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Sometimes War is not a Metaphor

November 4, 2010

Public discourse these days can sometimes get pretty raw. Opposing sides accuse each other of being monsters, of wanting to destroy society, of declaring “war” on the poor, on hard-working Canadians, on the environment, on taxpayers, on bicycle riders … on polar bears.  Meanwhile everyone is “fighting” for something; for democracy, for equal rights, for lower taxes, for more jobs or for a just society.

These are all difficult struggles that require real effort.  But may I suggest we take a step back for a moment and recall that not so long ago there was real war, war that engulfed the world. Recall that in those times, people came forward to fight not with words, but to sacrifice their very lives to defend Canada, it’s allies and the freedom and dignity of individual people.  And they still do so today. Whether you agree with each particular war or mission does not matter.  If you have a quarrel it is with the politician, not with the soldier.  For until human beings really learn to solve all their problems without violence there will be a need for people to stand on guard to defend us and what our country stands for.

We should humbly honour everyone who dons that uniform, the soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces, for offering to perform the ultimate public service.

This November 11th is Remembrance Day.  Show your support for Canadian soldiers past and present:

  • by wearing a poppy on your coat
  • by wearing a poppy on your twitter icon with this twibbon
  • or by pasting this poppy symbol ✿ as text in all your tweets and facebook updates between now and November 11 (Imagine ✿ as a twitter trend in Canada next week?)
  • and by attending a Remembrance ceremony next Thursday and observing two minutes of silence next thursday at 11am

Lest We Forget

update: Darrell Bricker, from Ipsos Reid polling,  has made some comments along with their latest poll of support for the national political parties. As if to prove my point and just in time for Remembrance Day his metaphor is all about war.  But I think he takes it way too far, talking about ‘trench warfare’ and literally comparing the current political climate to the Battle of the Somme where 24,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives.  Really? Is that really a comparison you want to make?  This is exactly the kind of hyperbolic talk that escalates debate in the media to the point where nothing sensible can be said.  I think the Canadian Legion should ask him to apologize for that.

Politics isn’t War. War is.

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