In New Zealand the word respect is not used often enough. We pay lip service to the word and teach it at schools. You will find that the word respect is used liberally when teaching children. Yet when I think of the New Zealand culture and respect as a value. We come up short.
The type of words to describe our national team are strong , winners and skilled. Respectful is not a word we use often in our sporting language. Instead of showing respect and honouring our worthy opponents, our strategy has been to discredit or undermine them.
Compare this to a Japanese tradition of showing respect. Because the Japanese culture is much older it has developed a more tolerant approach to many things.
In New Zealand we also show little respect for alcohol. We drink unsafely , drink excessive amounts, binge drink and injure ourselves and others. By contrast, in Japan, many centuries of drinking alcohol has seen a greater respect for the consumption of it and respectful treatment of each other. Drunks are not hooligans and do not drive.
We also need to show respect for each other. I know it is not our nature, as the competitive culture we are raised in tends to make winners and losers and not great shows of solidarity, but I think we need to learn to respect others more, than winning.
I also want to think about a more respectful way forward for the Cannabis Law Reform Movement.
In the past we have fought for law reform, perhaps now we need to change our approach and show some respect and demand it in return.
The cannabis law reform movt. is not about cannabis, or smoking it. It about people. The people who are now standing up for their rights and challenging the courts, deserve respect.
They deserve respect for coming out and standing up for their rights and the rights of others.
It is the Billy McKee's , the Peter Davy's, Neville Yates and the Ann Vernon's who are respectfully urging the public to consider why they should not be allowed to use this effective medicine.
Not only are they challenging the Government, for it's refusal to adopt any of the Law Commissions recommendations on Medical Marijuana.
They are challenging the COURT's as judges are not doctors.
I want to challenge you to respect a persons right to choose what they want to put into their body and wonder why cannabis users don't deserve the same respect as any other group in society.
Can you name one harm that an adult cannabis user may be doing to society?
Is it greater than the harm that is done to cannabis users and growers through our current court system and prisons?
I have the greatest respect for those that are trying to change the laws and not blowing smoke in people faces.