Grammar Don’t Matter When Your Hate Is Clear

Molly WhiteRamon Mejia wrote a great article over at Truthout, How Dare You Question My Patriotism? A Muslim Veteran’s Response to Texas Rep Molly White. And I’m not even talking about the politics. It’s the grammar that I love. Because if you don’t care about grammar — be it English, Spanish, or any of the other hundred languages that Americans speak — then you can’t care about America.

Look: I understand. I’m not perfect. Then again, I don’t have a staff. I have no editor. And I don’t publish a 500 word article every week or two that allows me to carefully check what I write. I grind out an article, trying to make it hang together along the way, and it is done. I read through it once very quickly to catch the obvious homophone errors and repeated repeated words that are repeated. And then the “publish” button is clicked and I don’t give it another thought. But it is rather different for a politician who doesn’t spend much time writing and has staff to keep them from embarrassing themselves.

On 29 January, a group of people held the Texas Muslim Capitol Day. The Houston Chronicle described it this way:

They came out by the hundreds from Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, mostly women and children, girls with silver-bowed shoes and pink owl backpacks. They sang the national anthem and prayed.

It’s a pretty typical thing. I grew up with the yearly Portuguese parade. It is a way for people from the old country to celebrate their connection with their new country. It’s a beautiful thing and about the most American thing I can imagine. And no one much thought about it when I was growing up because Portuguese are pretty well represented in California. They certainly aren’t and weren’t a hated minority group. (The same cannot be said of the Portuguese in Texas.) So all these women and children meeting up to proclaim their religious identity and their American identity resulted in another great American tradition: hatred and intolerance:

“We don’t want you here!” shouted one. Others yelled, “Go home,” “ISIS will gladly take you” and “remember 9/11.”

“You don’t have to dress that way! Take it off!” came from a woman holding an Israeli flag. “Islam is the war on women!”

But they are just a bunch of kooks, right? Such would not be the case with an establishment figure like someone in the Texas legislature! Oh, I’m kidding! Rep Molly White wrote on her Facebook page:

I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office.

In addition to being deeply offended by the hateful and ignorant words of Representative White, Ramon Mejia noted that she wasn’t too good with the whole English thing:

Her confusion of the term “capital” for “capitol” raises the question whether she believes that all Muslims are supporters of terrorist organizations and should “renounce” their affiliation, or if she meant “denounce.”

Words, words, words! It’s true that dictionaries are descriptive not prescriptive. But that’s a social phenomenon. It isn’t the case that any given person can just start using words differently from everyone else. People will think you are crazy if you point to a cat and say, “Dog!” But Ms White gets her point across very clearly. The devil is not in the details. She thinks that Muslims are bad and suspect — guilty until proven innocent.

But in the court of Frankly Curious, we look at the facts. She was innocent to start. But we now find her guilty of being ignorant, poorly spoken, and hateful. She’s an embarrassment to my country. But sadly, it is probably because of her ignorance, inarticulateness, and hatefulness that she is a successful politician. I weep for this great nation that bore Walt Whitman, Upton Sinclair, and John Steinbeck.

4 thoughts on “Grammar Don’t Matter When Your Hate Is Clear

  1. It’s impossible for anyone with an ounce of self-respect, except possibly a sociopath, to serve in the Texas Republican Party today. It’s maddening that in a country I love – the U.S.A.- someone this ignorant, this childish, can hold elected office while so many intelligent, educated, articulate people cannot even find a job.

    • On the plus side, the Texas legislature pays almost nothing. She gets about $28,000 per year for being a representative. You get what you pay for. I’ve always thought people pushing this idea that we shouldn’t pay politicians anything were ridiculous. It means only rich people and their wives can do the job. Sad.

      • 28K!!!!

        That’s not a plus. It insures that only rich people, their wives, and crooks can serve. It will be a matter of pure luck if you get a good representative, regardless of party.

        • You Canadians are so cynical! No, I thought of that. And the truth is that being in the legislature ensures that you will make a lot of money after you leave, even if you aren’t corrupt in the strict John Roberts sense.

          When I saw the number, it angered me. So many people (on the left and right) think that we shouldn’t pay politicians well. It is part of this idea that politics is easy. To me, it seems pretty simple. Politicians should be paid well. But they should be forced to give up the right to various jobs after leaving office. I’m not sure how it would work, but certainly the current system of working for firms that you once regulated should be illegal.

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