Well aren’t we all just an itsy, bitsy, bigoty these days. It’s okay. Don’t be shy about it all of a sudden. If you can insinuate it on Facebook you can surely cop to it here. We hate Muslims. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it? Kind of leaves a comforting, nostalgic warmth in my heart, actually. It takes me back to my youth in the chromatically-stunted seventies and bangs-worshipping eighties when we all hated Commies. Then the damned Berlin Wall came down and all those scary Soviets became vodka-swilling, fun-loving Russians and our xenophobia was sent helplessly adrift for a couple decades. Oh sure, Putin is doing his best Evil Soviet Dictator impersonation lately but it just doesn’t feel the same, ya know? You just can’t remake a classic. Besides, it’s hard to be fearful of an enemy we already defeated through nothing more than the humiliation of defeat in a handful of hockey games. But now, oh boy, now we have Muslims to hate. Or terrorists, if you prefer. Or, apparently, immigrants. These words all seem to be synonyms these days. The English language is wonderfully malleable that way.
Is To Electioneering Politicians What Full-Sized Chocolate Bars are to Halloween
Our fear and loathing of Muslims, while certainly not a sudden phenomenon, has oozed to the forefront of national discourse thanks to the ongoing legal dispute about whether women can wear a veil covering much of their face while taking the citizenship oath. This is the kind of simplistic, emotionally charged, but let’s be honest not such a big deal in the long run, issue that inflames the unified passions of Canadians from sea to sea to frozen sea unlike few others save for the men’s Olympic hockey team roster or negative option billing for cable television.
Falling smack dab in the midst of a heated federal election probably helps too. Never ones to let a gift go unexploited, however tawdry, our current sitting government has pounced on this niqab controversy and is being rewarded with a bounce in polling support and a rejuvenated campaign. Fear and prejudice cloaked in patriotism is to electioneering politicians what full-sized chocolate bars are to trick or treating. You may not feel good about it and it’ll probably piss off your neighbour offering popcorn in a Ziploc bag, but it’ll damn sure make you the most popular house in the community with the kids.
And do you want to know what I think? Damn straight! I’m totally on board with you! Loyalty to our country, to each other, supersedes all else and there is nothing more symbolic of that allegiance than the citizenship oath. In fact, I think we take this even further. Let’s do some things to emphasize our united conviction to the sanctity and privilege of Canadian citizenship because right now this is something, and this may unsettle some of you to hear, that we are woefully lacking.
Coincidence of Geography when Pushed out of a Vagina
Do you realize that there are an astonishing 28.36 million Canadians currently living in our country, freely, who have never even spoken the Canadian citizenship oath? It’s true. That’s almost 80% of Canadians whose citizenship was granted and loyalty to the nation anointed without question or ceremony thanks to nothing more than a coincidence of geography at the time they were pushed out of a vagina or cut out of a womb. That’s it. If you were born on Canadian soil you are a Canadian citizen, just like that (snap your fingers for emphasis).
Have you looked at newborn baby pictures? They all look the same! There is no way you or I or anyone can tell what a baby will look like when they’re adults. Every year untold thousands of potential terrorists are granted citizenship in our great country and we have no idea what they will look like within a year of them becoming Canadians. It’s the ultimate disguise. Never mind a couple of women hiding behind a veil choosing, as functioning, intelligent adults, to join our nation, what about the hordes of babies we blindly grant sweeping rights to with nothing more than a swat on the ass by a doctor?
While we’re at it, this is a perfect time to crack down on those bearded hipster types. Let’s face it, big, unruly beards and long, unkempt hair can hide just as much of a face as any niqab. Plus, one of these bearded wonders can simply walk out the door after pledging allegiance to Canada, waltz into the neighbouring barbershop for a cut and shave, and become virtually unrecognizable all within minutes of taking that oath. I imagine this might be a more appealing method of subterfuge for the covert but apparently romantic terrorist, wishing to first establish citizenship, than dressing in drag. Frankly, it’s an outrage that we don’t demand a clean shaven face and a respectfully trimmed coiffure for citizenship ceremonies. This also applies to Orthodox Jews, Sikhs, the Amish, bikers, Duck Dynasty enthusiasts, ZZ Top tribute bands, shopping mall Santa Clauses, wizards (cosplay or genuine), and Movember participants.
This Is What All The Fuss Is About?
But folks, friends, fellow Canadians, there is something far more disturbing than shifty babies and excessively hairy men. Or veil wearing women, for that matter. I, of course, speak of the Canadian citizenship oath itself. A ceremonial speech so important in its very essence that tens of millions of people who never once had to say it themselves are taking to social media and water coolers and voting booths to voice their concern, no their indignation, at what someone who willfully decides to be part of our country wears when speaking it. A declaration so sacred that the vast majority of us old stock Canadians don’t even know what it actually says. Well here it is in all its hallowed glory.
I swear (or affirm)
That I will be faithful
And bear true allegiance
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second,
Queen of Canada,
Her Heirs and Successors,
And that I will faithfully observe
The laws of Canada
And fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Yup. That’s it. That’s the whole entire oath. All forty-three words of it (thirty-nine in the French version). The majority of which is actually a pledge of allegiance to the Queen of the United Kingdom and her offspring. Then there’s the quaint promise not to break the rules and something about fulfilling your duties as a Canadian which I think means going to Tim Hortons at least once and watching or playing hockey; preferably both.
This is what we are all outraged about? This is what we are changing or affirming our votes about? This is what we use to justify sweeping generalizations and hateful statements about immigrants on our Facebook walls? This is something twenty-eight million of us have never had to utter once in our entire lives and yet our loyalty is never challenged nor our intent questioned? This? This is pathetic!
We need to change the Canadian Citizenship Oath like a set of balding winter tires on an aging rural school bus. If we’re going to be this petty, hypocritical, and intolerant in defense of it we should damn well make it an exquisite masterpiece of public speaking. Make it the kind of oath that causes goosebumps on the arms and tears in the eyes when spoken like the national anthem. A collection of words so inspiring that they will be written about with reverence for centuries to come and, preferably, something that requires more than a first grade education to memorize. We could also toss in something about back bacon, Mr. Dressup, and probably the Summit Series in case those Commies start getting ideas again.
I’ll bet Ezra Levant could whip up something snappy.
Picture of woman in niqab courtesy Rana Assama under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode