A civil democratic society is a fragile flower which relies on people exercising the virtues of self-discipline and self-restraint.
Virtues which were disappointingly absent in the considerations of those organising the recent copy-cat black lives matter street marches.
For the record, surely no-one thinks that black lives do not matter.
The recent narcissistic, self-indulgent, virtue signalling, self-righteous black lives matter protests are to be condemned given the current pandemic we face.
In a democracy, we celebrate the freedom of people with all manner of views having the right to show their support or opposition for a particular issue, subject to consideration for their fellow citizens.
At a time when we deny the bereaved from gathering to farewell a loved one, the faithful from attending worship services and people from attending Anzac Day marches (when we commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we still have the freedom to demonstrate) it was as disappointing as it was predictable to witness the Left so defiantly virtue signal at the expense of others.
The Chief Medical Officer urged people not to attend gatherings "of any kind, including protests".
The advice could not have been clearer or more urgent unlike the purpose or need for the protest.
Ostensibly people marched for black lives while knowing full well their actions could prejudice black lives the most and set back our economic recovery.
They put virtue signalling before responsibility or reason.
The left-wing who once agreed that a lockdown (is) 'the right move to minimise loss of life' and also agreed that the 'risk lingers of an even deadlier second wave' cynically turned around stating that the 'protests must be managed with pragmatism and a sense of history.'.
If the Left didn't have double standards they'd have no standards at all.
The vast bulk of Australians are justifiably dismayed at the authorities who justified fining an old lady sitting on a park bench by herself wearing a mask as an egregious threat to public health but approved gatherings of thousands where social distancing was defiantly ignored.
Whatever the motivation - be it weakness or wokeness - it definitely was not wisdom.
Consistency, let alone equality before the law are concepts that seemingly are no longer in vogue with some authorities.
The message seems clear.
If you want to gather, simply tell the authorities it's a 'protest.'
So 'protest' your religious fervour by gathering in your church or chapel, 'protest' your loved ones passing at a funeral, 'protest' your commitment to citizenry at your service club's next meeting or 'protest' your solidarity with our veterans with an Anzac Day march- after all, they ironically protected those protestors' freedoms to march!
Have our authorities really descended to this?
History will rightly judge the protesters and the weak leadership that enabled the marchers as exposing everything which is wrong with woke identity politics.
As to the issue of the protest.
The rate of black deaths in custody in Australia is no greater than those of different colour. Yes, their incarceration rate is greater.
Is this because of racial bias or because they've been convicted of crimes often perpetrated against their own?
A similar argument could be offered for white males who are clearly over-represented in gaols in comparison to their female counterparts.
Is this indicative of the systemic oppression of white males?
Of course not. But I would like to see the Left argue that one.
Setting up unsustainable arguments does not assist the cause.
Failure to take responsibility for one's actions doesn't assist the cause. Rallying when everyone else is sacrificing by abiding by social distancing requirements to protect the vulnerable including our indigenous brothers and sisters does not assist the cause.
Racism in all its forms needs to be unequivocally condemned, as does the selfish virtue signalling of the demonstrators.
Originally published in The Examiner