Tag Archives: respect

London Council Exists in Our Own Image

By Jay Menard

I admire London’s new mayor for reaching out to the community, but I’m concerned that asking the London Twitterverse about decorum is like polling cannibals about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle – they may be aware of the concept, but they certainly don’t practice it.

So it’s safe to say that any advice digested from that source be taken with a Goderich-sized grain of salt. After all, our existing council offers a pretty fair representation of London’s on-line community. Continue reading

A New Year Starting with Chaos; Ending with Thanks

By Jason Menard

You’re never too young or too old to learn. And as we welcome 2014, I’d like to offer a few lessons that I’ve had the fortune (both good and bad) to learn — and, in some cases — relearn as I say goodbye to what ended up being a life-altering 2013.

I’m not a woe is me guy. On this blog and in my social media feeds, I tend to avoid talking about my personal life. You’ll never read a “sigh” or see an open-ended statement that begs for a sympathetic response. What I do is try to offer solutions based upon my experiences — and while I prefer to talk about my professional or political interests, every once in a while it’s worthwhile to share something a little more private. Continue reading

My Apology to the City of London — It’s Time to Grow Up

By Jay Menard

Name-calling, questioning people’s intellectual capabilities, mocking, snide supercilious comments, mean-spirited personal attacks? It’s somewhat sad that the very behaviour that we discourage amongst our children has become the culture of choice for on-line discourse in London, ON.

I learned very early on that you don’t have to like someone and you don’t have to agree with them. But you have to be respectful of everyone and their perspective. And, most importantly, you have to value their efforts and ideas.

Sadly, it’s a lesson lost on many of those who purport to work for a better London, Ontario. Continue reading

Idea’s What Matters, Not the Source or Side From Which it Comes

By Jason Menard

Why is it important to listen to all sides of a discussion? Because good ideas know no bounds.

The other day I discussed how certain schoolyard-eque behaviours on Twitter can negatively impact the user experience. I focused on the how it happens – and here’s the “why” it is so important to respectfully engage people from all sides of the social and political spectrum. Continue reading

Critically Speaking

By Jason Menard

Name-calling, turning one’s back to the person, folding one’s arms, picking up one’s toys and going home – these behaviours are common on the schoolyard playground. Sadly, these behaviours, or their electronic equivalent, are just as prominent on the Internet.

The question isn’t “have we lost our ability to engage in and accept criticism?” The question should be, “when did we, as a society, lose that ability?” Continue reading

Respectfully, I Withhold my Support

By Jason Menard

In light of the recent flap regarding the Department of National Defense’s demand to bring down a “Support Our Troops” billboard, one thing has been taken for granted – that all Canadians are on board with the idea of support.

I, for one, respectfully withhold mine. In the end, I respect our troops and their efforts – but I can’t support their war. And by lending my support to our troops, I’m tacitly endorsing their efforts – as anathema as they may be to me.

I suggest that we, like the DND when faced with media pressure on this issue, do an about-face and change the mantra to “Respect Our Troops.” At the very least, that’s what they deserve. Support, respect – it may seem like nothing more than semantics, but like Elvis sang, “words are all I have to steal your heart away.”

Am I less patriotic due to the fact that I won’t utter the words support? Does that make me admire our soldiers any less for the rigors they face on a daily basis? No. But that’s not a display of support – that’s me showing my respect for their activities.

Unfortunately, any sort of commentary against the sentiment of “Support our Troops” will bring vociferous opposition and brandings of anti-Canadian. That’s far from the reality. True patriotism doesn’t mean blindly following the will and expression of our leaders. True patriotism comes from questioning every action that our nation takes and making sure we’re the best country we can be.

Why is military exempt from this criticism? Environmentalists go into each and every action with the best intentions, but their efforts and practices are subject to intense scrutiny. Disagreeing with David Suzuki doesn’t make you a closet industrialist willing to rape and pillage the earth for your own misbegotten advancement. So why are any words uttered against our military presence in other countries likened to treason?

We can respect our soldiers and appreciate their efforts to — quoting an overused sentiment – fight for our freedoms. But does that appreciation write a blank cheque for any and all military actions? I’m afraid not.

Canadians can be proud of their military and peacekeeping history. And, for some, our role in Afghanistan is a signal that our international presence still has some meaning. But, for others, our role in a foreign dispute is questionable. The Afghanistan situation is ripe for scrutiny, in light of the history of conflict in the region. When Soviet tanks rumbled through the streets of Kandahar, where were the North American forces? Tiptoeing a line and supporting the Taliban behind the scenes.

