Sunday, April 30, 2006

Outrage over the American National Anthem in Spanish

When I'm deluged with hate-mail (usually about a cartoon dealing with either immigration or homosexuality), a lot of it seems to come from people who've either misinterpreted the strip, or haven't even read it. Sometimes this is the result of organized protests: someone with an agenda manages to stir up a bunch of other ummm... I'll just say "easily influenced" people. Other times, people just want to vent their outrage, and it doesn't matter if it's not even tangentially related to what the cartoon in question is actually saying. An irrational person can always manage to convince himself that a cartoon says what it doesn't say, and signifies what it doesn't mean. This disorder is so widespread among the human population that it even has a clinical name: "Counterfactual Reinforcing Associational Psychosis."

CRAP is a disorder that isn't just relegated to the comics page, either. For instance, an outbreak of CRAP is almost certainly behind the latest hysteria regarding illegal immigrants: the uproar over the new Spanish version of the American National Anthem. Our wise and allegedly-sober President has weighed in on the topic, condemning those who would dare to sing the anthem in another language. But more disturbing has been the tone of outraged callers to talk shows around the nation, who, after wiping the foam from their mouths, bemoan the "anti-Americanism" of these "America-hating" "America-haters."

I'm willing to bet a whole case of A&W root beer that not one of these callers - nor the President himself - has bothered to listen to the lyrics of this despicable anti-American anthem. Here they are, in Spanish and in their English translation:


Lyrics to 'Nuestro Himno' ('Our Anthem')
Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?
lo que tanto aclamamos la noche caer?
sus estrellas sus franjas
flotaban ayer
en el fiero combate
en señal de victoria,
fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertada.
Por la noche decían:
"Se va defendiendo!"
Oh decid! Despliega aún
Voz a su hermosura estrellada,
sobre tierra de libres,
la bandera sagrada?
Sus estrellas, sus franjas,
la libertad, somos iguales.
Somos hermanos, en nuestro himno.
En el fiero combate en señal de victoria,
Fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertada.
Mi gente sigue luchando.
Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.
Por la noche decían: "!Se va defendiendo!"
Oh decid! Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada
sobre tierra de libres,
la bandera sagrada?

English translation:
By the light of the dawn, do you see arising,
what we proudly hailed at twilight's last fall?
Its stars, its stripes
yesterday streamed
above fierce combat
a gleaming emblem of victory
and the struggle toward liberty.
Throughout the night, they proclaimed:
"We will defend it!"
Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave
above the land of the free,
the sacred flag?
Its stars, its stripes,
liberty, we are the same.
We are brothers in our anthem.
In fierce combat, a gleaming emblem of victory
and the struggle toward liberty.
My people fight on.
The time has come to break the chains.
Throughout the night they proclaimed, "We will defend it!"
Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave
above the land of the free,
the sacred flag?
...Oh yeah, somebody lock up these anti-American scoundrels before they can carry out their wicked plans, whatever they may be.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The hysteria about illegal immigrants makes no sense. You'd think by the way it's become the number one issue, illegal immigration was the root of all our problems. There are so many other reasons for our problems that are more important, like the war in Iraq, energy prices, health care prices, et cetera.

Getting pissed because people want to sing the Star Spangled Banner in another language is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Read on the Drudge Report Bush sang the anthem in Spanish all over the place in the 2000 campaign. Why the complete change of heart now?

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to write for some time to thank you for Candorville. Keep up the great work!

Chuck said...

I'm inclined to believe that illegal immigration is more a "Symptom" of problems elsewhere...but why should the US have to have its own problems magnified by Illegal Immigration? Today's Strip (Sunday, 5-14) shows a fact: We've not crumbled yet. And, as long as we are Americans first, and as long as we recognize our duties-- we won't!
Long Live Candorville!

Alex said...

Hmmm... last time I looked legal immigration has not come under scrutiny. As a matter of fact the bill that was recently shot down dealt with illegal immigration. In your comic strip today all but the 2006 six group featured a majority of LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Were the immigrants of the past persecuted, yes. It is sort of like Carlos Mencia says, the US is like a big fraternity and every group has to go through initiation. My family went through it, so did yours and everyone else. Is it right? No, but the point is LEGAL vs. ILLEGAL. Currently undocumented workers in this country send the majority of their earnings out of the country, this amounts somewhere in the billions of dollars. The fact that this money leaves here and does not return to the markeplace is actually detrimental to the economy as a large part of the economy is driven by money that workers spend in the marketplace. (you know the consumer spending issue that crops up each year around Christmas) In addition, this money is non-taxed, so every tax hike means that legal immigrants such as you and I are footing the bill. In addition, because undocumented workers cannot get health benefits, hospitals and health care systems in areas with high illegal immigrant numbers are on the ropes. 77 hospitals have filed for bankruptcy in the southwest due to this conundrum, including three in Los Angeles. 2 have closed outright in southern Arizona. All because a bunch of folks have chosen to bypass what we require for admission to this country. Try doing that in any other country on the planet (ok except perhaps Australia and New Zealand) and see where you end up. Now, with the current bill the idea, supported by President Bush, was to grant amnesty for the current number of illegal immigrants in this country (thereby making them legal immigrants all at once, a pretty sweet deal) and make it tougher for future immigrants to come in illegally. This is the easiest country to emigrate to and we welcome immigrants, but to come here one should respect our laws. We are one of the few that doesn't require military service as a criterion for becoming a citizen and one of the few that allows dual citizenship. This is all factual information and easily researched so I encourage anyone who reads to look it up. As far as the Anthem goes, go to any other country and suggest singing their anthem in any language other than the one in which is was penned and see what response you get.

