Decadent Boys or Honourable Men

Decadent boys or honourable men?

Published: February 9, 2007
Women's Post
by Elizabeth Nickson

Nothing last year compared quite to the visceral shock of seeing soldiers on Canadian streets. Or rather, in Canadian Tire on Yonge Street in Toronto, where I was drawn to the tall fellow waiting at the check-out, wearing my father’s regimental badge as if he were a magnet. Or an officer, dressed in fatigues, striding into Winner’s in Victoria on Christmas Eve. I stood, mouth ajar, lost in awe for quite a bit longer than I would have liked.

It was the relief you see. It was the “thank God, we’re doing something,” an emotion long forgotten as we in Canada evaded any struggle in the exterior world, stuffed up to the nose holes, as we are, with a sense of our own superiority. We’re Peacekeepers, we don’t get our hands dirty, let someone (anyone) else do it. We’ll turn up in white uniforms after the killing is done, and pass out freeze-dried meals and blankets. Or stand by all meek and patient, waiting for orders from the international talking shops while people are slaughtered around us.

And for some reason we believed that our disengagement was keeping us safe. How very wrong we were. In 1945 Canada had the fourth largest standing army in the world. Canadians, when they landed on D-Day, were assigned the toughest beach and went further than any other country’s force. This, and only this, the implied threat of a tiny country launching a huge offense in the service of others, was keeping us safe. Our military history, rife with bravery and honour, that we have sneered at, deconstructed, used as a tool in re-writing history so that the very small among us can feel big, must be rescued from the trash heap where our cultural elites have shoved it.

The last two generations of Canadian men are the most decadent in history. They have abandoned their families and whored around after younger women, rifled the corporate world as if it were a piggy bank for the clever and dissolute, and turned Canadian politics into a hymn of larceny and lies. Duty? Honour? Gone the way of sexual fidelity and sobriety. The average Canadian male, privileged like no other individual in the history of the world, swans through life as if it were nothing more than an upscale department store laid down, legs open like a 10 dollar whore. Can you imagine any one of these giving his life for a peasant in a hill town who hasn’t eaten in three weeks? Because of our Afghan mission, we can.

Those men over there are fighting the good fight so that profoundly oppressed women of that country have a chance, a very tiny chance, but a chance nonetheless, of a future. Those are Canadian men to be proud of. The narcissists of Bay Street shame us all.