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Inordinate Ordnance - Idiotic, Patriotic Canadiana

Monday, October 27, 2014

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Written by Chris Carr

I really like the fact that I live where I do.

This is as close to patriotism as I am comfortable with. I like the fact that my mother, happened to be within the Canadian borders when I happened to be born. I’m not sure I’d like to have been born someplace else, because I was born here, in Canada. And since I like the way I turned out—especially since I have no comparison—I’d say, all-in-all, if you press me, I’m proud to be Canadian.

Ask most Canadians, and they will exclaim, “I AM CANADIAN!” As they raise a glass of beer, trying to stifle the glint of insanity that comes with the proclamation. To say otherwise might get your thrown out.

This sentiment as recently been invigorated after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa last week. The efforts went to stopping the man, as well as, the respect given to the late Cirillo have abounded since. I am proud of my compatriots for rallying to support heroes like Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and showing respect for the departed—as many Canadians did by stopping their cars as Cirillo’s body was transported down the Highway of Heroes.

But now, we face the fallout. While our chief news organization, CBC, did an outstanding job to not sensationalize the acts of Bibeau (compared to our southern neighbours), I can’t help but notice a wake of misguided patriotism trailing the events in Ottawa.

My Facebook feed is riddled with pictures of the Canadian flag with the words, “If this flag offends you, I’ll help you pack.” It isn’t too much of a stretch to consider the word, “terrorism” as on the tip of every Canadian’s tongue. Somehow, this turned into an us against the ever-evil them. And we seem to only be able to express it patriotically.

Our beer commercials cash-in on our patriotism. Our sports teams do the same. Too many campaigns tell me exactly what it means to be Canadian, and it seems to me, the only thing defining me as a Canadian, really, was my mother’s third-trimester craving for Maple syrup.

Why do we allow this? Why are beer commercials, hockey players and gun-totting madmen defining us as Canadians? I was always taught in grade school that our greatest strengths as a nation lied in our diversity. We are not like the melting-pot of America, assimilating their citizens under the guise of the American dream. We are whatever the puck we want to be.

It seems to be a mistake to be united under a flag, or an ideal of what a “real Canadian” might very well be. It will only smother what could be; it stops our ability to evolve into better people, not just better Canadians.

This is the real meat of what it means to be a Canadian. It is not that we all agree to the same set of rules. It isn’t the fact that when attacked, we stood our ground. It’s the fact that I can write this, without fear of retribution from those claiming to be defending our way of life. I can disagree if I want, and I do, most heartily, with those who blindly follow the Canadian flag as if it could never be wrong, as if it could never lie to us.

How can we be proud to be Canadian? Doesn’t pride manifest after a great accomplishment? It seems to be, the “proudest” Canadians are usually the ones who have little affect or concern accomplishing a commonality. I am not proud to be a Canadian, because I had no hand in becoming one.

On the other hand, I am happy I am a Canadian because, simply, it’s awesome.

It’s awesome because we can change. It’s awesome because I know that deep down, the loudest and most oblivious “patriots” are a minority. It’s awesome because we know we aren’t that awesome at all.

To those who think I should simply get out if I don’t like it here, I say, “No.” Because I believe, as Canadians we have the capacity to be better. And that’s what I love most of all about being a Canadian: it’s that I can say that.

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