A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted this Remembrance Day – this Friday, November 11th – on Niagara At Large
The Environment Canada weather reports for this Remembrance Day call for a bit of rain so it may be a good idea for those wishing to visit a Cenotaph at the 11th hour of the 11th day of this November to bring along an umbrella.
This Remembrance Day – as corny or as melodramatic as it might sound – I cannot help but think that some of the raindrops that may fall will be tears from all of those young Canadians who fought and, in too many cases, died in past wars.
There may be tears enough over the carnage of war but there may also be tears for how little that far too many of us are now doing to honour their sacrifice for democracy by doing our part to actively participate in the democratic process.
It is beginning to look like the majority of us could care less whether we live in a democracy or not. How could we care when less than half of the eligible voters across Ontario would even take a few minutes out of their lives this past spring to vote in the provincial election.
Participation in this October’s municipal elections was even more appalling with – depending on the municipality – a roughly 25 to 30 per cent turnout across Niagara and the rest of the province.
This is how some experts with a historical perspective on democracy vs. autocracy say democracies die – not with bang, as in an armed coup or revolution in the streets, but with a whimper.
So this Remembrance Day I think of all those great Second World War veterans I met over the years – all of them up there in the heavens now – and I can’t help but think of them with tears falling from their eyes.
On this Remembrance Day, all of us, including our political leaders, should be making a public pledge to become more actively engaged in democracy before we lose it to forces that would rather we live in a totalitarian state.
Wearing a Poppy is not enough.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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