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Politics in the eyes of a theatre major

IT'S been a rough week in New Zealand post General Election.

Tempers are high, insults are being thrown about and I might have unfriended a bunch of people on Facebook. Politics are no joke, especially when our country has been put in the position it has been.

That is why I wanted to talk about this little thing that seems to be invading our society. It’s been growing ever since the US election last year, because a bunch of people that we consider celebrities have stuck their heads out and started talking about change.

Some people (not naming names) believe that people within certain professions, in this case arts, theatrical or sport-based fields, should not be allowed to talk about politics because they are not ‘qualified’ enough.

I think that is a load of rubbish. If a right-wing blogger is allowed to say that God created earthquakes because we allowed same-sex marriage, I should be allowed to express my opinion on political issues that affect me.

I am not at all saying my opinion is as nuanced as it could be but at least I am not spouting absolute untruths. We are all members of a politicised society and regardless of our profession or position in life, we should be permitted to talk about political issues that affect us and others around us.

I do agree that there should be at least a bare minimum you should know before making a political opinion - the ability to back it up with evidence is a good start - but we should be allowed to talk about these things. If our society is truly free, should we not be allowed to discuss the things that help make it so?

Look at America. This week NFL players have kneeled during the national anthem. Some sections of society have been saying that these players should not be allowed to kneel, that they are paid ‘entertainers’ means that they are not allowed to express political thought.

Come on. These players are members of the same human society as you or me, their opinion matters as much as any of ours do.

I have been interested in politics for at least half my life. I work in a creative profession and hope to continue doing so. As an active member of this society it is important to discuss political things and not just during the lead-up to elections, but all the time.

We can only make change in this society with discussion. Barring people from this discussion because they are ‘under-qualified’ or think differently from you - excluding thoughts that will cause direct harm to people, of course - is unhelpful.

We need to make change in this world and informed discussion with everyone, regardless of profession or official qualification, is a way to do that.