Here is where many of my right wing friends are going to probably disagree with me. Even become downright angry. At the same time, I’m probably going to piss of some nimwits out in Nelson, BC as well. Being a libertarian, you just can’t win sometimes! But that’s ok. My thought paradigm is neither left nor right wing.
I was taking a look this evening at some of my favorite blogs. This evening, Kate of Small Dead Animals has a post about the plans for a monument in Nelson, BC, honouring the Viet Nam War draft dodgers.
Kate calls for a Photoshop contest – a satyrical opportunity to come up with suitable monuments, and then posts an image of a chicken running while looking backwards, and the inscription underneath, “Hell no!”
I don’t know if Kate created this graphic herself or if it was from somewhere else. Regardless, it’s a good bit of satyrical graphical creation. But it also disturbs me a bit. For a number of reasons.
When I was younger, and heard stories about IRA terrorism in my home country of Northern Ireland, I often thought about going back to my home country. I just couldn’t decide if I wanted to join the R.U.C., or perhaps a Protestant outlawed paramilitary unit that would take out revenge on those that had terrorized my family and acquaintances.
Don’t get me wrong – I had a very good upbringing in my life, but at the same time, youthful emotions and a youthful way of looking at the world made me seriously considering volunteering for the ultimate sacrifce.. as well as taking out my anger on those who would dare to kill and maim innocent people.
At the time, I had learned to love a system of beliefs. Yes, my father taught me how to think, and if he knew how I thought today, he might be rolling in his grave. On the other hand, he did make me think through things… and ultimately, that lead me to the beliefs I now have. Which have nothing to do with belief in systems or even patriotism.
At the same time, I can understand those who feel patriotic. I was there once myself.
Today, I have four sons. Sons I love dearly. And I’ve done what I can with those four boys to help them, as best I can, to understand personal responsibility, making their own decisions, understanding consequences of decisions, and not accepting the emotional appeal of what others might say.
I don’t know if I’ve done a good job or not. Time will tell.
On the famous September 11 day, I remember not knowing what was going on. I didn’t have all the details. All I heard were statements about “America Is Under Attack.” I didn’t know what that meant for several days later.
At the time, I kept thinking about sons. They live pretty close to the capital of Canada – Ottawa. If America could be “under attack,” would Canada be next? And if Canada was next, what would happen to my sons?
I seriously thought about Canada being at war. And my oldest son, 14 at the time. And if third world war had started, how long would it last? How long would it be before Canada introduced a draft?
And the thought sickened me. The thought my eldest son might be drafted to fight.. and in doing so, might end up dead. I couldn’t handle the thought. I was prepared to figure out a way to get my sons to safety. Safe away from drafts. Military service. Safe away from the possibility of death.
Thankfully, it never came to that. After some weeks, I relaxed a bit more.
And Damn It.. I respect those who have volunteered, for whatever their reasons are, to “serve.” But at the same time, I also respect those who for whatever their reasons are, don’t want to. I do not consider them “chickens.”
I think a memorial to draft dodgers is ludicrous. But to paint those draft dodgers as “chickens” is also very immature, silly, and ridiculous. Many who dodged the draft did so for their own concious reasons.. reasons that a Government would not allow them to have – a Government that did not recognize personal and individual liberty, concience, or value of their own lives.
Perhaps some tried to dodge the draft because they were scared. But dammit, sometimes I’m scared today. Would I give my life for my kids? You bet. Would I give my life for the values of Paul Martin, and what he wants? Forget it. I ain’t doing that. All I’ll give my life for is for that which I value.
And I guess that is one of the biggest differences between me and right wingers. I value personal responsibility and choice to a much higher degree. On the other hand, I also think it is stupid.. utterly ridiculous – to build some monument in Nelson, BC.
If you want to build a monument, build a monument to those who had the courage to be individuals. To those who felt so strongly about personal values and beliefs. Anything else is just dumb politics.
And to those right wingers that want to portray draft dodgers as chickens.. imagine you had children.. called up to a war you didn’t support, and were killed. Dead. You buried them.
I don’t support war. I support free trade, and the freedom of the individual to decide what is right or wrong for them.
That’s not to say I don’t admire war heroes, Those who have believed in a cause of freedom and liberty for all, and have laid down their lives for that. Yes, my Scottish ancestory makes me proud to think that all those Scottish volunteers that fought in World War I and World War II were called “Ladies From Hell” because of their courage, determination, and willingness to carry on, and take on the enemy.
But what was their enemy? Their enemy was tyranny. And they CHOSE to fight it.
To FORCE anyone to carry a gun, and kill other humans, is sick to me.
To build a monument to those who fled a particular war is also sick. It’s nothing but politics.
To build a memorial to those who would stand up against tyranny, whether it was North Viet Nam or American tyranny, and did what was necessary to stand for their beliefs, I can handle.
Such a memorial would require a recognition of the self. Self values. Concience. Regardless of whether your concience agrees with their concience.
Liberty for all. And ALL means ALL. You can’t have it both ways.