Now the "Star Spangled Banner" has been translated into Spanish. The producer of the translation, Adam Kidron, argues that now the anthem appeals to a larger immigrant audience:
“The intention of recording ’Nuestro Himno’ (’Our Anthem’) has never been to discourage immigrants from learning English and embracing American culture,” Kidron said. “We instead view ’Nuestro Himno’ as a song that affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language, the opportunity to fully understand the character of ’The Star Spangled Banner,’ the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent.”
I say it's great that he wants everyone to learn about the ideals of America. However, there are plenty of other ways of achieving that goal. Creating an alternative national anthem seems misguided at best and subversive at worst. I do not see how this misguided translation advances the cause of immigrants or serves their interests. Instead it creates further division in our society.
Of course all this is a prelude to Monday's looming work boycott by some immigration groups. There are many ironies and absurdities surrounding this event, not the least of which is that these immigrants are fighting for their right to work in this country by boycotting work. Of course the anti-immigration forces are up in arms that these undocumented aliens (who according to them should not be allowed to work and be sent back home) are daring to stop work. Even President Bush got in on the act this morning:
He called on immigrants and activist groups to rethink plans to walk out of work on Monday in protest of congressional efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. "You know, I think it's very important for people, when they do express themselves, they continue to do so in a peaceful way, in a respectful way -- respectful of . . . how highly charged this debate can become," he said, in a Rose Garden news conference he called to tout new figures showing robust economic growth in the first quarter of this year.
God forbid the slave laborers walk out of their work and cause hardship for the slave driving businesses.
All of these goings on makes me wonder if it is time to ratchet down the rhetoric and the divisive behavior. The immigrant groups need to take a deep breath and realize that they are advocating that undocumented aliens who are in this country illegally be given legal status. That status is a privilege that this or any other country grants foreigners within its borders. As such, I would suggest that perhaps confrontation is not the best way to gain that privelege.
The anti-immigration forces on the right also need to step back from their saber rattling and wall building. It is probably time to realize that there is a neighbor called Mexico to the south that the United States must live with. Short of going to war with Mexico (dare I even mention it), a comprehensive solution needs to be found that can address this unchecked flow of immigrants. The solution to the immigration problem does not lie in building a wall but in removing the economic incentive that underlies this migration. That means investment in Latin American economies that make it a reasonable choice for the poor in those countries to stay in those countries.
Of course I suspect, as Polimom suspects, the situation may already be completely out of control. In that case, the only thing left to do is to let the lunatics run the asylum.
Also posted at my web site.