Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Seeing Red

For a long time, the expression ‘seeing red’ has had negative connotations. As in having an angry reaction to something. As in seeing communist influence on the freedom of lifestyle. As in seeing blood flow, not in the context of donating.

In more recent times optional interpretations have included more positive imagery.

Several years ago a campaign started in eastern Canada called ‘wear red Fridays’. It was intended to show support for the military, and especially military families, whose daily life is defined by some degree of sacrifice. One local radio station in Ottawa regularly made a point of reminding the population listening to be sure to wear red each Friday. To some extent this caught on, especially when tied in with events wherein soldiers or their families participated. It’s only very recently that this crusade has abated.

In a country like Canada, where red plays an important symbolic role as the main colour on our flag, wearing the colour in concert with the maple leaf clearly has nationalistic overtones. Thus, on July 1st, aka Canada Day, wearing red or red & white is particularly desirable.

It’s too bad, though, how many people make little effort to exhibit some pride or support in overtly displaying national colours. Notwithstanding the promotion for years by the radio station, wearing red on Fridays was never more than limitedly successful. More telling is the unwavering ignorance, or at least lack of effort, by so many on Canada Day.

Say what you will about jingoistic American attitude, when it comes to the display of national symbols, like their flag or its colours, i.e. red, white, and blue, the degree of exhibition doesn’t seem to take a backseat to any other nation. Driving through small town America one is really struck by this. Perhaps it’s because Canadians view our country as less of a melting pot that this contrast of exhibition seems to hold. Perhaps increasing societal celebration of diversity will make this seem less important or observable in time.

Today, thanks to our Toastmasters club, I was able to participate in a ‘wear red’ day in support of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) barbeque & activity day. Once again though, although this was promoted internally encouraging informal red attire, there was a noticeable lack of commitment to the theme by many employees. On a hot and sunny midday, darker, heat absorbing clothing remained popular.

The indifference of so many to displaying even a modicum of solidarity, not to mention patriotism, is certainly enough to make one see red.



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