Sometimes it's just the little things that hurt the most – little things that one after the next diminishes our community a tiny bit more.
The drone and skirl of the bagpipes have been heard for the last time at Ogilvy's in downtown Montreal. The pipers had been there since the 1940s and became a real part of honouring and respecting Montreal's Scottish heritage. It was special; one of those Montreal things.
But no more.
All management at the store would say is “They are synonymous with a different era. Now is the right time to respectfully move on to relevant and new traditions.”
I don't get it. Traditions are traditions and you just can't say it's time to make some new ones because maybe your marketing department thinks they had a brilliant idea.
The Ogilvy folks just don't get it.
Yes, it is a little thing in the grand scheme of things, but so much of our presence and our face in our city has been chipped away by restrictions and just plain stupidity and this is a case in point.
No more Scotland the Brave on Ste. Catherine St. – just a meek corporate whimper.
Taking a knee
It's naïve to think that sport and politics don't mix, because sometimes the lines do get crossed.
Think of Jesse Owens, who defied Hitler's dream of Aryan supremacy and became the most successful athlete of the 1936 Olympics.
Or Jackie Robinson, here in Montreal, breaking the colour barrier in professional baseball.
Or American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City in 1968 with their Black Power salute.
In 1980, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
In 1984, the Soviet Bloc retaliated with boycott of the Los Angeles Games.
And now the name of Colin Kaepernick will belong to the history books as the man who started a movement.
The thing is, the current NFL protest is misunderstood.
It is not about disrespecting the flag, nor the anthem. It is a gesture of respect and hope for a better more equal society.
The chief idiot in the White House says kneeling has nothing to do with race. Wrong – it has everything to do with race. It is about racial injustice. For example, African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites.
And the protests are not attacks on the military. Soldiers die defending the very constitutional right to protest. You see, the protests are not about disrespect. Quite the contrary.
And in the middle of this, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the champions of a league that is almost 100 per cent white announced they will meet a president next month who called black athletes ‘sons of bitches.’
Standing with their fellow athletes would be the proper thing to do. It’s offside and out of touch.
Which brings me back to Jackie. Yes, he was a trailblazer and a hero – but he always knew that the fight was never over.
Long after his remarkable career was over he wrote, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”
And in Trump’s America, it is getting harder by the day.