Nancy Holten, 42, is a liberal Dutch vegan and animal rights activist. This week, her neighbors refused to grant her a passport simply because she was too annoying.
Under Swiss law, citizenship is granted by towns and regions rather than by the central government. Residents of Gipf-Oberfrick voted 206 to 144 to reject Nancy’s application for citizenship despite the fact that she speaks fluent Swiss and has lived in the country since she was a child.
Tanja Suter, a local politician, says Nancy has a “big mouth.” She does not deserve a passport “if she irritates us and does not respect our traditions.”
Nancy has aggressively pushed to do away with cowbells – a Swiss tradition – because the sound they make “is comparable with a pneumatic drill.”
“The bells…are especially heavy” and can cause “friction and burns” on a cow’s neck, she says.
Nancy has also campaigned against pig racing, hunting, and loud church bells. “I think I spoke my mind too often, and I say it out too loud,” admits Nancy.
This week’s vote is the second time Nancy’s passport application has been rejected. The case will move up to the regional government, which has the ability to overrule the vote.
Switzerland has some of the most stringent citizenship laws in the world, and being born there does not always grant children of immigrants the right to a Swiss passport.
I would like to link Nancy’s story to America’s current immigration challenge.
In Switzerland, locals have the ability to reject a person’s citizenship just because he or she does something they don’t like. In this case, she challenged several Swiss traditions. If there are people doing things that annoy or offend us – like enslaving women and supporting radicals – why should we let them live here?
Racism is when you dislike someone strictly because of his or her race. Nancy wasn’t rejected because of her Dutch heritage, but because of her annoying behavior.
Practicing religion in a way that is against our laws and constitution is also a behavior, so should we not have the right to close our doors to people who act in this way?
Editor’s note: The point is it is our country, we don’t have to let people in if we don’t want to.