Raising the BARR – Week ending 01/09/2023

Anonymity of social media
Raising the Barr

Live and Let Live


Is it just me, or is there a broader trend out there for people to have less patience and tolerance for our fellow travellers?  Are we shifting from a more gentle acceptance of each other toward an angry and divided society?


I can’t help but get the sense that the language of the media, in some instances, is more angry and hateful than ever before.  There is one free-to-air channel in particular that seems to spew out hateful opinions on every imaginable topic.


At the same time, the massive growth in social media and online communication has given people the chance to say many things, through their keyboard, that they would almost certainly not say to another person in a face-to-face meeting.  And of course there is the anonymity of online spaces, for those that choose to hide their identity.


Certainly in politics, some MPs and some political parties are using deliberate language of division.  The hope is to rally their base to action even though those same words are very hurtful for others.  And I am not just talking about “normal” politics here, I am talking about really hard-edged and targeted insults.


I had always assumed that as our society, as we had better access to information, became better informed and our communities became more culturally diverse, that we would move in the direction of tolerance and acceptance.  Instead, we seem to be going the other way.


So, what is happening out there?  Why do we find ourselves so deeply divided on things that are often just views, thoughts and opinions?


A few columns ago I wrote about the upcoming referendum and urged people to accept the views of those that want to vote yes, or no.  Now that the date for the referendum has been set, I do hope that this call for accepting the views of others will prevail.  I know how I will be voting and I know why.  If you are voting differently to me then of course that is fine and dandy.  Let’s go forth and participate in our wonderful democracy in a peaceful way.


In recent weeks the NSW Parliament passed a new law to further protect each persons religious beliefs, whether they are believers or non-believers, and no matter what the religion.  One of the more insightful comments made was a call to all, no matter what their beliefs on religion, to not use those beliefs and the words around those beliefs as a sword to damage or harm others.  I couldn’t agree more.


Go well everyone.


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For enquiries regarding the State Government or its departments, or to put you in contact with someone who can help, please contact my office.  My office can be contacted by phoning 4991-1466, by email to cessnock@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call into 118 Vincent Street (PO Box 242), Cessnock 2325.


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