As if we needed another demonstration of the xenophobia and misology of the American right, here’s a story of students in Ft. Collins, Colorado translating the Pledge of Allegiance into other languages and reciting it in those languages from time to time. Cue the outrage from the wingnuts when they got to it in Arabic.
“We do say the Pledge of Allegiance on Mondays at Rocky Mountain High School,” principal Tom Lopez said.
Students have always said it in English. This year, a group with about 30 students approached Lopez with a request to translate and recite the pledge in other languages.
“They had to go through me for approval, and I reviewed it pretty carefully,” Lopez said.
First, the students translated and read French. Then they recited the pledge in Spanish last fall. Monday, students read the pledge in Arabic.
“We have a tremendous amount of diversity in our school,” Lopez said. “This is very American, not un-American.”
I don’t think anyone should say the pledge at any time, in any language, but at least this way they’re learning something and perhaps managing to overcome that provincialism and xenophobia that America is so well known for. But the hyper-nationalist, we ain’t had no need for book learnin’ crowd was bound to lose their minds over it. They’re worried that if their kids learn a phrase in French or Arabic they’re going to become suicide bombers who surrender before they set off the bomb. Or something.
Reminds me of the old story, possibly apocryphal, about the Texas legislator who said, “If English is good enough for our lord and savior Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me.”
Like Dispatches on Facebook: