While some of us thought the Univision debate was a pretty cool idea – have the presidential candidates stand up in front of a Spanish-speaking audience and debate for them rather than, as in every other debate ever held, for English speakers.
My first thought was, ‘how inclusive’ and ‘forward-thinking’ the Democratic Party is. This demonstrates, like nothing else, the suitability of the Democratic Party for all Americans, not just the “white Christian Republicans” the GOP is busy catering to (and most of them male).
Naturally, conservatives were horrified. McCarthyist and Trump fangirl Ann Coulter simultaneously condemned the inclusiveness of the Democratic debate and pushed her new book (coincidentally named ‘Adios America!‘) with this tweet:
I'm watching a presidential debate in the United States tonight, being conducted in Spanish. Adios, America!
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) March 10, 2016
For all of American history there have been minorities who spoke their own language. You don’t get off a boat and suddenly, via osmosis, become fluent in English.
My Swedish and Norwegian ancestors, arriving on these shores, still spoke the languages of their homelands and their letters of a century-and-a-half ago still exist, written in Swedish or Norwegian. That didn’t stop one of my ancestors from serving in a Minnesota regiment of volunteers during the Civil War.
He served his new country. Risked his life for it. But he spoke Swedish. I guess he should have gone home. He certainly didn’t deserve to be part of the political process, did he?
Media Matters for America plucked out a couple of gems, one from the Washington Examiner‘s Gabby Morrongiello who not only retweeted Coulter’s jab, but herself tweeted that “This Democratic Debate In Spanish Is Next Level Pandering.”
Or, as she called it in another tweet, “Hispandering.”
Yes, it’s pandering to want to keep voters informed in a language they can understand. This is the hate – and fear – the GOP has for an informed citizenry. For minorities. For people who aren’t “white Christian Americans.”
All the while the GOP’s major names are themselves immigrants or the children of immigrants: Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, and others. We got ours, but you can’t have yours.
Todd Starnes showed a complete lack of class as well, with his tweeted,
English, please. #CNN
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 10, 2016
Nobody forced these clowns to watch the debate. It wasn’t for them in the first place. It was for voters who are concerned about what is happening in this country, and that directly threatens their presence here, their hopes for their own American dream.
Starnes & Co. would just as soon keep them ignorant and uninformed so that it’s a big surprise when Trump’s trucks pull up to the curb to haul all 11 million of them to the border and dump them in a ditch.
Speaking of Trump, Fox News’ Monica Crowley thought a Spanish-speaking debate helped Trump somehow, you know, by proving his point that our country is full of “Mexicans”:
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) March 10, 2016
And Fox News calls her an “analyst.” Asked when she sleeps, Crowley answered, Sleep? “There’s a country to save!”
Yes, from analyses like yours.
To illustrate just how narrow-minded and ill-informed is the conservatives rank and file, one response to Starnes’ tweet will suffice:
@toddstarnes Don't really think a spanish language debate great optics for the dems right now.
— Mike Nemesi (@realmikenemesi) March 10, 2016
Well, Mike is certainly owning that Mel Gibson picture!
Not a good idea? In what possible way was it not a good idea to televise a debate in Spanish for the huge numbers of Spanish-speaking Americans, some of whom speak English well enough to get along at work but for whom it’s still not a first language?
Conservatives do realize that with attitudes like theirs, these Spanish-speaking voters are not going to vote Republican. Don’t they?
The wishful thinking of people like white, blonde-haired ‘Young American’ Emily Jashinsky (yes, millennials can be idiots too) won’t save Republicans from the essential calculus of modern American demographics, where more than 80 percent of Latinos have a negative view of Donald Trump:
jorge ramos' tie is slimmer than this debate's viewership
— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) March 10, 2016
Democrats realize this is a huge Trump-like problem for conservatives – perhaps the crux of the problem – that there are so many people for whom English is not a first language. Here we go back through the pages of American history again, my own ancestors included, who like everyone else, had to start somewhere, with the languages they were born with.
The inability to speak a language does not make you a lesser person. It does not render you undeserving of a chance. Language skills will come in time. Witness Cruz, Haley and Jindal all-speaking more or less fluent English.
As those very same Republicans show, it isn’t the language coming out of mouths that is the problem, but the ideas behind them.
Cruz & Co. might speak very good English, but their ideas are as un-American as you can get. We are a country of people who, like them, came to this country for a new life and carved it out of wildernesses both rural and urban.
If everybody had hated like they hate, they wouldn’t be hear now to hate on others and deny them their chance for the American dream.
It’s not only discouraging to see, its appalling.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.