Are we a bilingual country or what!! Usually it’s some lower level functionary, but this morning the second most powerful person in the White House is speaking Spanish to America.
I feel so bad for my grandparents today. How is it that Roosevelt never gave one of his fireside chats in Yiddish? I mean, there were lots Jewish immigrants from the shtetls in the country at the time. I guess they had to learn English.
The translation is offered by President Obama, who served up the address in English. It includes this egregious little lecture:
We are only here because this country welcomed our forebears, and taught them that being American is about more than what we look like or where we come from. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.
The subtext of the first sentence is that those who oppose Obama on immigration do so out of racism. That conservatives don’t want a bunch of Latinos running around ruining white America, and we’ve got to remember, that “being American is about more than what we look like or where we come from.”
Thanks, Mr. President, I’ll try to stop being such a hater.
And then there’s the second line, about the American ideal “that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.”
Again, first let me express my appreciation for the reminder that others are my equal even though they be not white. It’s something I need reminding of as I immerse myself daily in the rapture of my superiority.
But I would in turn remind the president that this is not by itself “what makes us Americans.” This and lots of other things do, including love for the Constitution and for freedom, which implies an executive branch that doesn’t rule in the manner of King George III.
And while we are indeed “all created equal,” we are not all created in the same place, and this country cannot be an open door with a welcome mat for all our equals. And equal does not mean the same. If we flood this country too quickly with other cultures, we will lose our own.
The basis of culture is language. It’s the narrative for the culture.
This is not Latin America. Spanish is not co-equal with English here. There is Latin American culture within American culture, but the two are not equal. Latin American culture is wonderful, but American culture is better. That’s why they are coming here, and not the reverse.
And that’s why there should be one weekly White House address, spoken in the language of our culture.