Thursday, May 18, 2006

Will Immigration Destroy the Republican Party?

I hope so. Particularly the Republican party that feels it necessary to mandate that the National Anthem be sung in English.

Let's trace this back.

At some of the immigration rallies a few months ago, the Hispanic community was accused of being insufficiently in love with America by virtue of the fact that they waved Mexican Flags.

Then they waved American Flags and were accused of insincerity. Somewhere in the middle of this people got annoyed that they were singing the National Anthem in Spanish.

Now I could understand if it were badly translated. Say if they rendered "Oh Say can you see by the dawns early light" as "Oh say can you see how America sucks." You'd have a point then. But nobody seems to be claiming that. So the problem is simply that it is offensive to hear the National Anthem sung in a language other than our beloved English.

I wonder how such people feel about our deaf Citizens signing the National Anthem. Or how they would feel about translating the National Anthem into, say, Cherokee.

Our President is on both sides of this issue, naturally enough. Being an insincere flip flopper he told reporters that he thinks it should only be sung in English, while during his campaigning among Latino voters he sang it in Spanish.

Anyway Congress is on the case and soon it might be illegal to sing the National Anthem in any language other than English.

I want to be very clear here. There are valid concerns with illegal immigration and with helping immigrants assimilate to American Culture (part of which is, like it or not, learning English). This particular issue, however, is steeped in racism and ethnic bigotry.

Hispanic people are never going to actually be "White" enough to please the sort of people who get all tense over the national anthem being sung in Spanish.

Frankly there's a valid reason why one might want to allow people to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - it will mean more to them.

I speak French fluidly (which is a lot like fluently, so long as no actual French people are around), and I can say that the French language does not have the power to hit me as hard as the English language. It's the translation problem - when I hear English words the meaning goes straight through. When I hear French words, they go through slowly, hitting a few road blocks along the way. So that by the time they reach comprehension, a lot of the power has gone out of them.

A person who speaks Spanish will feel the meaning of the National Anthem more powerfully if allowed to sing it in their own language. So we should allow them to do that.

If you are feeling transgressive, perhaps you would like to sing the National Anthem in Spanish? Here are several versions of it, provided by our State Department.

More to come, as we review Ann Coulter's opinions on how we should deal with Illegal Immigration.

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