Law School Discussion

For the National Anthem in Spanish!


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For the National Anthem in Spanish!
« on: August 18, 2006, 04:54:53 PM »
Rather than cutting and pasting something I received as a bulletin that compelled me to share it with my friends, I've decided to write my own bulletin as a response to it.

This particular bulletin, entitled "enuf is enuf!!" which I'm sure many of you have already received, is an impassioned patriotic plea forbid the singing of the national anthem in Spanish *gasp*! It goes on to explain that this sentiment is not held out of malice towards immigrants, however it does make clear that the author, as well as those reposting it, insist upon immigrants learning the English language. For them the desicration of our proud national anthem was, apparently, the last straw.

Well the author and those circulating this chain bulletin are correct. Enough is enough and I've had enough. For starters, I've had enough of inconsistency and hypocracy. This is including, but is not limited to, heart-felt pleas to protect the sanctity and dignity of our country and language when the argument comes from those who can't, or won't, correctly spell their titles, who insist upon using multiple exclamation points to express themselves, and who fill their posts with entire phrases written in all capital letters. The English language is clearly nothing less than sacred to these people.

I've also had enough of patriotism being used to mask other motives. Patriotism is at an all time high, in our lifetimes. This is not a bad thing. What is unfortunate is how patriotism frequently travels in the same cart as bandwagon nationalism. If spanish-speaking Americans want to sing our national anthem in spanish then more power to them. After all, their song is a tribute to the United States. A tribute, perhaps, made more meaningful by the fact that it is done in a language that they have a deeper understanding of and which comes naturally from their hearts. For goodness sake, if our great Constitution and country support the right for the citizens of the United States to burn the American flag and sell T-shirts calling for the destruction of this government and its officials, then why can't people sing praise to the U.S. in a foreign tongue? In this day and age when it is so rare to hear our nation being honored outside of the English speaking world shouldn't we consider this an honor and blessing?

So if honoring the USA or the English language isn't what spreads this kind of dribble then what is it?  Its plain and simple intolerance. Now, before anyone jumps the gun here its important to understand that intolerance isn't necessarily hatred, racism, prejudice, or any of those other big nasties. Though it can be, intolerance means simply a lack of consideration for another's point of view. This is starkly disturbing when that other point of view is harmless and moreso if it is well intentioned. I know that in today's world it isn't popular to be sensitive to the concerns of other and political correctness is little more than a quaint and illogical tradition. All that stuff was a liberal 90's thing, right? They seemed important before we realized how dangerous the world we live in is and now they need to be put away with all the other childish nonsense from that way of thinking. Well that's just bullsh*t!

People should care about what other people thinking and stop running around like a bunch of vigilantes who's only concern is for their own thoughts and whims. Other people have thoughts and feelings too and, you know what, some of them are more important thans yours. There is room in the this country for two languages, heck there's room for 336. That's the number of languages spoken in America today. Out of all those languages English is spoken by 82% of Americans. So go ahead and divide the remaining 18% between the 335 non-English languages and tell me if you still feel threatened. Oh, by the way, that 82% is on the rise. This is largely due to the fact that almost 3/4 of Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans speak English and they're kids are learning it from them and from our schools.

A multilingual America has countless benefits. First of all, studies have, without exception, shown that people who speak more than one language are smarter, more well rounded, and have a higher earning potential. Our fellow citizens that speak non-English languages not only function better personally, but bring countless resources to the benefit of our country and communities. Regions with a greater density of non-English speakers attract more businesses in terms of both numbers and diversity. Beyond that, any travel guide will tell you that they're also rated as more entertaining due to the vast amounts of cultural exhibitions and events. Multilingual Americans benefit this country by making international trade and negotiations more feasible and by making the US a prime target for international business that don't specifically appeal to the typical American market. They also benefit America by showing the world that we aren't quite so self-centered as we are believed to be. For over a century, we have expected other nations to appease us and learn our language in their dealings with us and our citizens, perhaps its time to be a good neighbor. Finally, lets face it, English is not the native language of this hemisphere. It's use is foreign and, in fact, it isn't the most widespread on this half of the globe. Its easy to assume that everyone speaks English when you live in America, but there's more to the Americas than the US and Canada. Why on Earth should we push against the prevalent language continentally south of us? There is a lot of south and a lot of people we should be trying to become closer to.

We have much bigger problems than Americans who don't speak English at the grocer or who want to politically participate in another language. Maybe the people worried about this sort of thing should make sure that they know all the words to the national anthem because over 1/3 of Americans don't know its name (Star-Spangled Banner), over 2/3 don't know its author (Francis Scott Key, and almost 2/3 can't sing it from memory. So everyone out there who is offended by the singing of the national anthem in Spanish (and that especially applies to the vast majority of you who fall into one or more of the above mentioned percentages) grow up and focus on your own short comings. We are one country and most of us are proud of it. How about we start acting like it and supporting anyone who is appreciates our nation's greatness. How about we start looking inside before pointing fingers. How about we appreciate what others add to our lives instead of lamenting how they complicate and challenge it. Finally, how about we stand by our fellow Americans, all of them, and focus our efforts towards our true enemies; those who don't seek to praise us with exotic tongues, but who seek to destroy us from foreign soils.