Editorial: Politicization of Remembrance Day lies beyond the pale

Shutterstock

Despite the challenges for gatherings that have been set upon the Island due to the pandemic. It may have taken some doing, but to their lasting credit most Manitoulin Island communities still found a way to hold their annual Remembrance Day observances, even if truncated or somewhat unofficial in nature.

What no one would expect here on Manitoulin Island would be that a group might chose to desecrate this most hallowed of days by taking over the microphone to ply their own political agenda—but that is what actually happened to a small group of veterans and their supporters in British Columbia this past Remembrance Day. It was an incident that left veterans visibly shaken and many left the outdoor venue in tears.

There is but a word for such infamy—shame.

While any politician worth their salt ensures they are seen, front and centre, at their community’s observances, none would be so callous as to overtly seize the microphone to highlight their policies or opposition to act of government and make the claim that our nation’s fallen would applaud their actions.

The anti-vaccination crowd are passionate. We get that. Anyone who would voluntarily give up a (sometimes quite lucrative) career in order to avoid taking their medicine would have to be, but too often passion can cloud good judgement and that was most definitely the case in British Columbia. Passion and a strong belief that your views are right are not an excuse for such odious behaviour.

Our nation is a democracy, and the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country do so in the defence of democracy. Democracies place limits on individual freedoms in the name of the greater good and have always done so. Freedoms are not absolute, they come with responsibilities and obligations—to have it otherwise is not democracy, it is anarchy.

Now there are those who believe that anarchy is the preferred form of government. Some of those people, passionate in their beliefs and convinced of the rightness of their cause, have tossed bombs into crowds in hopes of drawing attention to what they view as the perfidy of the powers that be. These people are known as terrorists and are anathema to any true democracy. They espouse the tyranny of the few. The terrible 9/11 comes quickly to mind.

It is the tyranny of the few that encourages a handful of zealots to harass those who are following the will of the people in this democracy that has, as its founding principles, peace, order and good government.

Our veterans did not lay their lives on the line to support the tyranny of the few over the many, they laid their lives on the line for the safety and freedom of their friends and families from such tyranny. Attempting to frame the decisions of our freely elected leaders (backed by the overwhelming support unveiled in any legitimate poll one might care to consult) as a tyranny is an insult to those whose blood has soaked deep into the soils of foreign lands.

Those who have chosen to harass health care workers seeking to inoculate our citizens against the most perfidious challenge faced by the last two generations in this nation are not fighting tyranny, they are making themselves agents of tyranny and exposing the lie of their arguments against being forced to endure vaccination in order to work with the public or enjoy non-essential entertainments and other pursuits.

Lest we forget.