So, although many of the arguments that justify our current involvement in Afghanistan were there then – such as the oppression of the people, we didn’t make any move until it was politically appropriate to do so (and we wouldn’t run the risk of escalating Cold War sensitivities). For that reason alone, our involvement is questionable.

Simply put, a just war is just at any time – not just when the political environment is right.

Can each and every Canadian look deep inside their hearts and know, without any shadow of doubt, that our involvement in Afghanistan is the right thing? Can we really believe that war – and lets be real, this is peace-making, not peace-keeping – is the best answer to the region’s problems? If there’s a shadow of a doubt anywhere in your mind, how can you lend your wholehearted support to the effort?

And if you shout from the rooftops to support our troops, is that not what you’re doing. The argument that we’re supporting our soldiers, not necessarily the war doesn’t hold water. “Our soldiers” are involved in a war. Their actions are defining the combat as it takes place – one can’t be removed from the other.

That’s why I’ll respectfully withhold my support from our soldiers. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their efforts and admire them for their determination and their willingness to lay down their lives for the cause. I just hope they believe more in the cause for which they’re willing to make the ultimate sacrifice than I do.

Respect Our Troops. Now that’s a sentiment that I could get behind 100 per cent.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

What Ever Happened to Respect?

By Jason Menard

Silence is not only golden – it’s respectful. Well, it is at least until the moment that some disrespectful moron chooses to misuse that honourable pause to draw attention to themselves with their 15 seconds of fame.

As the band Sloan once sang, “it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.” And that sentiment can be carried on to a select few attendees at our arenas and stadiums. When it comes learning how to show respect, Canadian sporting fans have a long way to go to.

An interesting parallel was broken at the recent home opener for the London Knights junior hockey club. When two veterans of combat came on to the ice to take part in an opening ceremony, they were greeted with a standing ovation from the assembled throng. But this is contrasted with a select few idiots choosing to use the singing of the national anthem as the background music for their sub-intellectual, puerile outbursts.

Does it not seem somewhat odd that we’re willing to stand and gratefully acknowledge the contributions that the veterans have made to the betterment of our society, yet when it comes to honouring the very flag and anthem for which they fought, we’re found woefully lacking?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that sporting events should be a time of fun, excitement, and celebration. And I appreciate the overwhelming crescendo of applause and cheers that build as the anthem reaches its climax. But there is a time and place for everything, and interrupting our anthem in the middle to release a guttural, animalistic scream is disrespectful and insulting to all Canadians.

And this isn’t just a London thing. It happens all the time in arenas and stadiums across the country. Whether it’s hockey, football, baseball, or any other sport you can imagine, I’ve yet to find one sport that’s immune from the presence of this particular self-congratulatory glory hound.

Really, is in the middle of a song that represents our nation – one with which we should be standing at attention and singing along – the best time to shout “Go Team Go!?” Honestly, I’m pleased that at that moment you finally were able to muster enough brain cells to string two words together (I’m sure it helped that two were short and were the same word, though), but those are sentiments that don’t have a shelf life. They don’t need to be accompanied by Calixa Lavallée’s soundtrack, nor do they need Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir’s or Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier’s (depending on which language, of course) lyrics serving as background vocals for your indispensable contribution to Canadian pride.

Of course, how can we expect to show our anthem the proper respect when we don’t place a premium on it in other aspects of life? Our children listen to the national anthem in school, but don’t sing along. In fact, my 11-year-old son states that many kids in his school talk through the anthem or otherwise act inappropriately. O Canada is an anthem of pride, but each year we see Remembrance Day inch closer and closer to irrelevancy due to the lack of interest we have.

This isn’t like the debate about prayer in school. There is no grey area. The moment we choose to live in this country, we are all Canadians. While each of us is encouraged to retain our social, cultural, and religious identities, we must also recognize that we are all Canadians. And the anthem, like the flag it represents, is a tangible representation of what it means to be Canadians and, as such, deserves respect.

The anthem is powerful. I remember attending an opening day for baseball’s Montreal Expos a few years back. When the anthem started, it was met with a small chorus of boos – which is political expression at its best. But instead of being overwhelmed, the others in the packed stadium sang with all their hearts and voices, the volume rising until the naysayers were overwhelmed. The sense of Canadiana and connection to each other was palpable and it was one of the most moving experiences. At that moment, I truly felt what it meant to be proud of our country. I was able to express outwardly what I’ve always felt inwardly.

We need more moments like that. We need to express our pride to truly feel our pride. And that needs to be done without some moron interrupting the process. Showing pride in our country isn’t the domain of beer commercials – it’s up to each and every one of us to take a stand and use these moments to showcase the best that the country has to offer.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved