Sunday, 29 April 2012



I'm sure you've all seen something like this before. I could go into a rant here about what's wrong with it, but below you will find the perfect case study. It took place on the internet, of course, in a public medium, and is therefore fair game. Names of course, other than my own, have been omitted, and there is no intent to cause offense to any party - but hey, I'm the evergreen polemicist - if you're offended, I take it as a compliment.

Poster: O M G! This is so unjust... <displays the above ^ image>

Me: It's also untrue.

Poster: Many 'Opinions' and different situations... maybe 'everyone' needs to look at 'all' of it.

Participant: Is it <me>? I was wondering about that. How much do they access?


Participant: Just read one that says that this misinformation is based on a Canadian story. And the refugees I work with just don't seem to have the kind of money that this suggests. Finally, in our government there is no such thing as illegal immigrants.

Me: See the myths; aged pensioners base weekly income starts at $335.95, then there's supplements on top of that. I am unsure how it works, but while the aged pension is still frightfully low, they still get more than *illegal* immigrants, who get *nothing.* Asylum seekers get nothing, too. Properly processed immigrants and refugees (the latter having to wait in detention centres for an indefinite number of years, with appalling conditions and being separated from their families) receive the same opportunities as all Australian citizens and permanent residents.

Poster: <me>... many people do not take into account the money it takes to be Cared for in a Home.. most pensioners are left with next to nothing per fortnight. Our 'aged' population is going without in a Huge way, whilst illegal immigrants are given money that most of us pensioners of all levels would not receive.

 Participant: Thanks <me>. This is much more like what I have experienced.

Poster: Whatever paperwork is 'out there'... there is nothing like 'seeing it for yourself' to feel it hit home.

Me: <Poster> I've no idea what 'seeing it for yourself' or 'feeling it hit home' has to do with anything...unchecked emotion and rhetoric can become problematic, as in the case of these statistics, for example.

Also, there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant under Australian law. Anybody is allowed to enter Australia for the purposes of seeking refuge - ie. Asylum. There is a system for processing them under the law, and we are not the USA; it is factually incorrect to refer to anyone in this country as illegal immigrants.

The elderly in this country are indeed under immense strain for a variety of reasons. This is in many ways regrettable, and can - and indeed should - be remedied. But we must say the same for the public health system and the asylum seeker/refugee situation as well.

All three of these systems give people a fundamentally unfair deal, but it doesn't help to post - and in doing so, support and spread - such vitriolic untruths as are
contained in this picture. Doing this will only make the problems worse.

Participant: I think that our Aged population is suffering under the conservative govs of the last decade or so. We could be all about public aged care here in Aust, but I notice that we are moving towards a system of privatisation. I do think that for many of our leaders and voters, there is a belief that if you do not have a nest egg for retirement you somehow deserve to live poor. It sucks - and is reminiscent of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum days. But it is a completely separate issue. To couple refugeeism and aged care together is simply an example of persuasion. <poster> - I challenge you to come to my work sometime - We have some of the highest level of refugees living here in <Participant's home town>, in Australia. I teach them every day. They are struggling to get by with regular Dole payments and often without Medicare. Even though the term does not exist anywhere in the legal profession, in the world, they are labelled 'illegal immigrants' every day. This link is trying to create harm and discontent in our community. It is designed to divide us. I for one, do not accept these weak and badly researched arguments, or the discriminatory propaganda they are peddling. With you there, <me>. It is so unusual to see anything that is not peace, love and happiness coming out of <Poster>!

Poster: Unchecked emotion? Geezus your rude! Statistical minds seem to have no room for the 'real'. Like i said.. whatever paperwork is out there.. dosent account for what is being seen. Since now 'I' am being put on the chopping board, because I do not agree with your opinion's, does not make me anything less than i am either <Participant>.

 Poster: Why would I personally want to be challenged? I have an opinion, and not All places are the same. You people have just made me sick to my stomach. Attacking. Take it elsewhere.

Poster: OH.. and please forgive me if i'm no 'lawyer' or 'statistical speech maker'... I'm a person who lives with a chronic illness.. who see's people who have come from oversea's as refugee's, given all sorts of things that I cannot afford.

 Participant: You are not less - I was just surprised. Not your normal type of post. I guess the problem that <me> and I have is the difference between fact and opinion. 'I hate refugees' is an opinion but 'refugees get paid standard newstart allowance' is a example of fact. 'Refugees get paid $56 000 per year' is what we call an assertion. You write it like a fact (without I think at the beginning for example) but there is not evidence to back it up and it happens to feed into a general fear that exists in out society. It is persuasive, not factual. You can give the opinion that you don't like refugees, but 'facts' like this one will always get a sharp reaction. Finally, while I know you are angry about us right now, I hope that you will check this out more one day - you will find that too often, those who sit at the bottom of society are so often pitted against each other like this.

Me: Ahh. I live with a chronic illness too, as did my parents and most of my grandparents. I wish I could apologise for my behaviour and empathise with yours, but you took a chain mail hoaxes as an excuse to decry others for having things you don't have, and you played the 'hurt feelings' card. Both of these things make me a little sick, too. Now that both our opinions have been voiced, we can surely agree on the fact that we're both sickened by the attitudes and facts that have been shared by the other. Cheerio.

 Poster: Excuse me...'I' DID NOT WRIGHT IT'. What it did was open up other area's of concern and displeasure. I did not say HATE... you are putting words into my mouth. How dare you. These people get a one off big payment when they come in.. and they also get Heaps more opportunities for help! You may see it as feeding a fear... I see it, as do many, that it is something that might stir some 'thought' about it. You telling me that 'I' am Angry is an assumption. I am not angry.. I am disappointed. How dare you sit on your high horse and put me down for an opinion i have. Suffering goes on all over the world, yes. And I for one would like our Government look after their voters for a change.. before putting everyone else first. You both have totally got me the wrong way because of making assumptions.... maybe.. when YOU are ready.. get to know me first before you assume I'm a hater!