Darrin Bell said...

"Hmmm... last time I looked legal immigration has not come under scrutiny. As a matter of fact the bill that was recently shot down dealt with illegal immigration. In your comic strip today all but the 2006 six group featured a majority of LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. "

...which is only true in the sense that there was no such concept as "illegal immigration" in American law prior to the 20th Century. The Bracero program in panel 2 dealt with illegal immigration, not legal. Those who were already here became legal because of the program, which also created a legal framework for bringing in more Mexican migrant workers.

"Were the immigrants of the past persecuted, yes. It is sort of like Carlos Mencia says, the US is like a big fraternity and every group has to go through initiation. My family went through it, so did yours and everyone else. Is it right? No, but the point is LEGAL vs. ILLEGAL."

No, it isn't. The legality of it all is just the veneer. The fundamental issue here is that Americans are worried that a large influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants will change our culture. That fundamental fear is the point of the cartoon. If this were just a legal issue, we wouldn't see such emotion. Nobody gets this upset about other non-violence-related laws being broken. Few people get this emotional when they talk about corporations violating environmental laws or labor laws. Few people get this emotional talking about the President violating laws against wiretapping American citizens. But people practically foam at the mouth talking about illegal immigration.

"Currently undocumented workers in this country send the majority of their earnings out of the country, this amounts somewhere in the billions of dollars. The fact that this money leaves here and does not return to the markeplace is actually detrimental to the economy as a large part of the economy is driven by money that workers spend in the marketplace. (you know the consumer spending issue that crops up each year around Christmas) In addition, this money is non-taxed, so every tax hike means that legal immigrants such as you and I are footing the bill. "

Sending money home is no different than what Mexicans did during the Bracero program, or what other immigrants have done historically. That said, the argument is specious, because they do spend money here. They rent apartments, buy clothes, and pay sales tax. The children that are born here are legal, they learn English and they end up paying income tax. So what if we foot the bill for some social services? We're also footing the bill for corporations who are allowed to avoid paying taxes by relocating offshore (among other breaks), for a disastrous invasion in Iraq, and for tax cuts given to the top 1% of Americans which have siphoned money from Pell grants, from block grants to state, etc... Compared to all that, the amount we pay to help illegal immigrants surive in our society is miniscule. And again, their children grow up to contribute as full members of society.

"In addition, because undocumented workers cannot get health benefits, hospitals and health care systems in areas with high illegal immigrant numbers are on the ropes. 77 hospitals have filed for bankruptcy in the southwest due to this conundrum, including three in Los Angeles. 2 have closed outright in southern Arizona. All because a bunch of folks have chosen to bypass what we require for admission to this country. "

Repealing just one of the latest unnecessary tax cuts would give us more than enough money to not only provide free health care for illegal immigrants, but free health care for every American citizen.

"Now, with the current bill the idea, supported by President Bush, was to grant amnesty for the current number of illegal immigrants in this country (thereby making them legal immigrants all at once, a pretty sweet deal) and make it tougher for future immigrants to come in illegally."OK, but that has nothing to do with the point of the cartoon, which is simply that this isn't the unprecedented crisis that people seem to think it is.

"This is the easiest country to emigrate to and we welcome immigrants, but to come here one should respect our laws. We are one of the few that doesn't require military service as a criterion for becoming a citizen and one of the few that allows dual citizenship. This is all factual information and easily researched so I encourage anyone who reads to look it up. As far as the Anthem goes, go to any other country and suggest singing their anthem in any language other than the one in which is was penned and see what response you get."This isn't "any other country." That's why the State Department commissioned a Spanish version of the National Anthem in 1919. America is heterogeneous. America is diverse, not defined by a single ethnicity or even a single language (we have no official language). That's the beauty of America.

Chuck said...

Our host and Candorville Author makes a valid point: The "Illegal" idea for Immigration IS 20th Century. So are Income Tax, Social Security, and Voting Rights for Women. Of course, it's in how you phrase a question that makes a difference. For instance:
"Shall all illegal immigrants in this country be granted Free and Absolute Citizenship, with its rights, duties, and priviledges, or should they be required to go throw proper channels?"
Or:
"Should we grant these criminals who have come into our country in violation of the law, without proper documents, etc... citizenship without cost, or should they be deported"?

