Buchanan on Spanish anthem "insult": Americans "are awakening to the character of these people"

››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

On MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Pat Buchanan said that a Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is "a provocation and an insult" but that, ultimately, it is "a good thing in this sense: The American people are awakening to the character of these people."

On the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, MSNBC political analyst and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said that a Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is "a provocation and an insult" and that immigrants are "not welcome to come here and insult the symbols of our country, and that's what these outsiders have done." Buchanan then said that the Spanish recording is "a good thing in this sense: The American people are awakening to the character of these people." He added: "The good thing about this insult is that I think a lot of Americans are going to tell their senators and congressmen: 'You had better not capitulate to these people demanding amnesty and demanding the right to control our border when a whole bunch of them are here illegally.' "

Buchanan made his comments during a discussion with host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL) and Evelyn Sanchez of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition.

In April, the record label Urban Box Office produced a Spanish version of the national anthem titled "Nuestro Himno" (Our Anthem) that, as Scarborough noted, "has not only changed the language but also key words." As the Associated Press noted on April 28, the song's second stanza says: "My people keep fighting. It's time to break the chains."

Buchanan's outrage over "Nuestro Himno" comes shortly after President Bush criticized the song in an April 28 press conference:

QUESTION: Mr. President, a cultural question for you. There is a version of the National Anthem in Spanish now. Do you believe it will hold the same value if sung in Spanish as in English?

BUSH: No I don't, because I think the National Anthem ought to be sung in English. And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the National Anthem in English.

But as the weblog Think Progress noted on May 2, author Kevin Phillips wrote in his book, American Dynasty: Aristocracy , Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (Penguin, September 2004), that during the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush sometimes sang the national anthem in Spanish:

When visiting cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, in pivotal states, he would drop in at Hispanic festivals and parties, sometimes joining in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Spanish, sometimes partying with a "Viva Bush" mariachi band flown in from Texas [page 142].

Think Progress also noted that the Department of State lists four different Spanish versions of the national anthem on its website.

From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: "The Star Spangled Banner" -- it's a song that's been ingrained in American culture since Francis Scott Key penned a poem for the original flag that survived a night of British bombardment at Fort McHenry back in 1814. Now, maybe the national anthem's long and storied history is why so many Americans are upset that a new Spanish version has not only changed the language but also key words.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Americans -- so many Americans I've talked to are very angry about this issue. Why?

BUCHANAN: Well, it's a provocation and an insult, and you know, as the great grandson of Francis Scott Key said, I mean, for a foreigner to come into this country and then insult and alter our national anthem is simply despicable.

SCARBOROUGH: But isn't America the melting pot?

BUCHANAN: Yeah, America's the melting pot, Joe, but we have our own -- we have our own symbols of nationhood. People are welcome to come here and become Americans. They're not welcome to come here and insult the symbols of our country, and that's what these outsiders have done. But it's a good thing in this sense: The American people are awakening to the character of these people.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you say they're awakening to the character of these people -- you see this as a direct assault. Others would say -- the State Department, in fact, [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice, said it was a good idea because it would have more people singing allegiance -- their allegiance to America. Do you disagree with Condoleezza Rice?

BUCHANAN: I certainly do. I think this is an insult. Even [Sen.] Teddy Kennedy [D-MA] said, "The Star Spangled Banner ought to be sung in English," and it ought to be sung with the words of our national anthem. The good thing about this insult is that I think a lot of Americans are going to tell their senators and congressmen: "You had better not capitulate to these people demanding amnesty and demanding the right to control our border when a whole bunch of them are here illegally."

Posted In
Immigration
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Pat Buchanan
Show/Publication
Scarborough Country
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.