News & Politics

Another Way Canada Is Far Ahead of the U.S. When It Comes to Promoting Equality

The Canadian national anthem is now gender-neutral.

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In another sign that Canada is miles ahead of the U.S. in the struggle for a more equitable democracy, the country’s legislators just voted to change the language of the Canadian national anthem to gender-neutral language.

The previous lyric was, “O Canada!/Our home and native land!/True patriot love in all thy sons command.” Now it will be changed to “True patriot love in all of us command.”

According to HuffPost, the change has been underway since 1980, when “O Canada” officially became the Canadian national anthem. Over the past 38 years, 12 bills have been introduced to replace the word “sons.”

The U.S. could learn a thing or two from Canadians’ willingness to update outmoded, embarrassing national symbols. Americans still sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at football games despite the song's racist history and overtones, and numerous city landscapes are marred by Confederate monuments that continue to stand.  

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist and proponent of women’s rights, said the change was “another positive step toward gender equality.” Compare this to the current American president, who falls far on the other side of the feminist spectrum. Trump has defunded health care for women and revoked an Obama-era mandate for equal pay. Considering the current political climate, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be following Canada’s nods to progress anytime soon.

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Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.