The White Poppy – Co-opting the Symbols of Others
A new symbol for an old cause has recently emerged. The cause is peace – the new, or more accurately, co-opted symbol is the white poppy. As most of us know, the red poppy is worn on, and leading up to, Remembrance Day to honour the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the defense of freedom.
It does not glorify war; it is a reminder of the human cost of war and the value of peace.
It increasingly seems that new generations who have never had to live or experience the horror of war, confuse the significance of November 11. They look on it as a glorification of all things military and so they protest Remembrance Day and have co-opted it’s singular symbol – the poppy – to make their point.
They live in a society where they have that right; a right guaranteed and protected by the lives of the very people they demean. They have the right to protest but lack the decency and the values not to misuse a symbol of honour and respect for their own purposes.
They are foolish, self-absorbed people not to be taken seriously. Where millions of red poppies will be sold and worn this year barely 2,500 white poppies have been distributed and almost none are being worn.
That is as it should be. Just as the red poppy does not symbolize war, the white poppy does not symbolize peace – it is merely a cheap attempt by the misguided to piggyback on what does not belong them.
It is becoming all too prevalent in our society.
Originally started with the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer, now almost everything has a coloured ribbon. There are red ribbons to support our troops, white ribbons, blue, purple, green and yellow ribbons and even rainbow coloured ribbons to support the gay activist agenda.
Got an issue? Get a ribbon.
It’s as if nobody has the imagination to come up with an original symbol and so takes the lazy and easy way out by piggybacking on the symbol of others with only minor variations.
I think there is no more obvious example of this than Christmas.
Yes, I know – it’s a tad early to be talking about Christmas; we’re just coming up to Remembrance Day in Canada and our American friends have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving and, of course, Black Friday. But I’m trying to make a point so cut me some slack and work with me here. Besides – it snowed here yesterday which is just a touch early for a Currier and Ives scene.
Where are Al Gore and David Suzuki when you want to show them the ravages of global warming – under the snow?
Christmas is a Christian celebration. It isn’t merely a festival, it is the celebration of the birth of Christ – God made man and is second only to Easter in the Christian faith. More than 2 billion Christians celebrate Christmas around the world and it is no less important to them than Passover is to Jews or Ramadan to Moslems. The fact that millions who do not believe in the significance of Christmas now celebrate a secular version of it with their families doesn’t change that.
Although to be blunt – even the secular Santa Claus believes in Christmas.
And yet, there is perhaps no other single celebration that has not only been co-opted by the politically correct and the secular in society but assaulted, diminished and denigrated.
Merry Christmas has been changed to Seasons Greetings by many who would never dream of wishing their Jewish friends Happy Holidays at Chanukah. Christmas concerts are being banned from schools as if somehow the music, the joy and the very things that attracted non-Christians to celebrate Christmas will now somehow offend them.
In most cases, it is nothing more than the weak-minded thinking of foolish people who have convinced themselves that the best way to promote inclusion is to exclude what is important to one group or another. They have deluded themselves into thinking that the best way to celebrate diversity is to try and reduce everything to a homogenized, bland mud of similarity.
You don’t have to look further than Quebec with it’s proposed Charter of Secularism which restricts the rights of religious expression that are guaranteed in the province’s own Charter of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
What an absurd bit of discrimination. Secular societies don’t ban religious faith; they simply don’t incorporate religion into their governance.
We all have the same rights and that includes the right to protest, to speak out for or against something and to decide for ourselves what we do or don’t believe. We have the right support a cause or many causes and to create symbols to represent them. We even have the right to make jackasses of ourselves.
But we also have something else.
Everyone talks about their rights these days but few accept the responsibility that attaches to those same rights.
It starts with understanding that just as you have the right not celebrate Christmas, others have the right to celebrate it – and publicly. Every year we see various cultural festivals in our communities; Chinese, Greek, Italian etc. and nobody finds it necessary to try and change or make them politically correct. They are what they are and we are all free to join in the celebration or not as we see fit.
It’s the same with Christmas, with Halloween, Chanukah, Eid Al-Adha and, yes, with Remembrance Day. We all have the right to believe what we want to believe but in a decent society, we also have the responsibility to respect the beliefs of others and to allow them to celebrate those beliefs publicly without interference – the same respect and lack of interference we demand for our own beliefs.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others
Let’s connect on Twitter: @maggsbear or send a friend request on Facebook to: Maggie’s Bear