Agree or disagree, is there ever a need to resort to a racist rally?
What is there to gain from a bigot congregation where hateful words are shouted, “Heil Hitler” salutes are performed and violence is common?
What do arguments without facts or substance achieve?
Of course Saturday’s fair-right extremist rally organised by the United Patriots Front on Melbourne’s St Kilda beach should not be tolerated.
It is not freedom of speech, it is discrimination.
And it is a terrible look for the country on the world stage.
But sadly it is a tale of the times in which we now live, where level-headed arguments about any topic turn into name-calling and accusations.
It is in our politics, schools, workplaces and homes.
Why is it that when we disagree on policy about race or religion in this country, we have to go to the extreme?
Flashback to 2005 when a series of race riots broke out in Sydney’s beachside town of Cronulla. More recently Melbourne on more than one occasion.
Disagreeing on immigration policies, religion or any matter can be debated in a respectful manner, it just takes leadership.
But when you have senators such as Fraser Anning using taxpayers’ money to take part in such a thing – we are a long way off.
Australia is a multicultural nation where a majority hold strong values of equality and inclusiveness.
What is the best way to respond to such behaviour?
Condemn it and then move on because highlighting such acts and people only fuels a dangerous fire.
It gives them what they want. A pedestal.
Because of their behaviour, we should not lose faith that Australians give people a fair chance no matter what a person’s race or religion be.
As a society most Australians are above violence and grandstanding, so let’s teach the next generation the right way to protest and debate.