Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Voting Against Fear
Last night Naheed Nenshi, the mayor of Calgary, spoke on CBC television during the Canadian federal election coverage. During the campaign Nenshi had been outspoken in his criticism of the niqab debate and what were essentially the politics of fear. He offered that the past three months have not been Canada's finest hour, and I would agree. There was too much veiled racism and Islamophobia, from my perspective, and the final blow was the announcement about a snitch line for "barbaric cultural practices." Someone suggested along the way that this sort of communist regime ratting out of neighbours would itself be a barbaric cultural practice.
Nenshi is a very popular mayor in a province that is still a Conservative stronghold. He is brown, South Asian in background, although his family emigrated from Tanzania. Oh yes, he is Muslim. I love listening to the guy, and figured many Torontonians had mayor envy when Rob Ford was marauding his way through office. To me Nenshi is the best of what can happen in this country when we are open and welcoming.
On Thanksgiving Sunday the passage from the prophet Joel declared "do not fear!" and I said that fear-mongering in politics has become too common and is not what we should support as Christians. I also observed that all the parties engage in fear politics now, and Nenshi mentioned the same dismal trend.
I feel that the results of the election indicate that Canadians do not want a government which appeals to our worst instincts. Sure, there are plenty of us who get caught up in the "us and them" of class and race and religion, but surely this is not who we want to be as a democratic nation. Those of us who are the followers of Christ are also called to a higher way.