National anthem tradition vs progress

Posted on October 2, 2014
Filed Under Commentary, Economic & Political Philosophy | Leave a Comment

CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon topics for today included whether we should amend our national anthem’s “in all thy sons command,” to “in all of us command”. Several of those speaking against the proposal cited tradition as their reason.
I think we certainly should. I think this is one of those discussions that is going to seem silly looked back on 20 years from now.
With regard to tradition, some are worth keeping. A tradition of trying to be fair and tolerant and inclusive is worth preserving. A tradition of treating women like property (which we used to do) or as second class citizens with no equity in marital assets (which we recently used to do) or imprisoning homosexuals (which we used to do) are not.
If tradition always trumps progress why do we need Parliament? Every new law or program violates tradition. Canada is, or was, a progressive nation. I remember the fuss when Lester B. Pearson’s Liberal government decided on our new flag. I doubt you could find much support for going back to the old one now.
And, yes, we should also make it inclusive for New Canadians and especially for First Nations people.
The good old days and tradition often harken back to a time when all the power and privilege was held by powerful, rich, old, white men.

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