Ramon 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:
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:
“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:
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:
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.