I’m sorry but …

… the Spanish version of the US national anthem sucks.

Even though I’m not on board with the immmigration plan that the President supports (the Senate version), I’m glad he’s come out in support of singing the national anthem in ENGLISH, not Spanish:

WASHINGTON, April 28—President Bush has never been shy about speaking Spanish in public, and he is known to love all kinds of music: country, folk and even Tex-Mex style rock. But one thing you will not find on his iPod: “Nuestro Himno,” the new Spanish version of the national anthem that was released on Friday as part of the growing immigrants’ rights movement.

Asked at a news briefing in the Rose Garden on Friday whether he believed the anthem would have the same value in Spanish as it did in English, Mr. Bush said flatly, “No, I don’t.”

“And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English,” Mr. Bush said. “And they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”


Of course, had this country made it clear from the start of the Mexican immigration wave that English was going to be the official language here, that you had to learn English in order to attend school and work and live here, rather than caving in to multiculturalists, then maybe we wouldn’t be in the position we are today.

Vivek Krishnamurthy, blogging over at my friend Michael J.W. Sticking’s “Reaction” blog gets it wrong by labelling a fondness for the national anthem to be sang in English as an example of “xenophobia”:

One of the most distressing aspects of the debate raging in the United States right now over immigration is the mildly xenophobic tone that some of the principals (who should know better) have been starting to take. Such as President George W. Bush. This afternoon, his eminence weighed into the blazing row over the Spanish version of The Star Spangled Banner being recorded by a number of top Latin pop artists, stating in typical monosyllables that he thinks “people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English. And they ought to learn to sing the anthem in English.”

Perhaps they should learn English, but what’s so wrong about bringing the national anthem to the people, in whatever language they speak? Since when did America become an ethnic nation defined in terms of a dominant linguistic group, rather than a land built on the grand ideas of freedom and liberty? (After all, the Founding Fathers toyed with the idea of making German the official language so that the linguistic memory of English tyranny would be erased from the young nation.)

That’s not accurate, as this page makes clear:

Claim: A proposal to make German the official language of the United States of America was defeated in Congress by one vote.

Status: False.

Origins: Legend has it that in 1795 a bill to establish German as the official language of the fledgling United States of America was defeated in Congress by a single vote. There never was such a vote; indeed, there wasn’t any such bill, either. A proposal before Congress in 1795 merely recommended the printing of federal laws in German as well as English, and no bill was ever actually voted upon.

This most famous of language legends began when a group of German-Americans from Augusta, Virginia, petitioned Congress, and in response to their petition a House committee recommended publishing three thousand sets of laws in German and distributing them to the states (with copies of statutes printed in English as well). The House debated this proposal on 13 January 1795 without reaching a decision, and a vote to adjourn and consider the recommendation at a later date was defeated by one vote, 42 to 41. There was no vote on an actual bill, merely a vote on whether or not to adjourn. Because the motion to adjourn did not pass, the matter was dropped. It was from this roll call on adjournment that the “German missed becoming the official language of the USA by one vote” legend sprang.

The House debated translating federal statutes into German again on 16 February 1795, but the final result was the approval of a bill to publish existing and future federal statutes in English only. This bill was approved by the Senate as well and signed into law by President George Washington a month later. The legend lives on, though, presented a vivid lesson that the foundations of our world aren’t always as solid as we think.

Throughout the history of this great country, what has been the predominant language has everyone here spoken? English. This is very simple, and has nothing to do with xenophobia. If I want to live and work in France, I will learn the French language. If I want to become a loyal citizen of France, I will learn their national anthem in their language. If people want to be educated, work, and become citizens of this country, they need to learn English. It’s not about xenophobia – it’s about taking pride in the history and heritage of your country, something that the anti-strong immigration laws crowd wants to lecture everyone else about in terms of hoisting thte Mexican flag, but who in theory seems to understand very little about.

I won’t live, work, and become a citizen of Mexico without learning their language. Mexicans, in turn, who want to do the same here should have to dothe same. We should require it.

To those who are trying to make this into a debate about xenophobia, I encourage you to abandon that line of argument. Because that’s not what the debate on English as the official language and the larger issue of wanting something done about the illegal immigration problem in this country is all about.

Related Toldjah So posts:

Comments are closed.