Saturday, 22 August 2015

Disagreement is sedition

A woman I know was recently served a trespass warning notice by mail from WINZ-Work and Income New Zealand. The reason? Disagreeing with something she was asked to do. No threats no abuse, just saying I don't want to do that. This worries me. I hear it all over the place-dissent or disagreement is being viewed as hostile or dangerous by authorities-including parliament. Couple that with peoples fear over job security where if they speak up they may be sacked or 'sidelined' and you have a a nasty little recipe brewing. You have an environment where crap can continue when it no longer serves. The proponents have been warming the oven slowly and now see it as a way to make their road-sic Bill, law, preference, status-smooth.
In another sense it merely echoes the compulsory school setup-as an ex teacher I can give you many examples of where I have seen this same behaviour.
We used to call that bullying. Now its seen as legitimate behaviour.
What to do? Speak your mind. It will take courage. Do it with courtesy and use language which conveys your values, your wants and your feelings.Listen to what it is that they are wanting and why they want you to do what they say. You may lose your job, your friends, your position. But you will gain the world so to speak; and if we all do it we will institute change. You may get what you want and that may be surprising for most of us used to not getting what we want; thinking that to be somehow selfish. At the very least you will sleep with integrity as your pillow instead of fear and resentment. Learning to live with ourselves is the first step as it is often our own judgements of which we are afraid.
Let us see disagreement as healthy, conflict as unavoidable and a means to hearing people and what they need for life to be good. Let us embrace our differences around the respectful table of disagreement and dissent, and strive toward mutually beneficial outcomes.

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