I digress from my regular focus on homelessness and housing to rant just a little bit about the Canadian national anthem.
You may have heard it being proposed to change the line “all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”. Much ink has been spilled and Rex Murphy got cute about it on the National, to invoke our patriotism and stop this travesty. I heard it expressed yesterday that this is just another silly feminist cause.
But here’s the thing, “all thy sons command” isn’t even the original version. That line is a 1913 edit of the original “thou dost in us command”. Because that’s what we do with the anthem, we update it. What is being suggested now is that the update to use “sons” rather than something gender neutral (like the original) was less than ideal, and could use another tweak. Because the anthem is with us to stay, so will need tweaking as language evolves.
As for “silly feminists”, what’s so silly about people thinking that your life trajectory and income-earning ability should not be determined by what’s under your underwear. Lots of people think that…you know, people like me. To me, the travesty is that Murphy and others use the term ‘feminist’ like the f-word, to disparage the efforts of those pushing for equity in our society.
If these anthem traditionalists want to be so avoidant of change, why don’t they sing the original version? Because, of course, that would just be silly.