PARIS – As has been the case every year since the armistice ending World War I was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, 100 years ago; people around the world will today take a somber moment to pause, and reflect, on all of the good that the droning drum of nationalism has wrought on our small, shared planet.
“I’m a nationalist,” U.S. President Donald Trump said, shortly after recovering from nearly becoming the first president in American history to melt, when rain almost caught him out at a memorial service to the millions of men who died in the trenches to protect his right to be the reality TV star of the free world.
“I really don’t know why that’s a bad word,” Trump added, in remarks made just steps from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Paris, France. A monument built to commemorate all of the people who gladly gave their lives so that their descendants could game the tax code and forge political careers in the steely fires of questioning a black man’s birthright.
Other leaders, such as French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were strangely less enthusiastic about nationalism.
“These are old demons coming back to wreck chaos and death,” Macron said, carrying on an odd line of thinking that much ofEurope has endorsed in some form of other since the mid 1940’s: that inciting hatred has inevitable consequences. A thesis for which few ready examples exist.
“This day is not just about remembering, but should be a call to action,” Merkel then added, presumably referring to increasing tariffs, building walls, and undermining international institutions to score domestic points.
And Justin Trudeau delivered a speech in the rain, in which he insisted on interpreting the sacrifices of those who perished in the last century’s wars, as having been made to provide peace, and justice to all. When clearly what matters most is attempting to be the last nation standing, and the continued perpetuation of oppression, ad infinitum.