Who Should Decide Citizenship?

In Switzerland, citizenship applications for people residing in small villages or townships tend to be judged not by the federal authorities but by local communities. If you are, say, an immigrant who lives in a small village, the inhabitants of the village can choose not to grant you citizenship if they feel that you are not being respectful of local customs and traditions. Even if you fulfill all formal requirements for citizenship, your application will still be denied if your neighbors don’t want you. 

This happened, for instance, to a woman called Nancy Holten who has been refused citizenship twice because she angered her community of Gipf-Oberfrick with attacks on cherished local traditions. Holten is one of those loud weirdos who tend to drive everybody round the bend with their eccentricities. Should she be denied citizenship, though?

What say you, readers? Who’s in the right, Holten or the angry villagers?

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The Part I Don’t Like

“As a union rep, try not to be judgmental,” the workshop presenter said. “Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t condemn people for not being exactly like you, don’t interrupt or become aggressive. Try to speak less and listen more.”

At which point I realized this is not a job for me. The part where I speak loudly, swear and denigrate people’s intellectual ability I’m good for. I’ll be a total overachiever. But the rest? I’m useless. 

Su llama

I know that all our lives should be dedicated to the sacred goal of raising enrollments but I’m convinced that the honest and decent thing to do is to tell some students that they should drop Spanish as their major and go do something that they actually care about.

A good indicator is that if you have gotten to the fourth (and last) year in your major and you still don’t know how to say “His name is Pedro” in Spanish, then this is not a program for you. Everybody who cares even a tiny little bit about Spanish has already found an opportunity to discover that it’s “Se llama Pedro” and not “Su llama es Pedro.”

I get it why people end up in STEM in spite of having zero interest in STEM. They have heard that untold riches await them at the end of the road, so they are suffering it out. But Spanish? In our region that is totally bereft of Hispanics? If you’ve got no love for it, then what can it possibly be that makes you do it? If you’ve got to suffer, then go into dentistry. There’s a chance of getting paid for the pain, at least.

Never ceases to amaze me.