What if women had an an­them protest?

Waterloo Region Record - - EDITORIALS & COMMENT -

Re: Trump locks NFL in knee pol­i­tics — Sept. 25

As a re­tired On­tario teacher, I re­mem­ber once vis­it­ing a pro­gram for gifted stu­dents in Buf­falo. Open­ing ex­er­cises pre­sented an im­me­di­ate cul­ture clash. Amer­i­can staff and stu­dents rose and went through their an­them and recita­tion with their hands over their hearts. I stood qui­etly and re­spect­fully at at­ten­tion, not ut­ter­ing a word. The stu­dents no­ticed my si­lence and quizzed me in their gifted class.

I ex­plained that as a vis­it­ing for­eigner, I felt my duty to re­spect but not to par­tic­i­pate in Amer­i­can pa­tri­otic acts. We next spoke about dif­fer­ences and changes in ri­tu­als. We noted that peo­ple stand for oc­ca­sions, such as prayer, a toast or to hon­our a spe­cial per­son, and do so op­tion­ally to show ap­proval of a su­pe­rior the­atre per­for­mance.

I used “O Canada” to show pa­tri­otic changes over time and need. The orig­i­nal text gen­der in­clu­sively de­manded true pa­triot love: “In us thou dost com­mand.” But by 1917 the rav­en­ous killing trenches of First World War France de­manded that Canada send more young men. So Canada sub­sti­tuted true pa­triot love: “In all thy sons com­mand,” a word­ing that ex­cludes 52 per cent of Cana­di­ans who are fe­male.

I re­flected on this dur­ing the Trump me­dia frenzy about Amer­i­can pro foot­ball play­ers kneel­ing in protest over racial in­jus­tices dur­ing their na­tional an­them.

How would Trudeau and Cana­dian me­dia re­act if women here turned their backs or knelt dur­ing the play­ing of “O Canada,” while words still ex­clude them af­ter 100 years? Alan J. Nan­ders Kitch­ener

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