If Hitler had won the Second World War, life as we know it would be different. Without letting the imagination go berserk, it is likely there would have been more wars, more corruption, more segregation, more death, more inequality and more fear. Maybe. Who’s to know what could have unfolded. Hitler lost, and we got to keep our borders. Our countries. Our cultures. Our capitalism. Our religions. Our socialism. Our ideas. At least in some part. There’s no doubt that there’s something very wrong with this world. When our planet can produce enough food to waste half of it and yet people starve to death, something is wrong. When our planet produces enough energy to run all the machines and computers that perpetuate our mechanical caretakers, yet our waters are polluted, our air dirty and our food poisonous, something is wrong.
November 11th is a day we remember those who died and fought for our bit of freedom that we share here in Canada. Our country isn’t perfect. No one can argue with that. There are issues that run deep culturally here, and issues that run historically deep. There is racism, and socio-economic disparities that create gulfing distances between us. But when we wake up every morning, we have the right to disagree. We have the right to be upset. We have the right to say no. We have these rights because some people chose to fight against someone that wanted to eliminate difference.
These days, though, I wonder if he was right. Maybe the differences between us all will always incite war. Maybe there will always be people like him who think their way is right and want to eliminate everyone who is not like them. Maybe making us all alike will stop religious wars, economical wars, egotistical wars. Or maybe we all need to grow up and stop being so insecure.
I wear a poppy, not just to commemorate the men and women who stood up against a totalitarian regime, I wear it because I know that people who continue to stand up are the reason I get to wake up each day and disagree with my government, if I so choose.
The fact that I see almost no one wearing poppies this week slightly breaks my heart, slightly rattles my brain, but truly tells me people have either forgotten or that something else has really gone wrong. What we gained from defeating Hitler has morphed into something that doesn’t seem to be working. I only hope that we don’t have to go to war again, to stand up again – to change what has been so grossly exploited – us.