A Brief Message from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large
Posted on Canada Day, July 1st, 2022
Suffice to say, there is a good deal of ugly out there these days.
Whether we want to blame it on how easy social media sites make to trash people, on a growing crisis of confidence in government and our public institutions, on the pandemic, on a Trump cauldron of anger and hate metastasizing through not only bodies of Americans, but the bodies of at least some on our side of the border too, or on a combination of all these and more, it is hard to deny that we are in a darker place than we were even a decade or so ago.
In Niagara alone, there have been attacks of vandalism on the properties of some of our elected representatives, nasty encounters with our front-line health care workers, the repeated acts of damage and defacement done to statues and busts of civil rights heroine Harriet Tubman, including the spray painting of a swastika on a sidewalk outside of a school bearing her name, and recent assaults on the property of people expressing support the people of Ukraine by displaying a Ukrainian flag.
Then there are these so-called “Freedom Riders” who, in their anger and hatred for whatever they think they don’t like about what is going on in the country, have tried to hijack the Canadian Flag and drag it down to the same level as a Confederate flag held up by white supremacists across the border or a Nazi flag or those Fxxk Trudeau flags we see flying above the windshields of monster pick-up trucks driven mostly by angry young muscle men.
When I see the contorted looks of anger on the faces of some of these people I can’t help but wonder what their real problem is and I find myself feeling sorry for any dog they make kick when they get home.
Just down the street from where I live in Niagara, one of these big pickups sits in a driveway a hundred meters or so away from an elementary school, with Canadian flags and Fxxk Trudeau flags flying prominently from its roof.
When I was the age of some of those kids in that elementary school, I remember one day in February of 1965 when we stood in front of the school I went to at the time for a ceremonial rising of our new Canadian flag for the first time. And I remember of pride we all felt that our country finally had our own flag.
But that was then and here we are now
On a phone-in program CBC Radio hosted earlier this week on the topic of these Freedom River nuts co-opting the Canadian flag and flying it alongside those Fxck Trudeau flags, one caller said that perhaps these same people should go to Moscow and fly an Fxxk Putin flag and see how long it takes before they are locked in a Russian gulag.
Let me stress that I have been a life-long supporter of peaceful protests in a democracy and let me also say that I also have my issues with our current prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
But what we are witnessing here is ugly, hateful and dangerous., and it has little or nothing to do with anything approaching a civil discussion or debate in a free and open democratic society.
So I end here with a message that we can’t let that kind of rage win.
We have to stand up – all of us as a people – and take our flag back and be respectful of one another.
On this Canada, let’s give our fellow Canadians the peace sign and wish each other well.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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