The national anthem should be sung in English - not Spanish - President Bush declared today, amid growing restlessness over the millions of immigrants here illegally…. When the president was asked at a Rose Garden question-and-answer session whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish, he replied: “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.”
When I first read this story, I was stunned by the sheer ignorance and insensitivity of it. That Ithe (sort of) elected leader of our nation would smack down those who would DARE to sing the Star-Spangled Banner in a language other than English was an act more laden with ignorance and arrogance that even I might have imagined possible.
You would think that any American would be honored by a rendition of our National Anthem, a song designed to honor our Homeland, regardless of the language it is performed in. Sadly, in this day and age, even something as normally benign as the Star-Spangled Banner carries political baggage. That there is no good reason for this to be the case seems to be lost on those involved in the national argument over immigration.
Somehow lost in this argument is the reality that this is a nation founded and built to greatness by immigrants. I don’t think that any reasonable person would argue with the idea that illegal immigration is not a good thing, but the problem continues because there is a market for the services provided by illegal immigrants. Until and unless political leaders in thiis country address this reality, the problem will continue.
How bad have things become? So bad that people on both sides of this argument are hung up on a song. To say that this is beyond silly doesn’t begin to do justice to the rhetoric and overheated emotions in play here. Instead of making a meaningful effort to resolve this issue in a bipartisan manner, we’re arguing over which language a song such be sung in. Welcome to America in the 21st century- the descendants of immigrants arguing over the symbolism of the immigration issue. Is it any wonder that this country has it’s collective panties in a wad?
MIAMI (AP) - British music producer Adam Kidron says that when he came up with the idea of a Spanish-language version of the U.S. national anthem, he saw it as an ode to the millions of immigrants seeking a better life.
But in the week since Kidron announced the song - which features artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon - it has been the target of a fierce backlash.
Some Internet bloggers and others are infuriated by the thought of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung in a language other than English.
“Would the French accept people singing the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not,” said Mark Krikorian, head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls.
Why is it that these folks are choosing to view the performance of our National Anthem in a language other then English as an insult? Why cannot it not be seen as a celebration of all that makes this country what it is? Being that this is a nation built by immigrants, we should be able to celebrate the cultural differences that come together to make America what it is today. Instead, it seems that far too many folks have chosen to forget their own heritage. In doing so, they seem to have assumed an attitude notable primarily for it’s lack of charity and consideration for those looking to make a better life…much as their own ancestors no doubt once were.
This is the sort of attitude that makes the Minuteklan Project so appealing to so many on the Right. It’s what makes so many of these folks advocate for the building of a fence along the entire US-Mexico border- all while the US-Canada border remains the longest undefended border in the world. Let’s be honest here; this is about keeping out brown people, pure and simple. We want them to build our houses and roads, collect our garbage, and mow our lawns- and then we want them to disappear. The sooner those on the Right admit to this reality, the sooner we can get on with trying to solve this problem in a fair and humane manner. As long as these folks pretend to be concerned about security and terrorism, we will never be able to solve the dilemma that is illegal immigration. That fact that these folks have their knickers in a twist over a song doesn’t bode well for finding common ground any time soon.