Monday, March 8, 2010

Thou dost in us command?

8 days after the Games

A week and one day ago, the streets were singing our national anthem jubilantly, now, the lyrics that we've come to know so well, may shortly undergo a slight alteration. The Governor General announced on March 3rd that parliament will be reviewing the line "In All Thy Son's Command" and proposing to change it to it's original gender-neutral state from a 1809 version, which sang "Thou dost in us command."

This attempt to make the song applicable to all Canadians may seem admirable - but, surprisingly, many seem to be regarding the potential change with a shake of the head. Some point out that if we remove the gender bias, we should also attack the Christian bias. For others, "thou dost in us command" is a bit too much of a tongue twister to adjust to. Most, however, seem to think that the effort is a sad excuse for stepping up for women's rights, when there are so many more important issues (wage disparity, for example?) that should be tackled.

In my opinion, the government could have picked a more reasonable time to raise the issue. This is one of the time periods where Canadian pride has been the highest, and we are embracing our traditions and anthem as they are. Secondly, with the critisism the government was under just before the Games for closing parliament, this public effort to change the anthem can easily come accross as an attempt to distract the public.

However, when it comes down to it, who does it hurt? The symbolic equalization of genders shows Canada and the rest of the world that women are equals, and until that is openly and formally acknowledged, then how can we expect the real issues to be seriously dealt with?

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