The Power of Words

Well here we are, dear little New Zealand with a new government. Except it is the same one we had before, but bigger and with some new people.

As some of you know, I am a political animal and I’ve worked hard over the last few weeks to help my local MP, Louise Upston, get re-elected. I’ve delivered fliers and organised other people to deliver them, I’ve manned stalls at two Trash and Treasure markets, led a (car) cavalcade, been a human hoarding and written weekly email updates to send out to party faithful in the electorate, recruited scrutineers and trained them for their work on election day.

Last Friday we had a huge day in the electorate. It started with breakfast in Taupo with the Prime Minister, and then he came to Cambridge around lunch time and then, in the evening, Louise and I went through to Rotorua to do the scrutineering for all the advanced votes. I had several opportunities to speak to John Key, the PM, that day. I gave him a signed copy of The Keeper of Secrets and we had a chat about how it came about. I introduced some of my friends, who were also working for the National Party, to him. He is a consummate communicator and a very cool guy. I have a signed pic on my mantle of the two of us and I am very proud of it.

The next day was Election Day and it was long and stressful and full on, making sure my scrutineers were all okay and doing their job. Then it was result night and lots of cheering and a final outcome beyond our wildest predictions. My party can govern on their own in an MMP environment, unprecedented. But they won’t, they will work with the same partners they had before and it will be progress as usual.

My last comment on this election is that it was a victory against HATE. New Zealanders don’t like to be told who they should believe by outsiders and they hate personal abuse in politics. Our Prime Minister had an awful lot of abuse hurled at him this campaign and he rose above it. Words are powerful tools and they should be used with caution.

So since the election I have been doing housework, two loads of washing, an impressive lot of dishes, tidying away spare fliers and blue ribbons and folders etc. for next time, reclaiming my furniture from under a sea of ‘blue’ stuff.

I went to church yesterday and did my duty as a sidesperson. I experienced another example of the power of words. Someone told me that she would prefer me to wear high cut tops because my scar distressed her and she didn’t think I should show it. I was shocked and I cried. My vicar was very quick to tell me it was nonsense and there was nothing wrong with my scar and I should be proud of it. I AM proud of it, it is my badge of courage. It is also inextricably linked to my Mum and the things she used to tell me to say about my ‘zip’ when I was a child. If she was here I dread to think what she would have said, or done, in defence of her baby. One of my UK friends told me this morning he will store it away and be furious with her when he has the opportunity. But I know that the appropriate response, as a Christian, is to forgive and forget. And I am, I shall, it is a work in progress. If I look in the mirror I don’t even see it, but now, unfortunately, I shall never look again without seeing it, and knowing that it distressed someone.

So, remember the power of words and before you speak ask yourself, “Is it the right thing to say?”

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