Before I get into the real material of this post, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate 50 blog posts. How am I doing so far? Is there anything else you want me to talk about? What are your general comments? Make all suggestions as comments for this post.
A bunch of news agencies have reported that a national Swiss initiative to ban minarets has passed. (A minaret is a spire-like structure on a mosque.)
For those of you who don't remember from civics class, an initiative is a law written by citizens and put to a vote with a certain number of signatures (in Switzerland, 100000) collected. A referendum is a law created by the legislature and put to a popular vote.
This is truly sad.
I almost always support expressions of near-direct democracy like initiatives and referenda. They are good ways of keeping people involved with the laws that may soon affect their lives.
However, this is really sad. The large number of people who voted for the initiative couldn't give a single reason why they did; it wasn't because of aesthetics, air traffic issues, or other utilitarian problems.
It was just simple bigotry.
Oh, and the title? Note that Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player, while Sania Mirza is a Muslim Indian tennis player. With their international fame, both would do well to raise awareness of and combat this situation.
[UPDATE: Wow, how could I have missed that one after going over it so thoroughly? This "initiative" (as I originally thought) is actually a referendum introduced by the legislature. Sorry about that!]