Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Do Bumper Stickers Reveal About Us? Part 2

I recently wrote a post entitled, What Do Bumper Stickers Reveal About Us? Part 1, in which I contemplated the implications of the one that reads: If You Don't Stand Behind Our Troops, Feel Free To Stand In Front of Them. I ended that post by offering the opinion that the second part of the slogan suggests that raising any kinds of questions about the military is tantamount to treason and therefore warrants execution. Now to the implications of that mentality.

Military policy is determined by government. Government decides whether to wage war, and with whom. Government determines whether or not military service is voluntary or mandatory. And it is government, unfortunately, that is frequently motivated by imperatives that are more political than they are noble in deciding to put our young soldiers into harm's way, paving the road to grievous injury, a lifetime of disability, and even death.

Take, for example, the war in Afghanistan. Even jingoists like Stephen Harper now recognize its futility, refusing to extend beyond 2014 any Canadian presence there. Unfortunately, however, with the loss of 158 lives, far too high a price has already been paid for a commitment originally made by the Liberal government under Chretien, and escalated under Paul Martin, for economic, rather than security reasons.

As observed by Thomas Walkom,

It was Chrétien’s successor, Paul Martin, who committed full battle troops, apparently under the impression that this would allow Canada to be viewed as a serious country by its allies.

More specifically, Ottawa hoped that its participation in the Afghan war would convince Washington to keep the U.S.-Canada border open to truck traffic.

So, to return to the frightening implications of the mentality being expressed in the bumper sticker, it seems to be advocating an unquestioning acceptance of authority, a naive trust in the purity of both governmental and military intentions, and a suspension of critical thinking on the part of the electorate.

Perhaps it is this philosophy that helped propel the Harper regime into majority government.

Perhaps it is this philosophy that has made it easier for Harper Inc. to lie both to Parliament and the people of Canada on so many occasions.

Perhaps it is this mentality that is helping to make it easier for the Prime Minister to reshape Canada through his massive and secretive omnibus bill, Bill C-38.

Indeed, I can't help but wonder how devotees of the bumper sticker If You Don't Stand Behind Our Troops, Feel Free To Stand In Front of Them define the democracy that they are so quick to say the troops are defending, while ours so precipitously and perilously declines.

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