Monday, May 01, 2006

Vive Los Estados Unidos!

Happy May Day/International Worker's Day/A Day Without Immigrants/Great American Boycott/El Gran Paro Americano! In celebration, I hope you are protesting the Bush's immigration reform (or just Bush in general).

Specifically, I hope you are taking the streets to protest H.R. 4437, a House Bill that is currently under discussion in the U.S. Senate. This bill would classify illegal aliens as felons, as well as those who help them by giving them basic food, water and shelter. This distinction, my legal counsel tells me, would group illegal immigrants and their Harriet Tubman helpers with murderers and rapists. Does that make sense to you? Was Harriet Tubman a rapist?

More to the point - I hope you also listen to "Nuestro Himno" - Our (new national) Anthem. Learn it. It might do you good to think outside your SUV.

It's the latest take on the Star Spangeled Banner causing quite a stir amongst our non-spanish speaking population (did conservative housewives get their panties in this big of a bunch over Jimi Hendrix's version?). Apparently, they feel threatened because they haven't yet learned the song in English and now they're saddled with another version that their maids can now understand.

Damn! Rosa might now crack the Da Vinci code we've gotten hidden in the words!

People. Get a grip. It's a song. Shouldn't it inspire awe, love, gratitude and patriotism in any language?

Let freedom ring - in English, Spanish or Kiswahili for all I care.



nate-nate-bo-bate said...

I personally think that anyone who isn't the same skin color as myself should leave. That includes you, too, Native Americans! Being here first doesn't excuse you from my rabid anglo-centrism!
If the mexicans are going to stay, it should be under a indentured servant-type statute, so as to help the average american farmer. That way we can cut back on some of those farm subsidies. It's the only way that they should be able to stay on this side of the 50ft electrical fence that we should erect over the entire border, preferably in the middle of the Rio Grande, so that the river can wash the remnants away.

I'm kidding. Jesus, am I kidding.

I've been watching protest marches go by my office for the past few weeks. People in Portland love to protest just about anything, and they definately have my support on this occasion. Most occasions, actually, but especially on this one.
I know a few illegals myself. They're some of the hardest working, most honest, hearty people I know. If anything, they embody the american ideal more than most of us do (aside from the "illegal" part). I'd hate to see them classified as felons, it'd be a travesty.

On the whole "spanish-language national anthem" thing, I'm not so sure about that. Of course it should be translated into other common languages, it's just a song, after all.

But on the wider-ranging statement of "you don't have to speak english to be here" thing, I'm kind of split.
I think that we should all have to learn language more growing up. I'd love to be bi- or even tri-lingual. I know that I'd feel more like a citizen of the world if I was, a little more in touch with other cultures and such. But our national language "is" english. You should have to at least have a grasp on the language if you're going to call this place home. Just like I think that if you're going to spend any signifigant time in another country, you should at least make the attempt to learn the basics of their language.
I'm starting to bone up on my Norsk and Spanish and Sara is working on her French and Italian in preparation for our trip to Europe next summer. It's a common curtosy, in my mind.

So, I think you should be able to sing our national anthem in pig latin if it makes you happy. It's a meaningless symbol that no one knows the words to anymore anyway. But if you plan on staying here long-term, make plans to take a n ESL (English as a Second Langauge) course. The three friends I have that are Hispanic and Latino (there IS a difference, and they get pissy if you fuck it up) have taken ESL classes and over the course of a few months went from barely speaking any english to being able to carry on lengthy conversations with little difficulty. Meanwhile, I just felt stupid, an ugly american unable to converse with them in anything but my native tounge and a few choice phrases, "Que pasa Calabasa?", "Donde ir al bano?" "Yo tengo montequilla en mis pantalones!"

Mtanga said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mtanga said...

Dude, that whole thing was worth it just to read you say "I'd love to be bi..."

tee hee!

Nice to see you in my blog!

nate-nate-bo-bate said...

Wow. I rant for what seems like forever and out of all the things that I say, you pick one thing out of context and giggle at my expense.

I knew I missed something about you, Meredith, thanks for helping me put my finger on it(don't you DARE giggle at that statement). Irreverence is a quality that only grows finer with age. Nice to see yours has aged nicely.

If I hadn't said so already, it's nice to hear from you and see that you're doing well.

I don't mean that in a sarcastic way.

Talk to you soon.


Megan said...

Nathan: Longest. Comment. Ever.
Meredith: You had to work hard for that giggle. Nicely done!
Nathan: Okay, I'm reeeally hoping your reponse is totally genuine and that you really do appreciate Meredith's irreverence. Because frankly, sometimes it's the only thing that gets me through the day. Put me at ease, here.

But in other news: I'm a citizen of the world! Parlo italiano, bitches!

nate-nate-bo-bate said...

Be at ease.
Contrary to popular belief, Nate can express an opinion or statement without using sarcasm.
Also, in case no one had bothered to notice, the last phrase that I posted "Yo tengo montequilla en mis pantalones." is spanish for "I have butter in my pants." Now who's the citizen of the world? Probably still you, Meg, I suppose, since I have yet to venture out of the country...even though I am planning a trip for Sara and I's fifth wedding anniversary next year.
Five I feel old.