Friday, April 28, 2006

Holy Fucking Shit

Bush Says Anthem Should Be in English

This is a HUGE day. Why? Because I agree with George W. Bush, 100%, no reservations, about more than one thing. In addition to the increase in fuel efficency standards he called for (below), he said this afternoon that the national anthem should be in English, not Spanish, responding to the release of a Spanish-language version. I can't believe it, but I want to quote him in full:
"One of the things that's very important is, when we debate this issue, that we not lose our national soul," the president exclaimed. "One of the great things about America is that we've been able to take people from all walks of life bound as one nation under God. And that's the challenge ahead of us....I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."
I feel like a racist sometimes when I think such thoughts, but is English such a huge demand to make? It's the common language of the nation; whether you speak something else at home, everyone should be able to use it in public. (And should actually use it, rather than another language, when in earshot of others, but that's another argument.)

I also think that supporters of immigration reform that would benefit illegal immigrants are shooting themselves in the foot by releasing the anthem in Spanish. Fair-minded people may want to see immigrants treated better than they are right now, but that doesn't mean that they, or I, want to see radical changes to the nation as a result. The symbolism of singing the anthem in another language is the kind of thing that's likely to rile up anti-immigrant sentiment in even those with the most charitable view toward people who are, after all, in the country illegally.

Am I wrong to agree with Bush on this? Or is the idea of a Spanish-language version of the national anthem a bridge too far?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

But when it comes down to freedom of speech, is there a difference between saying what you want to say and saying it in whichever way you want?

In my mind, freedom of speech covers language, too.

Thoughts?

Richard said...

I'm not arguing that people can't sing the anthem in another language. People can say whatever they want, and that includes singing.

But if you want America to loosen its immigration laws, the best way to show that you're excited about becoming a citizen is NOT to show off how you've reworked our anthem in your native tongue. By coming here, immigrants are saying that America is a better place to live and work than the place from which they're coming. Americans are fine with that suggestion. But they're not going to be fine with the suggestion that people who come here should expect the national fabric to change to embrace things like a Spanish-language version of the anthem.

This sounds crazy, but I see this as a tipping point. For years we've all quietly accepted that we have to press one for English, or touch a button on the ATM screen for English, or choose an English-language ballot. These changes have slowly made Spanish more legitimate as a second American language. But I don't think people really want it that way, and I think the idea of a Spanish-language anthem will remind them of that.

Back to freedom of speech: You may be free to speak in whatever language you want, but you are not free to be understood. If you plan to live here for an extended period of time and to use government services as a result, you should learn English.

Again, this all makes me feel very cavemannish, but I don't want to live in a country that's English-optional.

Jonathan said...

I agree, but does this really matter? I do not think we are ever going to get to a point where it is sung in spanish in a public place.

Betty Rocker said...

I completely agree with how you feel and what you are saying. You are not racist for feeling this way. I'm a pretty laid back person politically, but the news of immigration lately really irritate me and when I heard about the Anthem being song in Spanish, I rolled my eyes and they are still rolling.

If you are going to live in this country, speak English. When you sing the anthem, you sing in English.

As for the illegal immigrants protesting and everyone defending them because "they take the jobs that most of us won't"...well, I really doubt that if the illegals were sent home, we'd have that much of a loss of crap jobs out there. Something tells me they aren't just out there for illegal immigrants and if they are, shame on us for hiring them. We'll live and adjust without them.

I don't think it's racist to say that everyone that comes into this country should come in by LEGAL means, I don't care how messed up the process is. Come in Legally, speak the english language.

People act like all of this is no big deal and don't see the issue, but what it is- is the start of something bigger to come. We are not Mexico. It's like people want to have our country and make it theirs and if there is an allowance for everything, there will be long term consequences. Give and inch, take a mile.