I’m Canadian (and I vote at every chance I get in Canadian elections), but I’m deeply entrenched in US politics. Any citizen of the world should be. On this day of perhaps the most important midterm elections, I find myself reflecting on the upcoming Canadian Remembrance Day and the idea of wars started over an ideological divide.
Canadians will know, on Remembrance Day we wear red poppies on our lapels to remember the fallen soldiers who died protecting our freedom. I used to refuse to wear a poppy. I was a pacifist, and I was engaging in peaceful protest of war.
This morning I listened to a news story on CBC radio about extreme right families moving to Texas because they felt that Democrats – those abortion loving people ruining the sanctity of marriage while pissing away America’s money on criminals from other countries – were making some places unsafe for them to live. This one family started a business to help “refugee” families move to Texas; the refugees they were referring to were Republican, white Americans. This family honestly felt that their political and social ideology was under attack and that “the other” (Democrats) were making their country unliveable for them. These Republican families thought of themselves as refugees from parts of their country that held different dominant ideologies from them.
And on the other side of the coin you have vulnerable people – women, LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, refugees and immigrants – feeling that the Republicans are making the country unliveable for them. On my social media I’ve seen a lot of queer families from America wishing or planning for an escape to Canada.
America is so incredibly divided right now. And extreme divides in ideology make me fear war.
And to my surprise, I feel a strong willingness to fight in a war to bring freedom to the vulnerable. To fight to defend humans rights. To fight to keep the world liveable for me and my people.
I don’t want a war. I DO NOT WANT A WAR. The thought makes my head spin. It makes me feel nauseous. But the situation brewing in America is terrifyingly familiar to sociopolitical situations seen on the cusp of past wars: the Civil War. The Cold War. World War II.
I’m getting up in arms. Let’s hope that voting is the only “arms” we need right now.