Like I say, it's all in the phrasing, the Emotion behind it.
Let our citizens decide fairly, with justice. Let us ALL decide in fairness to ALL involved. (Difficult, isn't it?)
Or, maybe "

Chuck said...

I find that I have a knack for not writing everything I am thinking...Income Tax, Votes for Women, Social Security were 20th Century "resolutions".
I also seem to sound like a politician (Let us decide in FAIRNESS to all involved. Difficult, isn't it? Or maybe not.)

But, again, it comes down to FAIRNESS...Our rules are in place for a reason. Let the rules be followed.

Darrin Bell said...

I agree that rules should be followed. To that end, we should enforce the minimum wage and other labor laws. We should support labor unions rather than demonizing them, as some in this country tend to do. As long as employers are looking to skirt the system, that provides a huge job market for people such as undocumented immigrants who are willing to work in substandard conditions for less than a living wage.

Ensuring that more large and small employers play by the rules would eventually eliminate one of the main reasons people risk their lives to come here illegally. You and I would have to pay a little more for our food, clothes and landscaping. I don't know about everyone else, but I'd gladly pay more or go without if it meant eliminating the exploitation of illegal immigrants.

The law is important, but I think people really need to take a step back and ask themselves why they're so emotional over this particular law. Is it simply because the law is being broken, or is it because of the unfounded and persistent fear that the American culture (whatever that's supposed to be) is endangered?

Diego Lopez said...

Darrin,

Loved the cartoon. I was born in Mexico 22 years ago and I came here (legally) at the age of 2. I have to admit that my story is a bit different from that of the millions of Mexicans that have come to the US. My dad had a college degree and my mother was an American citizen. I have been lucky enough, through my parents' sacrifice, to live a life I would most likely not have enjoyed in Mexico.

I love this country, but I also will never forget where I came from. Is this so wrong? To disassociate myself from the plight of the great majority of my people who come to this country in search of a better life would be cynical and in-human.

Is the way they come here illegal? Yes. But please, place yourself in their shoes. They are leaving their home not because they want to -- but because they have to. They are leaving not to take over this country -- but to survive.

As Darrin's piece shows, this plight is nothing new...in fact it is the VERY foundation of this country. We just happen to be the latest goat the politicians wish to sacrifice.

Darrin Bell said...

Thanks, Diego. Contrary to popular legend, there's nothing wrong with remembering where you come from. It doesn't make you any less American.

Jay from StL said...

Good move in publishing the English translation of the Spanish language Anthem. In Canada, where the Province of Quebec mandates they have a French version of their Anthem, the French is not and English translation; it's a totally different song.
English Canadians (and if moved north, you would become an English Canadian)are also less sensitive about their song. They will tell you that if you don't remember the words, just sing "O Canada, we stand on guard for thee" over and over until the music stops.

marc said...

I love the CRAP! It reminds me of Susan Douglas' recent book, the Mommy Myth. Completely different context, but her version of CRAP stands for Committee on Retrograde Anti-Feminist Propaganda. But all this CRAP comes from the same place in the end, right? Apologies for the pun.

Staff Sergeant (name withheld) said...

Please don't mind me for being rather blunt, but do you hate EVERYTHING Bush does and try to twist it in a way to look bad? Also, sometimes when your strips come out, the topic becomes old. They don't go to that extent with spying such as the NSA guy writting on his notepad what Lemont says. Have you ever thought what good the Pat. Act did? They caught bribes at the border, child abuse, lies, porn, and others. You also don't give repubs a fair chaance of sspeech, such as the Rep black guy sitting next to Lemont saying he's glad the USA Pat. Act is there because he might be a terrorist.
Most importantly, shouldn't you only fear the Act if you've done something bad? The Stars & Stripes (I live overseas in the Army) is a cross of Rep. Dem. Independent, unlike the very liberal papers back home. It points out both pros & cons. on AFN we get Fox News, unlike the heavy heavy VERY heavy liberal CNN or CBS channels you watch or the New York Times and even 75% AP.
I myself am an independent but I don't see you give Repubs a fair shot at things. Hey, Over here there are naturalized US citizens from Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. who disagree with liberals at immigration (there are some who agree, however).
I would like to point out that S&S got some liberal workers so now I get your Strip (started in Oct 02, 2005) along with other unfair stuff.
You also downgrade those in the Army, even to those enlisted before the war started. You said we're hopeless in a number of strips and we're doing the wrong thing. Well guess again. Zarqawi was killed, a dictator was overthrown, women have hope and we've even stopped some more hijackings. People die in war, and that's just that. They didn't die in vain (at least those who supported the war) and I'll be wrong if we lose. Bush's popularity has risen, why not include that in a future strip? Even Demos gave him a break (some)!
So all I've said, would you please take it to mind?
PS, this isn't personal, but I just wanted to know:
Do you approve of the ACLU (or at least some things). And also, I'm not against all liberals, in fact, you shouldn't be too conservative that you don't help!
And last but not least: what do you think of independents?
Sincerely,
An American Soldier.

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Theodore said...

This is gorgeous!