Poster: <me>,. what an awful person you are. You have no idea.

Poster: Are you bed ridden most days?

Poster: How dare you take it out on me... I am sorrow to have ever given a thought of building a friendship with you.

 Me: What does the state of either of our illnesses have to do with the fact that you're advocating a false and divisive agenda as the email presents? They don't get more than us. The email is wrong. You're getting worked up over a chain letter email full of lies...

 Poster: What have you got to say about the people living in card board boxes living on the side streets???

Poster: You obvioulsy have not read everything i have said <me>. 'Whatever' paperwork is out there. I really don't care about 'this particular piece of paper'.. get it?

Poster: The state of my own personal health is very important.. as I have seen a hell of a lot of people being thrown to the 'too hard basket'.

 Poster: I don't hate.. I want our Australian people to be cared for! I want our Australian people to have All the opportunities there is to have a better life!And by saying that... it dosent mean a new car.

 Poster: I will stand up and have my opinion...and in well earned life credit.

Me: If that's true then why play the 'he hurt my feelings' card when I tried to steer you away from this false email and towards a more truthful approach to the situation? Why base your stance towards your illness, aged care, the homeless, immigrants/refugees, and me, on the emotionally rhetorical and vitriolic lie that the email propagates.

Poster: This is <Poster's boyfriend> the point is this we believe that charity starts at home and i see no reason to be spending millions of dollars on overseas aid programs and millions on refuges while we still have Australians with mental health issues who can not get the care they need and people living on the street in cardboard boxes,people losing there homes through no fault of there own equally people simply not being able to access proper housing and health care.We simply believe that we shouldlook after our own people properly first.and after that refuges.

 Me: I am not attacking you; I started with trying to share with you *factual truth,* because that's how all such things should begin between friends. I know I offended you in the process somehow, but if you recall, you began hurlingl personal insults when your friend corrected the erroneous facts you presented. You're entitled to your opinion, and to invest your efforts in trying to make the world a better place. But so am I. My opinion is that truth is truth is truth, and everything and everyone must do its damndest to begin with truth. Since there's so many other ways such noble ideas can come unstuck, sabotaging it by trading truth for willful ignorance and emotional indulgence will always offend me, because it is *WRONG.* If my attitude offends anybody, then I will considerit evidence thta I'm doing something right.

 Poster: ... i don't need your help to 'steer' me away from this 'evil' email. I am always honest.. and i am being honest when i say I am NOT playing any emotional cards. What i have said is NOT based on that email! omg..get it in your head!

 Poster: omg.. I did NOT present these 'facts' .. this is ridiculous. Saying I am 'Ignorant and haveing emotional indulgence' is a cop out. I am not Wrong.. I feel.. I am Human.. I have seen it.. i will express it as I am a passionate person in any stance. If you want to take it as ignorance and emotional indulgence.. go for it. As i have said.. i think a couple of times.... is that its what this email made me think about.. other that the immigrant stuff. But.. you and your 'iintellectual' head... cannot get past that. I MUST BE PROVED WRONG! Get over it.. and tell me when you really have some life credit to your name... its all statistic and emotionally (which means feeling) re moved. Human's Feel. Get a clue.

 Me: And my point, <Poster's boyfriend>, is that nobody is being looked after properly - saying charity begins at home has three implicit flaws - 1. That this is an issue of charity and not one of statecraft, humanitarian welfare and prioritisation of government funds, and 2. That anybody from the western world has any idea what these people go through, and 3. That said western world thinks they deserve more than others do.

Patriotism is evil. I feel that drawing political lines in the sand between people is immoral, especially when it is used as an excuse to keep screwing over people outside our political sandbox. I struggle therefore to see how you can speak of charity.

 Poster: I guess you struggle a lot <me>... there 'could' be many plans.. many ways to tackle it. but.. if we are not healthy/healed as a nation first.. then how the hell can we heal/help others to the effect that it is actually going toFIX it? NO.. Work on the 'home' first.. then branch out. That's our opinion.

Me: How is sharing the image *on your wall* and headlining it with "O M G! This is so unjust!" *not* presenting them? You called the email evil, not me, but if it's capable of inciting you to this much anger, as well as being the lie we already know it is, then it may very well be. Emotions may 'feel' honest, but there is a fine art to tempering them with objective truth, as well. Balancing the scales, in a sense, like the goddess of justice, whatever her name is XD

If what you said is not based on the email, then why a) present it as the fuel for this discussion and then b) turn this discussion into such a violent argument? I'm genuinely confused.

...or at least I was, until I read the last part of your last post, there.

Saying I am 'unable to feel' and that I 'struggle a lot' is actually inexcusable. You crossed a line there. I am a passionate person too, but I'm also capable of basing my emotions in reality. You seem to have lost that capability, or never had it. I am gravely incensed by your assertion that I cannot feel. You are rather fond of taking things out of context to fuel your emotional frenzy, aren't you? I must conclude that this is so, and that your behaviour - and the opinions you hold about the world that such behaviour stems from - are only malicious, negative, and immature. This conversation is over. You want to talk to me ever again,you preface it with an unreserved apology.


I wanted to end with "Now it's time for my emotionally unbalanced and immature response: Fuck you." But I didn't. I'm proud of myself. Time for muffins and bacon :3