Friday, April 28, 2006

Bush Says Anthem Should Be Sung in English et al

Bush Says Anthem Should Be Sung in English - Washington Post

President Wants Anthem Sung in English - Washington Post

Impatient Senators Target Borders, Anthem - Washington Post

Hispanic leadership has done a tremendous job marshalling support for immigration reform that recognizes the contribution this group is making to the on-going success of the country. The rallies of the past months have rightly pushed the critical issue to the forefront in Washington.

However, like all movements, it is important not only to make the right moves, when called upon, but also to recognize bad ones, and avoid them if possible. Singing the national anthem in Spanish is patently a bad move.

Hispanics must learn, as Blacks are still learning, that the quest for gaining equality of citizenship and opportunity is different than a ‘grab’ for majority influence. Suggesting to anyone how to sing the country’s song, via recording it differently, is making an end-run challenge to democracy for no good reason. If our anthem was ever to change, there is a constitutional process that dictates how this must occur, and that process must be respected.

From a practical standpoint, one language, in this case, English, is a unifying foundation for the country’s advancement. There are evolutionary rules of progress that time has proven are not easily rewritten. A quick trip to French-speaking Quebec is all anyone needs to see the divisive impact of a second language on Canada.

I attended an event earlier this year on the MLK holiday, where our popular Hispanic city council president and mayoral candidate recited a famous King speech, entirely in Spanish, to a largely Black and White audience. While King’s words sounded beautiful in Spanish, only the Hispanics in the audience had any idea what he was saying. Symbolism aside, it was a bad move.

I hope Hispanics do not let this become a big issue, thereby distracting their leadership toward responsive immigration policy.

James C. Collier


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