April 01, 2008

[Time Wasting] Flags and Masts

I can not think of a better way to waste time and public funds than spending question period arguing over whether or not the Canadian flag above the Peace Tower should be lowered to half-mast on one day of the year only - Remembrance Day - or on any day of the year that a Canadian soldier dies.

Yet this is what our uninspiring, idiotic political representatives have been talking about ad nosium today. Read the CBC story here. Honestly, is there nothing better to talk about in our national parliament? Is there not a problem of growing inequality to address? Is there no concern over the loss of sovereignty from the SPP deal our government is signing behind closed doors? Shouldn't there be a debate about how the government of Canada is going to reach its international commitments to climate change?

Apparently, the Liberals put forward this motion (and they are supported by the other opposition parties) to honour the fallen soldiers in Afghanistan - on each day that they die. But the Conservatives (supported by the Canadian Legion and the National Veterans Association) say that doing this dishonors all of the previous Canadian soldiers who died that only received one day of flag honoring - Remembrance Day. They say the flag should only be lowered on the one official day of soldier honoring of the year.

I can not believe the state of political degeneration that we are witnessing. Is it just me or would it perhaps be more helpful to have a political debate over whether Canada should continue its illegal military incursion in Afghanistan? Ironically, therein lies the simplest solution to this moronic debate: Bring our fucking troops home! Then we would only have to lower the flag ONCE any way - during Remembrance Day, because our soldiers wouldn't be getting blown to pieces by roadside bombs at an average rate of once a month (72 Canadian soldiers died in Afghanistan between beginning of 2002 and end of 2007 = 72 months = 1 per month)!

Indeed, that might be the most logical solution... but I prefer this one in addition*: We should put up THREE flags on top of the peace tower to appease both nationalist factions above and anti-nationalists like me. The first would remain at full mast every day of the year except Remembrance Day, when it would be lowered to honor the soldiers who died previously. The second flag would be lowered to half mast every time a Canadian died while trying to ensure Canada's "freedom and economic prosperity" - this would include workers who die on the job. The third flag pole would be without a flag - a disintegrating rag of discolored red and white cloth which will one day tear itself from the remaining vestige of fabric, only to flutter downward like a Sea King helicopter, spiraling downward and downward, into the eternal flame. This flag would honor all of the people who have died as a result of the actions by the Canadian government, that we never hear about. It would represent the thousands of Afghan civilians that have died thanks to our mission there (oh and by the way, there is no official count of the dead Afghan civilians - NOBODY HAS BOTHERED TO COUNT - I challenge you to find a single organization that has kept track of the death count and prove me wrong). This missing flag would also represent the deaths of homeless and poverty-stricken Canadians - who die from hunger and cold in a world of plenty. It would represent the deaths of all the disappeared women across the country who we have not heard about because they were the kind of women who we don't want to hear about, and it would represent the genocide of an entire continent full of First Nations peoples - the genocide that this country is founded upon. Maybe that way we'd be able to get past silly debates about when to bring a flag to half mast, and we'd be reminded to start worrying about more important affairs.

* I know this might offend some... but honestly, what the fuck am I supposed to think when I read that such ridiculous bantering is passing for democracy - all the while an illegal war continues to get renewed - a war based on false pretenses and lies. What are the Afghans getting out of this (besides dead family members, continuing poverty, the Taliban resurgence and increasing danger from the burgeoning opium trade) - new bridges in Kabul? Give me a fucking break.


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