War, Remembrance and Shame

Across Ottawa today flags were lowered in respect of those who sacrificed their lives in the service of the military through the conflicts Canada has participated in, and the city joined the national celebration of these memories of bravery and tragedy. Our national day of remembrance has been an occassion for a more acutely felt shared sadness and pride these last five years, with Canadian soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan. As our combat mission in this most recent war comes to a close in 2011, our minds will turn more and more to reflection on the cause and reason for our sacrifices, and what our soldiers have won with their sacrifice.

CTV news is reporting that the laying of two wreaths of white poppies at the National War Memorial today was met with outrage, with some saying it is a “desecration.” Such an incongruent reaction to the respectful presentation of a symbol of peace on a day when we commemorate the sacrifices of those who we say fought to restore peace makes me wonder if people have become too small-minded to truly understand the meaning of remembrance. When all are admonishing “lest we forget,” I feel more and more like we’ve already forgotten.
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Toke-n Effort

Today’s US mid-term election is being widely regarded as a report card on President Obama’s first two years in office, and the results will likely be read like tea leaves to prophesize the next Presidential election. But, amongst many measures and issues that are to be found on the ballot today, voters in California, Oregon, Arizona and South Dakota are also voting on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

The measure, introduced after a wave of support in California last year, would mean that the recreational use of marijuana in those states would no longer be illegal. This means that an individual could possess a small amount of marijuana and cultivate a home supply without threat of the penalty of the law. This is being promoted as a way for the governments in that area to regulate the use of the drug and shovel money into their coffers from taxation and licensing of dispensaries. The question that should be asked is whether the government is simply selling itself out, literally.
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