Friday, September 22, 2006

Wear red -- support the Conservative Party of Canada.

Many years ago, I was reading the transcript of a debate between a biologist and a young-earth creationist (whose names, mercifully, escape me at the moment since neither of them did a particularly stellar job). Not surprisingly, during each man's presentation, their respective supporters in the audience would applaud wildly whenever they thought a point was scored.

During their summations, the creationist pulled a bit of a fast one when he stated (and I'm paraphrasing), "In the end, it's all about wanting the best possible science education for our children. So those people who are here this evening, if you support quality science education, stand up and show it."

Oh, that was clever.

What the creationist did was a well-known and sleazy kind of "bait-and-switch." Naturally, everyone there was prepared to say that they were in favour of good science education (based on how they defined it, of course.) So it wouldn't be at all surprising if the creationists in the audience immediately leapt to their feet and applauded madly.

But what about the supporters of biological evolution? What were they supposed to do? Of course they supported good science education but, if they had stood as well, there's no doubt that that gesture would have been re-interpreted after the fact as overwhelming, bipartisan support for the creationist speaker.

More recently, this bait-and-switch trick in public discourse has been on spectacular display south of the border. See, if you publicly "support the troops," then that support is repackaged as if it were support for the Bush administration. And if you disagree with King George and his minions? Well, then, clearly, you don't support the troops. I'm sure you can see how this works by now. Which brings us to "Wear Red Day," and the latest incarnation of right-wing, bait-and-switch sleaziness.

Canada's wankers would, naturally, have you believe that wearing red is to show support for "the troops." But does anyone actually believe that? Let's consider the evidence, shall we, once again stealing from Mark C. since he's such a delightful source of wanker silliness. As Mark quotes:

Hundreds of military spouses, family members and others are expected to rally on Parliament Hill tomorrow in response to a “Wear Red” campaign launched by family members of soldiers at the CFB Petawawa who last month began a six-month tour of duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Now there's the first hint that something devious is up. See, it's not just a "wear red" thing, is it? No, what's happening is a rally on Parliament Hill, where it's going to be irresistibly tempting to portray that mass of humanity as showing their support for the Harper government and its policies after the fact. I mean, be honest -- if you were in charge, could you resist the potential PR bonanza?

What? Me, a conspiracy theorist? Perhaps. So let's give Mark C. the last word and let him dispel any doubts, shall we?

Actually there are likely to be thousands and most will be "others", i.e. ordinary civilians like my wife and me. National Defence Minister O'Connor, Gen. Hillier and perhaps Prime Minister Harper will speak.

Well, how about that? A patriotic rally on Parliament Hill to ostensibly "support the troops" and, gosh darn it, what a coincidence that some prominent members of the CPoC could "perhaps" show up to speak and get some serious media face time. And how could you blame them? All that patriotic emotion in one place -- what a great photo op, and a chance to spin it later as PM Stephen Harper and his cronies basking in the adulation of the worshipping masses. And not a Liberal or Dipper or Green to be seen up on stage, at least not according to Mark C. Life doesn't get any better than that, does it?

And remember -- you read it here first.

P.S. If Canada's military have an ounce of sense, they'll have a recruiting table there. 'Cuz it's always easy to talk the talk, know what I'm sayin'?

... We have a winner. Thank you, thank you very much. I'm here until Thursday. Try the veal.


Anonymous said...

Whether you have a draft or an “all-volunteer” force, the ranks, down south, if not in Canada, are filled with the lower classes, e. g., rednecks, “minorities,” the otherwise unemployed or underemployed, illegal aliens (including a few Canadians, here and there, when Canada can’t manage to start its own war) and guys looking for a “get out of jail” card. They’re not exactly 100% Americans, or 100% Canadians. No one really supports “the troops.” After all, how much do you think this bunch of losers contributed to the Bush/Cheney Election Campaign. Everyone understands that supporting “the troops” means supporting the Commander in Chief.

When you have a draft, the National Guard and the Reserves are the services of choice for the rich and famous, but when you don’t have a draft, the only ones interested in the National Guard or Reserves are the people who can’t make a living in the civilian economy. The Guard and Reserves require attendance one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer. But the weekend in divided into four, four-hour drills. You get four days pay for two days drill. The rate of pay depends in “time in service.” Time in service begins to run the date the person first enters the military. After six years time in service, the pay rate substantially improves. Someone who works full-time at a place like Wal*Mart probably makes more money on a weekend in the Guard or Reserves than working a whole week at Wal*Mart. Until our current Commander in Chief became Commander in Chief, nobody expected to get “activated” until World War III started. Once World War III starts, everyone is going to get drafted anyway.

Now. The Point.

You have your own Commander in Chief now.

Didn’t see that coming?

And the business about the importance of casualties?

The reason a few Canadians here and there came south during the Vietnam era is that it’s not very macho to spend your whole military career in the garrison. Armies, in case you guys forgot, are for fighting wars. You don’t win medals, or promotions, marching around the garrison. You don’t need more troops (read bigger empires) if all they’re going to do is march around some Canadian forces base.

Now that the Canadian Forces are taking a few casualties, your guys don’t have to come south anymore.

The PM has himself a little of George Jr’s mojo.

Off to Parliament Hill with you! Do the Commander in Chief Strut!

Hail Harper

Dave said...

Your "P.S." took the words right out of my fingertips. I was only half-way through your post and my mind was conjuring up visions of a cordon of CF recruiting vans with a warrant officer announcing, "150 of you won't be going home today."

Anonymous said...

The whole "Wear red" thing started in the US, according to Snopes.

Anonymous said...

Wearing red in the US?

Since the Revolutionary War, the US Army has used red to show enemy positions on its maps, and blue to show friendly positions.

When the US media began to use colors to differentiate friendly from unfriendly states, they naturally used red to mark Republican states and blue to mark Democratic states.

Republicans, being draft dodgers, never figured that out.

In any case, in American today, red means Republican.

riley dog said...

This is as weird as their bumper sticker thing last spring.

I would wear black.
And it'd be cool to be Jack Layton...he really pisses them off.

I'd vote for anyone who wants us out of this bs war.

Anonymous said...

What? The Prime Minister out generating visibility and support for something he and his party supports? How many times has this happened since 1867? How many times did it happen during the previous Liberal governments?

Just asking.

Robert McClelland said...

Over on the army forum it was reported that the NDP representatives were booed.

Anonymous said...

In any case, in American today, red means Republican.

And in Canada, it's for the Lieberals. Fitting, really.