Oxymoron of the Day: Modernizing the Monarchy
Oct 13, 2011

Oxymoron of the Day: Modernizing the Monarchy

The UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, wants to modernize the monarchy. In our modern day and age, you see, the practice of preferentially selecting male over female heirs is the wrong symbol and really ought to be changed so first born daughters can become Queen without being skipped over in favour of their younger brothers. Nevermind that we are keeping the rest of the monarchy and its anti-democratic, anti-humanist and anti-secular symbols of total autocratic rule through hereditary succession of a head of state, who is also the head of a church based on the family values of Henry VIII, to whom we must all submit ourselves to in reverent fealty. Okay, so only new immigrants have to do the last bit in the Oath of Citizenship, natural born Canadians like myself can get away without such explicit prostrations.

I suppose I have to support this because first male hereditary succession is just that little bit more antiquated and barbaric than first child hereditary succession. I would likewise also be forced to support a bill that made it illegal to shoot homosexuals, but would much rather amend the constitution to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation; that is, something actually appropriate in its symbols and consequences to our current times.

Harper, as is his custom, manages to slip in a lovely little rhetorical device. He supports this, but "does not want to spend a lot of time in the Canadian Parliament debating this as “the government is focused on creating jobs and growth in the economy."" Where was this unilateral focus on jobs and the economy when worrying about reattaching the word "royal" to the various Canadian military institutions, placing large and prominent pictures of the Queen in all Canadian foreign embassies and certain buildings in Canada, and spending millions commemorating the war of 1812 fought when Canada was a British colony?

Unfortunately, this rhetoric works. By constantly repeating in any and every possible situtation how they are oh so very serious about the economy the meme that Harper is a good steward of the economy spreads. That Harper has consistently been a devout monarchist, repeatedly pushing monarchist issues, doesn't seem to prevent him from throwing in one more quip about his focus on the economy.

People might think that this whole business is fairly inconsequential and the above silliness over what things symbolizes doesn't matter that much. I had a professor, one of Canada's leading researchers in mathematics, who had spent considerable portions of his life in all three of Canada, the United States and Israel. He said that were it not for the Oath of Citizenship, what it said and what it meant, he would likely have become a Canadian citizen. It is a small anecdote, but one that demonstrates how these things make real differences in the lives of people.

Canada ought to be a republic, without a monarchy and all that it symbolizes and with a constitution that is actually ratified by all its people (and not excluding a province like Quebec). If it takes a few minutes off from Harper's allegedly continual focus on the economy for an opposition parliamentarian to say this, then so be it. 

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1 comment:

ck said...

This is just one of the reasons why I am anti-monarchist--because it is so sexist and antiquated.

I also have a whole host of other reasons. What can I say? I'm a Quebec 'soft' nationalist and progressive who also is also republican. That's republican, not Rethuglican.

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