It’s history – leave it there

I have trouble with the rewriting of history.  On the TV3 news tonight it speaks of quashing the convictions of the past in regard to  being gay when it was illegal.  It focussed on the conviction of Frank Sargeson, one of NZ’s most famous authors and his shame at being outed and convicted.

Frank Sargeson was the first to write the way we Kiwis spoke & he was convicted of homosexuality – which still stands today.

I agree that now, in 2015 it is unconscionable, however it was illegal up till 1986 (NZ).  I do not think you should change the past.  To void the societal and legal conditions of that time.  The people that committed that atrociously wrong law chose to do so, in that time, knowing it broke the law.  It is unfair that they have to declare that conviction, in a time when it no longer exists.  But again in that time, they made their choice.  It is like if I choose to download movies illegally, that might change in 5 years to be legal but in this moment I am choosing to break the law (I know that is a light example compared to gay rights but I hope it illustrates my point).
The news discussion between Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-Allan ended with questioning what Frank would have thought if he had lived to see the changes for gay rights.  The man was ashamed of what happened to him, he changed his name and tried to reclaim anonymity, would he really want it bought back into prominence, with him becoming a poster child for further reform.  It was a life choice, illegal at that time, that now can be turned into a media or gay rights cause exclamation mark.
My thinking on this is not to offend. let me be clear, I detest that law and what we have done to people because they loved who they loved.  But  I also respect that in that time that is what people thought.  In may ways it ties into my anger at the proposed flag change, as if a new flag can make all that history disappear, all fresh with the hoisting of a new flag.  It won’t and we can revile our history but we need to respect it to.  Back then, they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong – wonder what will be attached to that when what we are doing is reviewed in the future?

What do you think?

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