01 May 2006

May Day!

Once upon a time, I was 17 years old and living in Sweden. 1 May was a school holiday, so Brian and I went to Stockholm, at least I think I went with him that time. I know it wasn't with the guy I was sorta dating at the time, and really, who else would I have gone with? It was over 10 years ago now and I'm not sure if we stayed in Stockholm or just went for the day, but I took pictures of the folks who were marching in the streets and he and I spent an enjoyable time wondering what they had to protest about, they were SWEDES after all, and we were jealous. Plus we couldn't really read their signs, they were moving too fast. Brian, do you remember?

Fast forward more years than I'm willing to admit, and I saw on the telly this morning that there are marches all over the US today in support of the undocumented worker community. For those that are unaware, Labor Day in the US is in September, don't get me started about why we can't come into conformity with the rest of the world when it comes to the metric system and May Day. Anyway. My immediate reaction to marches on May Day was "Cool!" but then while talking to friend K, she told me something scary. Seems that I have to agree with President Idiot, and I hate that. I haven't heard the song yet, but some very enterprising soul has recorded the US national anthem, you know, the one that no one in the world has the vocal range for, in Spanish. I always appreciate the urge to make a buck, but President Idiot said, and I agree with him, something along the lines of "that's nice, but the anthem is in English for a reason." Urgh, I hate agreeing with him. The reason that I do? I learned how to speak Swedish in about 3 months...fluently enough to be mistaken for a native a time or two. I'm a smart girl, yes, I know. But if I did it, so could anyone else. David Sedaris hilariously documented his attempts to learn French in Me Talk Pretty One Day. Yes, learning a new language is hard. But I firmly believe that if you live in a country where their official language isn't your mother tongue, you really ought to learn the official language. And if there are two, well, learn them both, then. I just don’t agree with driver’s exams and tax forms being printed in languages other than English, but by this I am referring ONLY to the United States. Put another way; if I moved to Italy, I would not expect that the Italian government should translate all official forms into English for me, nor do I think that they ought to be obligated to provide a translator for me so that I can get a driver’s license, vote, or pay my taxes. That's my opinion today, for whatever it is worth.

Soundtrack: h'm gotta be a worker anthem appropriate to the day. How's about anything by Bob Dylan? Nah, I'm too young for that. Back to "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy.

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