Tony Katz Today
Speaking Spanish Is Fine. Pandering For Votes Is Not.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
During the Democrats' first debate of the 2020 election, multiple candidates (along with one of the NBC moderators) thought it was right and good to ask and answer questions in Spanish.
It started with former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (and check out the amazing side-eye he got from Sen. Cory Booker when it happened!) This is funny because Sen. Booker decided to go down the same road, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro did as well. They all answered questions in Spanish. And, yes, it was pandering.
Why is it pandering? Because no one is going to answer a question in Tagalog. No one is going to answer a question in Chinese. No one in the second debate is going to ask South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg a question in Norwegian. It's just not going to happen.
English is the language of freedom. And English is our common language. Okay, not our official language (though that is a fine debate.) But, it is the language of the nation that people the world over come to for a better life, and it should be the language we utilize to engage all the electorate.
The utilization of Spanish to pander to the electorate is a continued reinforcement of the idea that you do not have to learn the language, you do not have to engage the idea of 'E Plurbus Unum:' Out of Many, One. But, rather, you stay you. America will cater to you. We'll change for you. We'll do it your way.
Because if we don't, racism...or something.
Beto and Booker and Castro think that they're caring; they're showing how much they love, they're showing how inclusive they are. But it is not love to purposefully exclude the multiplicity of other Americans who also speak a host of other languages.
A nation that has a language is not a bad thing. A nation that has a language is not an evil thing. I am not saying, and I have never said, that my grandparents should not have spoken Yiddish in their house, or on the streets, or anywhere else. To my recollection, they did speak Yiddish in their house, or on the streets, and anywhere else. You can speak Spanish or Mandarin or French or any other language anywhere in the US.
But, when you want to be the Commander in Chief, and you want to be the leader of the free world, you should speak the language of freedom. English is the language of freedom. There is no debate.