David Slack: Let's all try to agree on something
OPINION: What a tortured fractious time we've all been having, New Zealand, haven't we, while we wait for that complete moron in golf trousers to microwave us.
Has it ever been this bad? Apart from the Springbok tour and Vietnam and the 1951 Waterfront Strike and the Queen St riots and the New Zealand Wars, we've been pretty good until now at getting along really, haven't we?
Maybe it's because on the internet you can call someone a "leftie, socialist c-bomb who takes offence at an ant crossing a road" and just like that, she's all on for young and old.
No-one ever says that sort of thing at a family Christmas dinner, but that's what I saw on Facebook this week: a prominent family hurling great big mounds of political opinion at one another.
Maybe it's that you can't turn on your radio without hearing Matthew Hooton or Mike Hosking calling someone disgraceful, or a crook.
So much spittle, so much venom, so many days to go.
Is it not too late to save this marriage, or at least stop telling one another to go and get expletived as we pass in the hallway?
Would it help to take stock of what we all agree on? Let's try.
Kittens. Kittens are adorable. Who doesn't love kittens?
"What about Gareth Morgan?" you will ask, and I will say to you: let's have a look in his browser history. There you go! What did I tell you? Isn't that ginger one adorable?
But Gareth has a point, and it's this: get rid of the cats and you fill the bush with birdsong. He loves the bush, and don't we all? Aren't we the last loneliest and loveliest corner of the world? Isn't that something we're all agreed on?
How disappointed would we be if that heart-aching beauty was in any way endangered? Needless to say if we can protect it by, say, scrubbing our boots, or making sure waterways aren't contaminated, we do whatever we can, each of us, whenever and wherever necessary, without hesitation. That's how much we care, we're bound together by that.
Making fun of Gareth's cat thing is a bit of an easy hit, though. And that's something else we all agree on, isn't it? We don't like people taking an easy hit. We believe in a fair go. We love it so much we made a TV show out of it. Best TV show ever made, if you ask Brian Edwards, who is an experienced media commentator.
So much in common, so many shared values.
We all love the beach, the barbecues, the barefoot days. Or at least, we all used to like it, but then some people started calling it "chilling and kicking back" and, well, as far as I'm concerned, now you're dragging your nails down a blackboard. Cut it out will you? Also, who puts a marble benchtop in a bach?
Sorry about that, forgot for a moment I wasn't on Twitter.
Glen Campbell. We all love Glen Campbell. "Listening to a Glen Campbell playlist," my friend Nat wrote this week, "and realising I know all of the words. All of them." Soundtrack of our lives, beautiful wistful songs. Still on the line.
Would it help to try a little kindness?
Do we all at least agree that there are times when the State should help people in need? Perhaps we don't, but let's just pretend that no-one is that stone-hearted or cold-blooded.
And if we accept that, then is the objection about Metiria Turei that she was economical with the truth, and wasn't deserving enough? Because whether or not she was, that doesn't disqualify the argument she was making.
She has been saying for 15 years that for many poor people, the support the State offers is not enough, and if you take that support, you can find yourself being treated harshly.
Fifteen years and, she felt, getting nowhere. She tried something more audacious, it blew up in her face.
There has been a hunt and a bloodied head at the end of it. It won't be the last, there is never a last one.
And at the end of it all, life for our poorest people is still meaner and more miserable than it needs or ought to be.
- Sunday Star Times