video, was to step in between the two groups.

Beyond the rushed judgements and our need to see the worst in the other, we have a cultural landscape lacking in basic kindness and dignity. In the hyper critical environment of social media where hot takes and lack of all facts leaves us with little more to go on than ill judged opinions and easy anger, we are becoming nothing more than a baying lynch mob.

Bigotry and hate isn’t something we are born with, it is taught and right now we need far more lessons in basic generosity of spirit and simple compassion.

 

First published on Waatea News