31 January 2007

This time it's personal

There have been times lately when I've been put off by comedian Rick Mercer. I've wondered how much of his leaning on the Conservatives has been influenced not simply by its comedic heft, but by his being gay... or because he's working for Pravda Canada, as the CBC is affectionately known around here.

So it really surprised me to read his response to a columnist in the Newfoundland & Labrador Independent, regarding his remarkable friend, Corporal Paul Franklin.

The “poor sod” in question, Noreen, has a name and it is Cpl. Paul Franklin. He is a medic in the Forces and has been a buddy of mine for years. I had dinner with him last week in Edmonton, in fact. I will be sure to pass on to him that his lack of legs caused you some personal discomfort this Christmas.
I was not surprised to discover that the woman who wrote the original column, Noreen Golfman, works in Memorial University’s women’s studies department. No real surprise either that Noreen was indignant that Mercer had the temerity to visit Canadian troops in Afghanistan. She petulantly asks, "When did the worm turn?"

Mercer replies...
Well I hate to break it to you, but in my case this worm has been doing this for a long time now. It’s been a decade since I visited Canadian peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and this Christmas marked my third trip to Afghanistan.
So anyway... I was wrong about Rick Mercer. I made a judgement about his motives, without having all the facts. His defence of his friend Cpl. Paul Franklin was heartfelt and moving. And he hasn't obviously closed his mind about the struggle in Afghanistan, like so many of the so-called progressives.

Mercer wraps it all up neatly...
You end by saying you personally cannot envision that peace can ever be paved with military offensives. May I suggest to you that in many instances in history peace has been achieved exactly that way.

The gates of Auschwitz were not opened with peace talks. Holland was not liberated by peacekeepers and fascism was not defeated with a deft pen. Time and time again men and women in uniform have laid down their lives in just causes and in an effort to free others from oppression.
Now, this doesn't mean I'm going all soft, but I'm gonna try take a page from Rick Mercer... and expand my appreciation of folks I don't agree with and to be honest, very seldom understand.

We'll see what happens.

h/t to Triple C

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