Monday, February 09, 2009

Conservative jingoism has its consequences

Our very own flag pin debacle is still playing itself out. You see, for the "majority," it's all about the symbols, not the substance:
Erik Millett, who returned to Belleisle Elementary School on Monday, admits in an interview with CBC News that he is now questioning his own future at the New Brunswick school or even in teaching following the anthem controversy.

"I received probably over 2,000 emails, most of them hurling abuse at me, saying everything that I should be at the end of a bayonet, I should be shipped out of the country, I should be put on the front lines with the Taliban," he said.

"I bore a very heavy price for something that I think was very, very misrepresented in the media."
Now that's a reasonable, intelligent way to be conducting ourselves. In contrast, listen to the reaction of the man at the receiving end of it all:
"There are many ways to demonstrate one's patriotism or one's love for a country," he said. "The anthem is one, flying a flag is another, volunteering in your community is another. I would argue that teachers and staff at my school, caring for children to make sure they don't go hungry or don't go cold or have all they need to learn, that is being patriotic.

"I think really it has nothing to do with the decision that my staff and I arrived at. It has everything to do with one person having a very driven agenda and misrepresenting what the school did in the media and the media reproducing the myth, that mythology to a point that people in this country were whipped into a hysteria."
Unfortunately for us, in Mr. Harper's Canada, it's all about who can shout louder on talk radio than the other person. And it's fair game to connect the Conservatives to the fallout here and the forces unleashed. They went right after this. They latched on to it and blew it up beyond proportion. They went national, attracting the attention of national media in the House of Commons. 2000 emails resulted? Message well sent. On this and other issues, they continue to demonstrate that their preferred method of providing national leadership is to irresponsibly demagogue and sow division. They don't seem to give much thought about the consequences that may result. They may be playing nice on budget matters at the moment, but the undercurrent of incivility remains.