Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Why The Anthem Is Bad Politics

I think this anthem revision proposal is a case of to clever by half. The motivation seems to be some superficial play towards female voters, which remain somewhat elusive. That massive generalization aside, this "gender neutral" argument is already being exposed for what it is, namely a poorly conceived gimmick.

In trying to distract attention, the Conservatives seem to have unwillingly distracted from a serious tone. The Liberals nimbly seized on this anthem revision as evidence of symbolism over substance. Throw in another beauty, Senior's Day, and you present a case of government more interested in optics than actually addressing the issue. The argument can go further, to an insulting reaction, wherein certain subsets are assumed easily impressed or swayed. More woman voters will be drawn to the Conservative cause, not because of real gender equality policies and issues, but because a word was changed, that nobody frankly cared about in the first place. Taken a step further, I can assure you that the cadre of anthem activists- if they even exist- aren't your prototypical Conservative target voter. In other words, there is no real audience for this initiative, and you really risk alienating with pat on the head exercises. Where's the beef, so to speak, is the obvious end game.

The government positioned this throne speech as evidence of the recalibration they needed. Nobody really bought that argument in the first place, but that's the frame the Conservatives held to, and everything is judged within that marker. To then offer relative nothingness, the most trivial of "ideas", makes a mockery of the whole process. It's almost as though the government had to MUCH time on its hands, that they concocted this crap as meaningful. Worse, by drawing attention to the anthem, the government has undercut their own sober message on the economy.

What are people talking about, what has enjoyed wildly disporportionate attention? The sad part, people in the PMO probably thought it shrewd to put the shiny objects, in the window, when in fact they've overshadowed their own economic thesis, while concurrently opening up an effective attack line for your opponent. This idea showed absolutely ZERO foresight, because you already see the can of worms, plus you don't appear serious.

We have a record deficit, a jobless recovery, problems with pensions, problems with productivity, etc, etc, and you give us a changed anthem. A job well done PMO, yes everyone is distracted with your surprise, but for all the wrong reasons. Gender neutral is turning into a net negative.

10 comments:

17 said...

If they are going to change this (which really isn't that bad of an idea), then they take the religion out of the anthem as well. I've always thought "God keep our land" could be changed easily to "Let's keep our land." The Conservatives wouldn't want to do this, however, as it would alienate half of their base.

alterwords said...

As a result of conversations I've had in the last few hours, I've come to the conclusion that this anthem business also provides Harper with an interesting wedge issue between men and woman and even some women and women among Liberals and NDP faithful. Some are reverting to old-time sexist observations like "mankind" equals women as well as men so "sons" includes women too. I'm trying not to bang my head on the keyboard. If it doesn't matter much - and I do agree with that - then change it so it's inclusive. How much trouble can that be?

Steve V said...

I think it's actually pretty condescending to believe you can create a wedge over the most trivial of considerations. Again, this conversation always leads to a discussion on substance, the government has none, hence they look opportunistic and unfocused.

17

You've articulated part of the reason this changes will never occur. I suspect the PMO is already putting this idea in a back file and hope it goes away.

Rotterdam said...

Keep the anthem as is.

sassy said...

Oh look - bright shiny song ;(

RuralSandi said...

Wedge issue? I think it's a "diversionary" issue. What is everyone talking about - the anthem.

Steve V said...

This proposal is turning into an unmitigated public relations DISASTER for the government. Plenty of blowback, even Peter MacKay resists the change. Charles Adler is worried about important issues, not trivial gimmicks. This idea is rightly blowing up in their faces!! Even the base is offside.

Tof KW said...

”This idea is rightly blowing up in their faces!! Even the base is offside.”

Of course it is, because one of the primary things about being a conservative is to resist changes to traditional symbols of state, especially when it is just to appease for political correctness and political gain. Heck this was why the Chief was against replacing the Union Jack with the Maple Leaf. But then the Conservatives aren’t really conservatives anymore anyhow, so why expect them to conserve traditions?

Anyong said...

What is really interesting is the fact that "sons" will be changed to "thou"!! Don't most people who believe in God think God is male? Don't religious denominations say God is male?

Brammer said...

Okay, this deserves a comment of real depth and substance. If we go back to the beginning...ooh look, a shiny object...