It's been interesting watching the debate since the Flag Consideration project revealed their four alternatives.
Personally I was pretty disinterested in the initial process, because it appeared, to me at least, to be a simple vanity project, run by a Prime Minister, who didn't like having to sit under an Australian flag at various international gatherings.
As a political process, it seemed merely a rebranding one.
The numbers that turned up to the public meetings reflected that perception I think. Guy Williams made an appearance at one and the resulting piece from the Jono and Ben Show, really captures the strange Kiwi-ness of the whole thing.
The point I was trying to make in a tweet, which was oddly picked up by Business Insider, was that if we're so worried about the confusion between the NZ and Australian flag, why not just educate people about how they're different. Because they are.
But we didn't do that, we set out to find an alternative. The response to the final four alternatives has been overwhelmingly 'Meh' - from social media and the local mainstream media; whilst overseas reporting on this grand project has reflected that.
The 4 flag options teach us 3 things: process is important, people anchor to the past, & committees make 'average' decisions #letsflagit
— Bradley Simpson (@bradleysimpson) September 1, 2015
And in that truly Kiwi way, a number have come out and snarked at those on social media who are calling for a rethink. Because heaven forbid, people using online tools and mediums have opinions and share them. Odd that those snarking are snarking with the same tools they decry.
I wonder at that, because I've appreciated the debate that's occurred since the reveal of the final four flag options. It's been generally well mannered, it's been passionate, and it shows that people in this country do care about the way we're represented. It's been far more enjoyable and interesting than any that was taking place before the reveal of the final four.
Why shouldn't vigorous ongoing debate be considered as part of the process, by which we consider and challenge nationhood, and sovereignty, and vision and representation.
This sums up the attitude of those who know best it seems.
— John Pagani (@johnpagani) September 5, 2015
Here's the thing.
I don't care about what Pagani thinks.
I don't care for any of the four alternative flags.
I know this little country and it's conservatism enough to bet good money that we'll keep the existing flag in March of next year (regardless of how the All Blacks do in the Rugby World Cup).
And that will be OK, we'll keep on going as a country.
But then there's this...
My niece appears in this video, performing with her suburban school's performing arts group in Christchurch. It was great to see her, but as I watched this I realised something else.
This is inclusion. This is celebration. This is possibility.
This is what it means to be multi-cultural in this place. To belong.
These faces, they are the future of Aotearoa.
Their future isn’t what our past or present looks like. It will be something else.
The processes by which we consider that future for them, should reflect that inclusion, that celebration, those possibilities.
A flag is just one part of that process.
Some may feel we don't owe them those processes, but they deserve them nonetheless.
Image credit: http://aotearoaflag.tumblr.com/post/126811492172