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LETTER: Lest We Forget?

Another Remembrance Day is upon us (Veterans Day & Armistice Day in other countries) and all across our nation Canadians will gather around community monuments and cenotaphs to pay honour to our veterans who fought during the various conflicts that Canadian soldiers were involved in. Not to minimize the heroic effort of any soldier who saw action, the veterans of WWII are the ones who I personally identify more closely with. There are two reasons for this: First, members of my family fought in that war as did many of the people I came to know. Secondly, though it can be generally said that war is hell, this particular conflict in my opinion epitomized the struggle between Good and Evil on our planet. The atrocities committed are unparalleled in human history and for the most part unspeakable; mankind had reached a new low in their efforts to debase one another on a scale never before imagined.

Most people, it seems, understand what it was that these veterans fought for. In a word: FREEDOM. Today, because of their sacrifices, we enjoy a multitude of freedoms; freedom of speech and the freedom to pursue various religious and political ideologies to name a couple. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But freedom of speech has its limitations; one cannot use it to marginalize others or to incite people to riot, cause conflict or war without paying the consequences. That said, it would also appear that many people do not seem to understand fully what these same veterans fought against. In a word: FASCISM.

It is readily apparent that the sitting president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, not only subscribes to a fascist ideology, but has demonstrated a flair for promoting anarchy and war both at home and abroad. The sudden surge of activities in right wing extremists and neo – Nazi groups in the U.S. (and Canada) and their comfortability in promoting a hate laced agenda can be directly attributed to Trump’s own stance on how he envisions dealing with individuals and whole nations alike. His carefully crafted avoidance of denouncing such groups is in effect a condoning of them. His seemingly indifference to the growing split within the U.S. itself and the possibility of a civil war rearing its head suggests that this may perhaps be what he wants. Lastly, his easy use and reference of language regarding a nuclear response against North Korea, a baiting game toward an unpredictable regime, implies his desire to do so; all this while the paint is still wet on the walls of the oval office.

Make no mistake, Donald Trump is a fascist. Anyone who truly and genuinely supports trump is supporting a fascist ideology whether they realize it or not. In other words, they are a fascist. It is quite that simple. And that is their choice. The right and freedom to do so have been bestowed upon them by the veterans of that terrible war.

But here’s the rub.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t simultaneously subscribe to a fascist world view and then show up at a cenotaph in some mock display of honouring the courageous veterans who gave their all fighting against it; to do so would make you the consummate hypocrite; an apostasy. Show the courage of your own convictions. Recognize that you are on hallowed ground, and either stand with them fully or remove yourself.

Very little time has elapsed since three words of wisdom were etched in stone as a witness to all. Is the memory of the meaning behind these words beginning to fade, even though the words themselves remain crisp and clear: LEST WE FORGET. Has the time arrived when a new inscription is warranted to stand alongside….HOW SOON THEY FORGOT.

 

Patrick Druhan

New Ross, formerly from Trenton

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