Monday, November 9, 2009

The Greatest Generation Should Be Pissed

I'm not one for militaristic, flag-waving, ooh-rah for the soldiers, jingoistic-cheerleading. I think war is conducted by the smallest of small minds who cannot work out global issues without resorting to blowing shit up.

As for the recent incursions into Afghanistan, Iraq and all the other post-9/11 bullshit war zones, I think we're still being lied to about why we have troops fighting and dying. The global war on terror as it's being sold to us is a lie. This isn't about keeping terrorists from our shores or protecting innocent civilians from the evils of the Taliban, al Queda and the rest of the terror alphabet. This is about money, trade routes, oil and strategic leverage in key parts of the world.

If it were anything different, you'd have US and NATO troops chasing terrorists across the Philippines or across Java. You'd have US, Canadian and EU soldiers in the Congo and Darfur. If this were truly about combating terror, the rich nations of the world would have troops in every, blistering, third-world jungle and desert where acts of terror are committed daily. Instead, your soldiers are being sent to take part in conflicts that were at best, orchestrated to protect international, corporate interests.

I think soldiers, on the other hand, ought to be commended for the job they do, when they do it well. They get sent to the places where you and I would never dream of treading, put their lives on the line, make the bad guys go away and try to protect the innocents around them.

Modern conflict and the World Wars/Korea are light years from each other. In those cases the threat to home was very real; especially in WW2. In global conflicts of days past, the men and women in uniform were joined in a very real way to the national populations at large. They were fighting for our freedom.

Now, maybe I was a tad fragile after watching Saving Private Ryan between 11:00 - 1:30am last night, but I was hovering around that place in my brain that is reserved for humility and thankfulness. Right around the end of the movie, when Ryan as an old man is standing in front of the grave of Tom Hanks character, and he's pleading with his wife "Tell me I've lived a good life. Tell me I'm a good man.", we cut to commercial. The commercial was for Macy's Veterans' Day Sale.

I got really angry. First, the timing was really not appropriate but more than that, Macy's chose to honour the war dead by giving you 15% off the price of an iPod??!! That's crass, folks.

What Macy's is essentially telling you is "Hey North America, on November 11, take one minute of silence to think about the people who fought and died for you. Then, spend the rest of the day buying crap in their honour."

If you do follow this plan, at least have the decency to show up to a Veteran's Day event or, here in Canada, a Remembrance Day event and tell a vet "Gee I'd love to stay and think about you and your friends and stuff, but I have to go to a sale and buy a big-screen tv."

Thank God I've not seen anything like the Macy's ad affiliated with Canadian business.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Screw Equality

I'm taking a break from school work to write this blog post. It's mostly directed at the citizens of Maine and California, but I suspect that it will be applicable to other states in the near future. As a polite, erudite, nice Canadian I feel obliged to say this to you.

"What is wrong with you, you backwards-thinking, ignorant, hate-filled idiots?!"

Right now at 10:17pm MST, the State of Maine has 52% of its population voting to repeal their same-sex marriage law. California repealed their gay marriage law earlier this year. This effectively says to the American, gay community that all the progress that has been made in the past 30 years has been wasted.

For the life of me, I do not understand why gay marriage so damn threatening to people. Pierre Trudeau very eloquently said "The government has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians." And yet time and again up here in the cold frozen North, our Federal gov't (at least the current flavour of it) wants to do away with gay marriage. Why?

Here's a fast set of questions for anybody who, inexplicably, gives a shit about what two people do behind their own doors.
  1. Do you believe that gay marriage makes your own marriage any less legal, sacred, important or valuable?
  2. If you answered yes, why is that the problem for a married gay couple and not for you? It would seem to me that if your marriage is so fragile that it can't stand up in the face of two men or two women getting hitched, then you and your partner should get some marriage counselling.

I would pay money to anybody who can make a coherent, logical, intelligent argument as to why gay marriage should be outlawed. There are some ground rules.
  1. You can't say "the bible says so". Most of you who feed this line don't live a literally biblical life. Picking and choosing what you like and don't like is the very definition of hypocrisy.
  2. I said intelligent. You can't use any of the proven-false statistics that claim children of gay marriage are more likely to commit suicide or fall into a life of crime or make less money or any of the rest of that garbage. All of those studies have been proven to be either a) statistically invalid or b) outright, make-believe.

I know I can rant until I'm blue in the face over this and it won't make a difference in Maine, California or here in red-neck Alberta. I would however leave all of those small-minded, bigots with this:
Look any gay person in the eye and tell them that they are less of a human than you are and that they should be willing to sacrifice their rights to protect your ideals. If you can do that, you're in some interesting company. That's exactly what Hitler did in Poland, what the KKK did in the South and what the Taliban do today in Afghanistan.

Welcome to the club.