Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Utterly tone-deaf

This morning a hostel burned down in Wellington, killing ten people. Aotearoa is a small country, and a disaster of this scale is unusual, so every political party leader was asked to comment. What did National Party leader Christopher Luxon have to say? An American-style "thoughts and prayers":

National's leader Christopher Luxon said his thoughts were with the victims and responders.

"It's pretty shocking what we've seen here overnight, and our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the people who've lost their lives, the families who've lost loved ones, and those that are now fighting for their lives in hospital as well as being grateful for our responders."

Luxons comments were later echoed by ACT leader David Seymour in Parliament.

The problem with this is that that particular phrase is very obviously an American import, used most notoriously by American politicians to pretend to care about the daily mass-murders of schoolchildren by psychopaths with military weapons. I say "pretend" because it is obvious that those politicians do not care - if they did, they'd do something about it (like, you know, having sensible gun laws). While it might sound great to Luxon, to kiwi ears, its pure dismissal, a "fuck you, I don't care" (and with weirdo religious overtones to boot). And in the context of a disaster, where the building didn't have sprinklers, where there are already calls for improvements in building regulations to ensure that it doesn't happen again, Luxon sounds just like one of those American politicians. If he actually does care, he's made a terrible job of showing it.