TUNKU VARADARAJAN reports "On Tuesday, Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic alcalde (or mayor) of Los Angeles, delivered to his city a "Respuesta al Estado de la Nación"--a response in Spanish to President Bush's State of the Union address. This alternative discourse, this act of ethno-political affectation, should lead us all to think upon some questions: What, and where, are the limits to civic Otherness in America?
Why not a gay response? A Teamster response? A vegan response? A gangsta response? More nitty-grittily: Why not a response in Farsi or Korean--languages spoken by people toward whom Mr. Villaraigosa has no fewer mayoral duties than he does toward his Hispanophones? There is, also, a radical question from which there should be no glib escape: If response there must be from the mayor of Los Angeles, why not one in plain old English?"
If we desire "one nation" in which immigrants assismilate and become Americans, why are we not enforcing a common language so that all may understand?