Proper political action should never be a dog whistle for violence, hatred and derision, lest we risk a global political catastrophe.
Unfortunately, angry, unconcerned and dispassionate rhetoric has become the norm throughout the world — with the latest example being the election of Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has shown an extreme willingness to openly disparage indigenous Brazilian communities; has said he would hope that if he had a gay son that his son would die in an accident; has said a fellow Brazilian lawmaker was, “Not my type. I would never rape her. I’m not a rapist, but if I were, I wouldn’t rape her because she doesn’t deserve it”; and has said his children wouldn’t marry a black woman because they are “well educated”.
Bolsonaro, whose extreme right-wing views have some labeling him the “Trump of the Tropics”, obviously has some vile and dangerous views on society — but the more disturbing fact is the election represents an ongoing global trend of electing pseudo or outright fascists into power.
Globally, more and more politicians’ extreme views on race, culture and identity are becoming politically powerful, something that would have been unfathomable not that long ago.
With Remembrance Day fast approaching in Canada, this point becomes poignant.
Seventy-nine years ago, Canada sent 1.1 million young men into Europe and East Asia to combat the atrocities of political extremism — 44,000 of those men didn’t return. Further, as many as 80 million people died globally during the Second World War.
That was the cost we paid to shutter the politics of hatred, division and nationalism.
This isn’t ancient history and it could happen again, which is why we need to as humans put our more minor differences aside and call out larger ones like racism, bigotry and extreme nationalism for what they are — a severe danger to us all.
So for this Remembrance Day, wear your poppy, support veterans and donate time and money but most importantly, remember that young Canadians died to put down extreme politics of division.
We need to honour their memory by ensuring we never let it happen again.