Saturday, April 29, 2006


Bush: American First!

There’s a certain irony in having George Bush define patriotic behavior—in this case, the correct language to use while singing the National Anthem, considering his craven abandoning of his duties while in the National Guard.

I have family and friends who have lived within the borders of the United States since before it was the United States. Some speak Spanish; their ancestors have lived here since the 16th Century and they continue to speak Spanish. Others have been here since before even the Spaniards arrived, long before the times when Europeans landed here with swords, guns and Bibles and declared themselves as the True Americans.

The nerve of Euro-Americans to claim the right to determine who can be an “American” is beyond reason: it’s simple racist jingoism. Whatever the President learned about patriotism he did by reading crib sheets before—or during—school exams.

The New York Times

April 29, 2006
Bush Enters Anthem Fight on Language

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."

Mr. Bush has tried to occupy a middle ground in the raging debate over immigration, supporting legislation that would grant immigrant workers temporary legal status and perhaps a path to citizenship, while pushing for immigrants to learn English also pressing for more steps to stop the flow of newcomers over the border. But his statement about the anthem was taken by members of both parties as a clear signal to conservatives that he stood with them on what many of them see as a clash between national identity and multiculturalism.


The anthem has fed into a backlash on talk radio, the Internet, cable television and Capitol Hill, with conservatives complaining that it was encouraging the very cultural balkanization that they have feared all along.

Mr. Bush's comments were striking for a president who has embraced Spanish in his political life. Mr. Bush grew up in Midland, Tex., alongside Spanish-speaking children. As a politician who became governor and ran for president aiming to build a broader Republican coalition, he seized every chance to win over the fast-growing Hispanic population.

"He recognized that Texas was rapidly becoming a state that would have more Hispanics and more African-Americans than it would Anglos," said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, who plans to introduce a resolution on Monday "to remind the country" why the national anthem should be always sung in English.

Mr. Bush took aim at Hispanics as an important voting bloc during the last two president campaigns. Mr. Bush has starred in his own Spanish-language advertising, and he was the first president to give his weekly radio address in Spanish. (The Spanish wire service Agencia EFE once said he spoke the language poorly, "but with great confidence.")

Mr. Bush ventured into a little Spanish on Friday, using the Spanish pronunciation for the smugglers known as "coyotes" while outlining the need for stricter border enforcement.

Democrats and Republicans alike said Mr. Bush seemed to be making clear to conservatives — for the grassroots and for those in Congress opposing guest worker and citizenship provisions in the immigration legislation — that there were limits to his support for the pro-immigration agenda. Should the Senate pass immigration legislation this year that creates a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for some workers in the United States illegally — provisions that most conservatives oppose — Mr. Bush would play a main role in working on a deal with the House, which has passed a bill that addresses just border security.

White House officials said Mr. Bush was not being politically calculating and has always believed that new immigrants should embrace the national language and culture.

Mr. Bush made his comments in a wide-ranging session with reporters in which he also said he opposed calls for a windfall-profits tax on oil companies.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?