How do you feel when you see someone sitting during the National Anthem? Or maybe they are standing, but they haven’t taken their cap off? Or maybe they’re having a conversation with someone during the song? How do you feel about that?
Over the last few days, I have been following a thread on Twitter where a young man who’s involved with the national sports community was photographed sitting during the Canadian National Anthem and the photo was shared on social media with the caption #embarrassed. It was clearly taken to vilify this individual for choosing to sit during the anthem as he was tagged by name in the post and it was shared wildly.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes, I stand during the playing of our anthem and have taught my children to do the same: caps off, stand straight, try to sing along, even through the French lyrics.
I grew up in a time where a school assembly opened with O Canada and closed with God Save the Queen, so it was ingrained in my nature to always do the proper thing. My Grandfather and Father in Law were veterans, so I have always felt the need to stand, observe, and respect their service.
I also know not everyone feels the same way about the anthem whether it’s because of religious or personal reasons. Not everyone can physically stand for the anthem. Would I take a picture of them and post it on social media to call attention to them? No.
If it bothered me excessively I might ask why they don’t stand to observe the anthem but I know that I wouldn’t publicly shame them. We don’t do that anymore though do we? We don’t take the time to ask questions or communicate before jumping to conclusions about someone.
This shame-based outrage culture that we live in prompts keyboard warriors to destroy careers in minutes over what they perceive to be truth. All it takes is a photo, a hashtag, and a handful of shares.
Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek.