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“The Star Spangled Banner” is now available in a Spanish-language version. This development has incited a barrage of negative conservative reaction, along with positive response from many in the Hispanic community as well as others who think such a version is overdue.

I don’t know anything about the musical quality of the piece, nor am I a Spanish-speaking person. I am, though, generally considered a conservative and in that role I can’t quite get my arms around why other conservatives are making this a new front in the culture wars. Their reactions sound more parochial than patriotic.

It does not bother me to think that Spanish speaking Americans can learn the words of the National Anthem in their original language or that they may sing it from time to time in their native tongue.

On the other hand, I agree with those who reject planned inclusion of “pro-immigrant” political statements in a future remix version of the song. Such posturing is more about disunity than unity and has no place in a long established patriotic anthem.

And, while it does not bother me that a Spanish-language version of “The Star Spangled Banner” exists, I do not think public expressions of the National Anthem at ball games, special ceremonies, military events, etc. should be conducted in anything but English. The United States is an English speaking country, and should not be ashamed or apologetic about it. This is a fact important to our history, our economic well-being, and our melting pot culture.

We may be a “Nation of Immigrants,” but in the end, the U.S. is and must be a “Nation.” English is a key component of this unified nation state, and the National Anthem is an artistic and emotional expression of the ideals we hold dear as a people, not “peoples.” Offering an Anthem Du Jour is not a recipe for strength and stability. Affirming an English language National Anthem is not a rejection of English as a second language Americans. Actually, it’s just the opposite.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

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