Pick up your guns, strap on your helmet and report for duty. The bad guys are coming, and we have to mobilize. There have been skirmishes in many places, as varied as Ottawa, St. Jean, Chattanooga, Fort Hood, London, Paris, Västerås (Sweden) and others. Lord only knows where’s next, and He isn’t saying.
Don’t have a gun? No problem. There’s the vast logistics and support network needed by an army at war. A call to arms doesn’t mean you have to personally fire a weapon.
You have no time for logistics? Can’t take off time from work? So what are you going to do to help for the Yazidi, Kurdish, or Assyrian
victims of ISIS?. Are you concerned about the Syrians? Do you want them, or North African refugees in your country? Should you be concerned about the anti-science suppression of GMOs, which make proper nutrition available to the world’s poorest people? What about the campaign to delegitimize the only western democracy in the Middle East?
There are so many more issues: religious or environmental fanaticism, political correctness, sexual correctness, corporate greed, union greed. The list goes on and on. Can you really say you have no time to answer a call to arms? Many people consider themselves apolitical. Either they don’t care, or think one person can’t make a difference. They’re wrong. If you pay any taxes, politics affect your life. If you don’t grow your own food, politics affects you. Unless you’re a hermit, completely off the grid, politics affect you, whether it’s the stability of your job, the cost of your electricity, or the cost of your food. Even if you’re completely off the grid and nuclear war breaks out, politics affects you.
An Electoral Call to Arms
Voting makes a difference. Look at the economic decline of the U.S.A. under the current administration. Look at its loss of influence, its loss of respect. President Obama’s reset of relations, his red lines drawn in disappearing ink have given tyrants a free hand to flex their muscles, to threaten their weaker neighbors in the Ukraine, the Middle East, or the South China Sea. His quest for peace, for ending war, has made the world a much more dangerous place. On the home front, his election should have put paid to the issue of American racism. But race relations have deteriorated to levels unseen since the 1960’s as some unscrupulous people issue their own call to arms. What would have happened if Mitt Romney had won the election? John McCain? Any answer would be sheer speculation, but we can say for certain that different policies would have brought different results. The people who voted for Obama changed their country, changed their world.
In Canada, the choice of leader also makes a difference. Tom Mulcair, the Leader of the Official Opposition (and leading in some opinion polls) is very clear: he
doesn’t want Canada fighting ISIS overseas. Does he want to wait till ISIS is conducting more than skirmishes on our shores? Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau mocked the Prime Minister’s combative policies, accusing him and his supporters of ““trying to whip out [their] CF-18s and show how big they are.”” He advocated Canada giving victims of ISIS rapes, torture and beheading advice on how to stay warm in winter.
So given ISIS’ track record, given its ambitions, given its skirmishes in North America, does it make a difference who is elected Prime Minister? Who is the President of the United States? To be apolitical in the face of such horror is to say you don’t care. That makes you an enabler.
For most Americans and Canadians, no matter how passionate they feel about a political issue, there is little they can do. We live in a representative democracy where we select the government that will make choices on our behalf- whether to go to war or appease, fight climate change or fight poverty, battle oppressors or constructively engage them, drop bombs against ISIS, or drop blankets on their victims.
There are Canadians and Americans picking up weapons (be they real or metaphorical) in the fight against ISIS, in the fight against fanatics that threaten our way of life, that threaten our safety and livelihood. The call to arms they have answered is one that all of us must heed.
It’s election time in Canada, and election time is approaching in the U.S.A. Therein lies the opportunity; therein lies a call to arms. It’s when we tell our leaders what direction to we want our country to turn towards. The choices are very stark. Pick up your gun by working in support of the people who will best protect our interests, best protect our way of life. Campaign for the candidate who has learned the lessons of history: peace doesn’t come from appeasement. It comes from strength.