12 November 2013

Neo-militarism shows up on Alberta license plates

The neo-militarism seeping out of Ottawa seems to be infecting Alberta. The province has announced it is unveiling a new license plate which will bear the “Support our Troops” slogan along with the symbolic yellow ribbon. The plates will complement the current veterans’ plates which bear a red poppy.

Offering two plates honouring soldiers is doubly excessive. There is, after all, no plate to honour other workers who sacrifice their lives in the service of their country—police, miners, forestry workers, firemen, agricultural workers ... the list is long. In 2012, Alberta construction workers suffered 42 fatalities, but no plates for them, even though they are literally building the future of our country, a rather more importance task than whatever our military has been doing in Afghanistan.

Soldiers volunteer for the job, hence
deserve no more respect than any other Canadian who gives up his or her life in the service of our country. A life is a life—all are equally precious. Elevating the armed forces to a higher plane is warrior worship—militarism pure and simple. It is a political statement and political statements do not belong on our license plates. As one wag put it, what's next, "support our pipelines"?

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