Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Harperocrisy at its best
When is the last time you were required to show photo identification to vote in a federal election? That’s right…never. When was the last time Canadians who send in an absentee ballot had to prove their identity in some visual way? Correct again…it’s not required. No one is required to match their face to identification documents.
So what then is the furor about removing the veil to vote? Is it possible that it is a politically-stirred pot that plays on some Canadians’ fears of those of the Muslim faith, or who are uncomfortable when they see a veiled woman?
A simple explanation is that for the good of democracy and the integrity of the voting system in Canada, every citizen must prove that they have a face. In fact, in the spirit of acceptance and generosity, the Prime Minister’s bill allows for Muslim women to ask to be taken behind a screen by another woman, to lift the veil. This will prove, of course, that she has a face.
I’m tempted to begin a movement in time for the next (possibly soon) election. I’d love to see thousands of fellow Canadians, men and women, show up at the polls with masks, veils, bandannas and other stylish face coverings. We could each demand the right to be seen in private to prove we have faces.
Pandering to prejudice is a cheap way to win votes. I believe most Canadians cannot be bought so easily.
On the OTHER hand, given my non-religious stance, it boggles my mind that we need to cater to anyone's religious dicatates when it comes to government policy.
Government and religion shouldn't be co-joined in any manner.
But that's just me.
(stepping off my soapbox rant)
I will separate my points here, because as you noted, I wasn't talking about wearing veils or not, but this particular voting thing.
Voting thing: the government has created this fuss in order to bring attention to Muslim women and to pander to fear and prejudice that they perceive will get them votes. Muslims haven't even raised this issue. I think this is wrong, particularly since visual identification is not required to vote (80,000 mail-in votes last election for eg).
Covering up thing: If someone wants to cover their face for any reason, it doesn't harm me or others and I don't believe the state has to get involved (same with diet, language, etc.)
The line to struggle with is when cultural behaviours harm others or are against basic human rights (which are enshrined in Canada). So forced marriage, sharia law and violence in the home are out, as examples.
Cultural sharing and understanding starts with people understanding each other as individuals, not generalizing about each others groups. If I want to know why a woman is veiled, I should ask her. When I have done that (and I have), the answer has always been because it's a personal choice for a range of reasons. It could be otherwise for some.
In Canada, there is no longer a 'Rome' when in to do as in. We are so multi-cultural that the idea that we are ex-Brits and ex-French people is quaint at best (especially in big cities). We're bigger, deeper and better now, although I'm not sure the original native people would agree with me on that :)
Bumper sticker I saw in Montana:
INDIANS HAD BAD IMMIGRATION LAWS
What is Canada's policy toward Basque Seperatists in berets.
Then we accept them fully to vote.
I am not the authority on this obviously. I have been 'tainted' by my saudi experience...
oops, gotta go, have visitors,
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