Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Lost In Translation


Posted Wednesday, July 09, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election '08: Barack Obama has scolded Americans for embarrassing him by failing to speak other languages while traveling abroad, yet forcing Europeans to speak English while here. Are you embarrassed, too? Don't be.

Read More: Election 2008

Maybe he's just uncomfortable with the truth or simply has a political interest in disregarding it and exploiting the current mindless vogue among America's elites to feel ashamed of our country.

But no matter how humiliating Obama finds our monolingual ways, there's good reason why Americans don't have to speak foreign languages while others must speak English: The U.S. has unprecedented influence in international affairs, an indispensable role in global markets and economic superiority. Simply put, we are the world's dominant nation.

Obama peddled his Ameriphobic nonsense at a town hall meeting Tuesday morning in Powder Springs, Ga. Asked a simple question about what he'd do to stop teenagers from dropping out of school — more of a job for a student body president than a U.S. president — he lost the plot, as the (English-speaking) Australians like to say, venturing into dangerous (for him) no-teleprompter territory.

"I agree that immigrants should learn English," he ranted. "But understand this: Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they'll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.

"You know, it's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say (is), 'Merci beaucoup.' "

Does he think that one day the rest of the world will stop speaking English just to keep single-language Americans out of the loop? Is he aware that English, as an example, is the worldwide official air-traffic-control language?

Has he ever talked to foreign businessmen — or any businessman at all, for that matter — who have different native tongues, yet speak English to each other so they can be understood?

Or is he trying to establish some cosmopolitan street-cred with the hipsters who fawn over him?

English became the global language because Britain spread its mother tongue through colonization and trade. And the U.S. sailed capitalism, ambition, a tireless work habit, fairness, justice, the rule of law and a rigorous military defense against tyranny to the top of the world. It's not fashionable to say so in the circles that Obama travels in, but the power and universality of the English language confirm — and strengthen — America's way of life.

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