The ABC’s Q&A was dedicated to mental health this week.
Apparently, we have made such rapid progress in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health that politicians can now make a medical assessment on an individual and broadcast it to the nation.
At least, that’s exactly what happened last night about an hour into the show.
The supposedly honourable Bob Katter MP, in a statement directly referring to me, announced to the world that I have very serious personal problems. I think what Katter meant by that is that I had the courage to publicly defend the family unit from homosexual attacks. And that he chose to abandon his principles in order to appease the media.
So thanks for the diagnosis Bob. If you’re right, I think that the disease I suffer from should be named Bobkatteritus, in honour of the man who caused it and duly discovered it.
It’s a particularly apt name as it’s only found in individuals who are cast aside after defending the philosophical principles outlined in the constitution of Katter’s Australian Party.
Of course, it only breaks out after one is hit with an unsubstantiated personal attack. Against their character. Delivered to an Australia-wide television audience. And it’s customary that the individual suffering from Bobkatteritus is to endure stigma and shame and to be afforded no opportunity of defending himself in front of a similarly large audience. That’s just how it goes.
But Bob, I don’t think you are in any position to go about making such statements regarding my mental fitness while talking about the issue generally on a nationally televised program. I’m not aware that you have ever qualified as a mental health practitioner. And I’m fairly sure that even if you have, your actions have violated all ethical standards regarding the public disclosure of medical assessments. So it’s clear that a doctor you are not.
And if that’s the case Bob, you might want to consider retracting your statement and issuing a public apology instead.
We know that Bob Katter has not taken the Hippocratic Oath, but he has engaged in blatant hypocrisy. And that is no surprise. It’s the calling card of the career politician.
Let me point out exactly what I mean.
When the issue of homosexuality was inevitably raised last night, this is what the Federal Member for Kennedy had to say.
“In the last seven years…I defy you to find a single statement that I have made in that period of time on this issue.”
Well, let’s defy this politician and google statements made by Katter on the issue of homosexuality.
Oh look. A statement. Made by Bob Katter. On 16 August, 2011. That’s just over three years ago.
And it’s in an article that carries the headline, ‘Gay marriage ‘a joke’: Katter’. And this is exactly what it says:
Bob Katter of Katter’s Australian Party said the very idea of gay marriage was a joke.
“This proposition deserves to be laughed at,” he said.
Now I happen to support that particular statement. I agree with it today. And I agreed with it three years ago. In fact, it was on the very basis of statements like this and others that I agreed to join Katter’s Australian Party in the first place. And I was not alone.
But how the tables have turned. Bob no longer thinks that the idea of homosexual marriage is ridiculous. Instead, he thinks it is a vote winner. Except the electoral results of Katter’s Australian Party show that this conclusion is a delusion. It is the political version of mental illness.
And Bob’s shifting position is shown clearly in another article about Katter and homosexuality. It carries the headline, ‘Katter spares pro-gay candidate’. And this is what it says:
“Bob Katter has seemingly come to the rescue of a pro-gay-marriage candidate who was asked to resign from the party…because of his views on same-sex marriage.”
And here’s another one. It comes from an article about the lead Senate candidate that Bob Katter chose to fly the flag for his party in the state of Queensland, James Blundell. And it was written after Blundell jumped out of the closet to announce that he would vote for homosexual marriage:
“Blundell flabbergasted the socially conservative party faithful by saying he would vote in favour of gay marriage.”
Following this line are numerous statements from Katter’s Australian Party members who lined up to resign after Bob’s supposed moral courage was shown to be nothing more than a mirage. And they didn’t leave quietly. They were all prepared to put their unhappiness on the public record.
While Bob was prepared to laugh at the idea of homosexual marriage in 2011, he’s not smiling now. Instead, he’s squirming. And caught in the headlights like a frightened deer. Truth be told, if you ever want to see homophobia personified, just watch Bob Katter’s performance on Q&A last night.
Bob Katter was so scared of the openly gay comedian, Josh Thomas, that he capitulated entirely. It was pathetic. And the end result was that Josh Thomas creamed Katter. He made hay with the most-courageous-politician-in-Australia’s cowardly refusal to stand his ground. And then Josh Thomas demanded that Bob do the following:
“All you need to do, all you need to do… you say, “You know what, I’ve said some stuff in the past, it was a mistake, I understand now, it’s hurting people’s mental health. It’s part of the problem, it’s not part of the solution. I’m sorry, hooray for gay people, here’s some glitter.”
So Bob duly piped up like a puppet on a string with the following words:
“I agree with what your last statement is, and that’s where it’s staying.”
Except that it was written as clear as day on Bob’s face that he did not agree with the statement. He knew it. Josh Thomas knew it. The audience knew it. And they all knew that Bob Katter said it because he had no courage or intestinal fortitude to outline what he really believes.
So, in a word, Bob Katter was made to look like a pathetic fool by Josh Thomas because Bob Katter acted like a pathetic fool in front of him on national television.
Three years ago, when the words Katter and homosexuality were put together, he was making jokes about gay marriage. When those words are put together now, it’s clear that the joke is not just on Bob, but is Bob.
And it’s always bound to result in derisive laughter. Last night was no exception.
It is unfortunate. Because the end result was that there was no actual debate at all about the issues of homosexuality and mental illness. And this is an important issue. Homosexuality and mental health problems are linked. That point is universally accepted by researchers who are both pro-homosexual and opposed to homosexual behaviour.
However, the conclusions on how to best address this issue are contested. There are those who believe that this suffering is caused by external pressures: an unaccepting society. It’s rather like arguing that smoking does not cause lung-cancer, but that it is caused by the negative views of it held by the majority today.
Of course, studies have shown that societal attitudes make no difference to the rates of mental illness within the LGBT community. And if that’s the case then maybe, just maybe, higher rates of mental disorders suffered by homosexual men have nothing to do with the views of people like me and everything to do with the fact that this lifestyle is physically, emotionally and psychologically sickening.
And if that’s the case, then the best way to deal with mental illness within the homosexual community is not to promote homosexuality, but to help men struggling with its effects to escape from it altogether.