Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh FFS, Canada!

Remember how I said that sometimes, doing these rants, I run into stories that are just plain weird? Well, I've got another one for you. There's a small town in New Brunswick called Belleisle, and their elementary school is no longer allowed to sing "O Canada" every morning. When I first heard this, I thought it was one of those hoaxes that you sometimes get in the e-mail, but apparently this is really going on. According to the principal who made this decision, a lot of parents didn't want their kids singing it every day.

Now, since this will probably lead to a lot of very ignorant comments, let me start this by saying, I think that nationalism is highly overrated. One reason is because it's just a step or two below fanaticism and racism (just ask a Jew who lived in Europe in the 1930s). The other reason is because pretty much every country on the planet thinks that it's the best one, yet any critical look at the world around you will show you that at least one other country has got it better than yours. In any case, as my Christmas episode made clear, I'm not one who thinks that just because a group is of the majority, they have the right to force beliefs upon the rest of the population. That being said, the idea of dropping the national anthem from a grade school, because apparently some people have a problem with it being sung, is a little strange to me.

I should point out that the exact source of the complaint has been very vague in the press, but I'm going to guess for the moment that this is being brought up by -- or at least blamed on -- some recent immigrants. If that's the case, I must ask: if you have a problem with your new neighbours singing with pride about the place you apparently chose to live in, why are you there in the first place? It would be kind of like me moving to The Bible Belt and demanding that all the churches be closed; it's pompous, it's childish, and all it does is cause unnecessary problems. We all need to learn to put up with each other to some extent, in order to survive. It's a fact of life -- ironically, something that's usually expected of kids, at school.

The really goofy thing about this, to me, is that even if you have some sort of moral issue with singing a national anthem, dropping it is complete overkill. When I was a kid, I didn't sing the anthem much, either -- mind you, that was because I don't like singing in public. Nine times out of ten, other people aren't that picky about whether or not you actually sing the anthem, so much as you standing and showing respect. Why is that so much to ask? If nothing else, you can use that time to reflect on and be thankful for the life and freedom that you have. Enough said.

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