Today during the opening session of a debate that is considering whether the current immigration reform bill should be put to a vote in the Senate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine (D) gave his remarks supporting the measure in Spanish.
Such a speech almost guarantees top billing today on Spanish-language media, and it will raise several issues about his actions. As expected, the reaction on Twitter was polarizing, from those applauding Sen. Kaine for his speech to those who questioned his patriotism. Kaine learned his Spanish from doing missionary work with the Jesuits in Central America. Yeah, this guy is dangerous. (That was sarcasm.)
As for us? Good. It if makes people uncomfortable, so be it. Spanish is not a “foreign” language in this county (in fact, it was first spoken in North America before English), and even though many will see it as yet another example of “Hispandering,” it does acknowledge the fact that the United States is becoming more and more of a Spanish-speaking country. That, of course, will piss off those who believe that to be truly “American,” you can only speak English, which is a myth. There are millions of Spanish speakers in this country who are proud to be part of this country. That is the crux here, and Kaine is no “traitor.” He is just recognizing that part of our nation’s population needs to be recognized and such a recognition will be better for this country as it continues to change. Yes, English is critically important, but Spanish is not a second or inferior language. That is what the haters don’t get, and that attitude speaks more about their unwillingness to embrace fellow Americans than admit that that they are afraid of change and fearful of a “different” America.
We have gone through this before in our country’s history, people, and Kaine’s words only confirm that we are constantly evolving as a country, and that evolution will only strengthen us, not divide us. Yet sadly, Kaine’s words will just add more fuel to those critics who bemoan the loss of America. This will only get worse before it gets better. But it will get better.
Sin embargo, gracias, senador. Te lo agradecemos.