Let’s hope the Lorax speaks for the children too.

Here I go boots and all on the public frenzy that has been Bradford’s Bill.

To keep things simple at the moment, I will cc the email I felt compelled to send to MP’s this morning.

Please keep the comments civil (or big brother will wade in).

Hon. Ministers and Members of Parliament.

First (and I hate to start any email with negative comments), may I state how ashamed I am of the attitudes, comments and behavior of members of the house of this legislation. You are the supposed leaders of this country – your actions are those of minnows not giants.

Let me state from the outset I personally feel that this Bill introduced by Ms Bradford is possibly the most noble and distinguished legislation to come before this house. I was reduced to tears when I heard that the Maori Party had endorsed this legislation and drawn a line in the sand over what is acceptable behavior in this country. What a brave move for a party so disproportionately represented in poor socio-economic indicators.

The media has been in a frenzy over this bill fueled by opposition politicians whom seem hell bent on forgetting the plight of the children in this country for what ever reason they deem is more important than the protection of children.

I agree, this Bill will not stop all child abuse (when was the 100km speed limit observed 100%?, don’t we have murder laws?). But this Bill needs to be THE line drawn in the sand, as we have with discrimination against the homosexual community and any number of other pieces of ‘social’ legislation.

I agree this Bill might make criminals out of some parents. However I would go further and set up stocks in every main street and square the length and breadth of the county, placing those people in them and allowing all manner of rotten and disgusting objects to be flung at them; public humiliation would be a cruel and degrading enough trade off for the violence against children.

I have heard all manner of erroneous arguments, about nanny state and invasion of privacy through to children can not be reasoned with etc. These are all poor arguments put forward by the weak of will and bereft of intelligence. Children are the single most precious resource this country processes and any legislation that endeavors to protect them at cost of the arrogant and pig headed is a worthy and nobel bill.

Let me dispel some myths:

Firstly one argument is that children cannot be reasoned with and if a child is running towards an open fire or road then a smack on the bum is ‘loving correcting’ their behavior. I am a father of 2 boys under the age of 4 and both have done these acts, and not once did I feel compelled to inflict ‘loving violence’ on them. I reasoned/spoke and reinforced to them over and over ad nauseam that what they were doing is dangerous. And not just at that instance – every single time we are by a road or the fire is on (it’s not easy but it is more gratifying than hitting my child). My parents were fans of smacking (in fact the jug cord was a favorite of my mothers). Recently visiting my parents they were amazed that a simple “No” worked on our 16 month old child whenever it wanted to touch something of grannies. We have worked dam hard at enforcing rules, but parenting is not meant to be easy, nor should it be. To revert to hitting our child when words can do the same job is lazy poor parenting.

But if we are to take this argument to it’s logical conclusion, surely we must hit the intellectually handicapped, because they can’t be reasoned with can they? And if a ‘loving correctional’ hit is what children need because the violent physical stimuli enforces/establishes reasonable behavior on those whom can not be reasoned with, then we must hit the intellectually handicapped. Who will do this, how will it be administered, how often, any suggestions please Mr Burrows? Or are we to allow hitting someone in the workplace and pubs because we can’t reason with them, where is the line drawn?

Secondly, unfortunately the Prime Minister was incorrect when she stated it is Human Nature to hit a child. I have friends from around the globe who think this bill is ridiculous as they don’t hit their children in their cultures, they would never consider it for one minute. To hit a child for ‘loving correctional’ purposes is repugnantly shameful cultural practice born out of poor cultural norms. Other cultures prove that it is NOT human nature to hit children, it is a cultural weakness that must be eliminated from the psyche of Kiwis. Suspect cultural learnings can be changed, if not people like Dr King and Nelson Mandella would have given up any hope of change. I place this Bill alongside their achievements (to paraphrase the Lorax – I will speak for the children).

Also, the scaremongers (of whom National members should hang their heads in shame) claim that this law will make ordinary Kiwis criminals. So be it. If you hit a child (no matter how “lovingly” on the continuum of violence) you are a weak parent (not good) deserved of public humiliation and ridicule. If one has reservations of the nanny state invading the homes of good kiwis, may I ask what are the laws of this country doing? I can not drive any faster than 100mk/hr. I can not smoke a joint in the privacy of my own home. I can not watch kiddie porn (not that I would wish to), nor can I abuse my partner, yet for some reason those opposed to this bill wish to perpetuate the myth of the ‘good kiwi battler’ in endorsing acts of violence against children. The mentioned laws are not 100% observed, but they are lines in the sand stating that these are the standards expected by members of this society. If you (as I expect) are just politically opposed to the nanny state in the home, then you are possibly the most contemptible of all politicians for allowing your pig-headedness and ego to prevail over the rights of children not to be smacked. Get over yourself, and for the sake of the children of this country for once in your very privileged careers (as I believe it is a privilege to server your country in your role) suck in your pride and support this bill, or at least shut up as you are endorsing hitting children to bad parents.

My god listen to the alternative. If defeated or attacked, messages are going out to people that to HIT a child is acceptable cultural practice and endorsed at the highest level. We look back in wonder now that we could ever have had laws to perpetuate – indeed institutionalized discrimination against homosexual people. My kids are going to look back and ask “dad did your parliament really have to pass a law stopping kids from being smacked? Nobody gets smacked – did you generation hit kids?”. I will have to reply with great shame that yes many parents in this country thought that smacking a child was a given right.

If you oppose this bill (for what ever pig-headed reason), you have lost any respect from me as a serving member of this parliament. Sometimes it is the responsibility of either society or parliament to be brave and make a stand to shift the attitudes of the other. This is one time, despite the polls, that the govt must pass a bill that at the very least draws a line in the sand stating that no longer will we accept hitting a child as part of ‘good parenting’.

No child deserves to be hit, ever! Speak to your children, sure it’s 10x harder but it is 100x more rewarding. How could anyone live with the thought that they hit their children? How could anyone live with the knowledge that they openly and willingly endorsed others hitting their children? We encourage others not to drink and drive, we dob in people who hit their animals, yet we have hard working seemingly intelligent members of this parliament that are willing to endorse the hitting of children – shameful and below contempt.

A personal message to Ms Bradford. May I say that as a father of 2 boys, I think this is possibly the most admirable and selfless (death threats?) act a politician has bought to this parliament in a very long time. You are my hero and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I hope you have taken the time (in your very busy schedule) to consider this email, rather than allow some staff member to file it away, as we can not for one minute longer endorse hitting children in any way shape or form.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Yours

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