Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama on Spanish

Sen. Obama has said that we should all teach our kids Spanish. While I do think American Christians should learn Spanish, I think it's a bad way to run a country to conform to your immigrants.

But Mr. Obama's argument seems to be based on his being embarrassed by Americans not being bilingual. Does he really think he's going to pursuade people by comparing us to the French?

Are the French going to be impressed if we show up in France able to speak fluently in Spanish?

Why should immigrants learn English if we all learn Spanish?

Does it sound as condescending to you as it does me when he says, "Understand this?"

Would President Obama spend the next four years lecturing us on how to raise our kids? It seems to be a topic he's warming to lately. What else would he lecture us on? We've already had a stern "talking to" from him about criticizing his wife, keeping our air conditioner too low, and using our fair share of energy. What's next?


Vinny said...

I think you need to watch the video again. I think Obama's point concerned foreign languages in general rather than Spanish in particular.

ChrisB said...

He's talking first about "English only" and learning Spanish. Yes, he does go into general being bilingual, but I think he was focusing on Spanish.

Vinny said...

I think he was using the "English only" controversy as a springboard to talk about the value in learning foreign languages. I think his point is that Americans should better understand the rest of the world, not that we need to accommodate immigrants.

Mesa Mike said...

Is Senator Obama bilingual? Has he taught his children a second language?

I honestly don't know, so those questions are only tentatively rhetorical.

ChrisB said...

I don't know about Spanish. I read recently that he doesn't know French (which makes his final comment somewhat ironic).

Mesa Mike said...

Well, I suspect Obama neither knows Spanish himself (or any other second language), nor has endeavored to teach it to his children

Reminds me of this old hillbilly gospel song:

Well, the Devil,
He wears hypocrite shoes.
The Devil,
He wears hypocrite shoes.
The Devil wears hypocrite shoes,
And if you're not careful,
He'll slip 'em on you.
There's no hiding place down here.

Vinny said...

Obama attended public schools in Indonesia as a child. According to Time Magazine, he speaks “passable Bahasa.”

According to his website, Obama made the following statement in a February debate:

OBAMA: Well, I think it is important that everyone learns English and that we have that process of binding ourselves together as a country. I think that's very important.

I also think that every student should be learning a second language because -- you know -- so when you start getting into a debate about bilingual education, for example, now I want to make sure that children who are coming out of Spanish-speaking households have the opportunity to learn and are not falling behind. And if bilingual education helps them do that, I want to give them the opportunity. But I also want to make sure that English-speaking children are getting foreign languages because this world is becoming more interdependent, and part of the process of America's continued leadership in the world is going to be our capacity to communicate across boundaries, across borders.

And that's something, frankly, that's fallen very -- where we've fallen behind. And one of the failures of No Child Left Behind, a law that I think a lot of local and state officials have been troubled by, is that it is so narrowly focused on standardized tests that it has pushed out a lot of important learning that needs to take place.

And foreign languages is one of those areas that I think has been neglected. I want to put more resources into it.

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