Juramento a la Bandara
“Yo prometo lealtad a la bandera de los estados Unidos de America, y a la Republica que representa, una Nacion bajo Dios, entera, con libertad y justicia para todos."
The fact that some school children start their day with this version of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag has started a firestorm of protest in recent years. But I started each session in my Spanish Studies program in El Rito, New Mexico with the recitation and my hand over my heart. Am I less of an American for it? Of course, not. Spanish and English are both official languages of New Mexico and El Rito has mostly Spanish-speaking populations who have lived on the land for generations. America is their home and their sons have fought for America in wars of old. So why are we so upset because school children in Florida and other parts of the country say this pledge?
I raised this issue in a local Editorial Page and got responses such as: it is un-American; because our forefathers died to protect our right to speak English in America; it is disrespectful, etc. What? Then why do half the cities in Florida have Spanish names? The state name is flower in Spanish, for God’s sake. Why don't we do like the Russians did after the Revolution and change the names to more English sounding ones? We could call the state Orangeland and Orlando, Fantasy Island. (It's not really an island but neither is Rhode Island.) If you banned Spanish in Florida, half the state couldn't communicate. It would be Babel. Verdad? If you had a vote on an official language, with a good get out the vote campaign,Spanish might win.
People have a right to their opinions on immigration and farm worker status. I would be willing to defend that right and have a civilized debate over the issues. There is a compromise bill now pending before Congress. But wouldn’t you rather have school children saying the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish than have U. S. citizens plotting the violent overthrow of the government and burning flags?