If You Don’t Like It, Then Leave

January 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm (arsehats, personal) ()

This is one saying that is sure to get me thoroughly pissed off every time.  Beyond that, it’s flat out disappointing.

Most of the time it’s used to refer to anyone who doesn’t agree with the rules or standards of a place.  Most recently I’ve heard it used to refer to anyone not patriotic enough to support Australia Day.  So my objections in this instance exist on two levels.

1) Australia Day is celebrated on the day the First Fleet landed in Australia.  To quote Wikipedia (*shudders*) “the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia.”  So we actually spend one day of every year celebrating the event that led to the persecution and opression of the Aboriginals.  And if you dare to mention this, or even just dare to avoid any kind of celebrations, you’re unpatriotic.  How evil I am to not want to celebrate other human beings despair.  Most of the people I’ve raised this objection to have said that given no one remembers the history of Australia Day, it’s no longer racist or problematic.  This is full of white privilege and ignorance.  Not everyone has forgotten.  Aboriginals, just for a start, still remember what the day means.

2) This country pretends to be a democracy.  In a true democracy, if you don’t like something, you have the right to protest.  When the government does things wrong you have the right, if not the duty, to protest and to attempt to hold them accountable.  Sayings like this are a way of silencing dissenters, and they will are not helpful for anyone.

The last thing I’d want to mention is that this kind of sentiment, in this country, is normally directed at immigrants.  Now moving beyond the irony here given the history of Australia Day, immigrants have as much right and duty to question the government as anyone born here.

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