Monday, January 19, 2015

How to look like an idiot before announcing your US presidential candidacy.

First a little background. 

Following the attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by terrorists the Fox News network ran a segment featuring a "terrorism expert" named Steve Emerson who stated that France and England both had areas controlled by their Muslim residents where the laws of the countries were not applied and instead Sharia law was dished out by roving bands of vigilantes who might harass you for not dressing in "Muslim attire" or violating any other tenet of Muslim law. He called these areas "no go zones" (even going as far as saying the entire city of Birmingham is a Muslim controlled no go zone) and even the police would not intervene there. After this many other pundits and commentators and Fox News hosts repeated these claims of "no go zones" which of course are a complete lie and totally baseless. This was such a bad lie that Fox News felt compelled to fess up and apologize for the hate mongering stupidity they had been trying to spread.

Apparently not everyone got the memo. Likely Republican presidential candidate and governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal made comments while speaking in Europe that raised a few eyebrows. Even after Fox News retracted its comments about "no go zones" Governor Jindal kept throwing them out there. He then tried to relate these fantasy zones in Europe with the broader issue of immigration in the United States making comments that basically said if you don't want to assimilate into American culture and learn our language you should not come to America because that's what good immigrants to America, like his parents, have always done.

Wow, someone needs to give Governor Jindal a bit of a history lesson and take him on a trip around the United States. It is hard to say exactly how many different ways he made himself look stupid with those comments, so I will just point out a few. American culture is not really a thing, go to New York City and then to Los Angeles and then to Nashville and then to Miami. Along the way make a stop in Seattle and Troutdale Virginia. Maybe you want to visit Lubbock, TX or Billings, MT. If you visit each of these places you will find that there is no American culture, instead there are lots of different ways of living and thinking in America that all tend to co-exist pretty well. That's the thing about a free country that values individualism, it won't tend to settle on just one way of doing things. As far as language goes maybe Governor Jindal would like to visit the many parts of Miami with large populations of Cuban Americans, or maybe he would like to go to the vibrant and fascinating section of San Francisco called "China Town". In both of these places he will find people talking to friends, conducting business, worshiping in churches and temples and basically living their lives without speaking English. Immigrants should learn our language? The first European settlers in North America and people living here for centuries to come sure didn't feel that way. They didn't learn the languages on the Native Americans, no, they forced their languages on the people who were already here. Of course people coming here and keeping their languages was the norm in all of the Italian and Jewish and German and Polish neighborhoods that you find and have found in large cities all over the US. Why does Governor Jindal seem to think that today's immigrants need to make sure the can speak English as soon as you get here when there is a large group of people in his own state who many of which to this day still prefer to speak their first language which is a form of French? Will the Cajuns in Louisiana take so kindly to his words about assimilation?

If you don't believe me go see for yourself by clicking on this link, Bobby Jindal is trying to tie canned US anti-immigrant rhetoric to a tragic event that happened in France and that has nothing to do with many American's unfounded and false fears about immigration. Instead of painting a fictitious story about how he wishes immigration had happened in the US he could have told the true story about how immigrants built this country even though they were often treated as less than human. He could have told the true story about the way different immigrant groups didn't just assimilate into the existing culture they found but they took bits and pieces of it and mixed it in with their own culture and then gave their new creation back to their new community. He could have talked about how the English language has always borrowed words and grammatical rules from other languages and how as American English began to and continued to develop it incorporated words and phrases from the many different languages that were and are spoken in the United States. He could have shown how proud he is of America's actual history but instead he decided to lie and make idiotic comments designed to instill fear and disdain in Americans towards those wanting to make new lives in the US.

Governor Jindal should be ashamed of his lies and fear mongering, but based on his statements I am wondering if he is smart enough to understand that.