Sing the National Anthem Anyway You Want

In the midst of fierce debate over immigration reform, a group of Latino recording artists have recorded their own version of the national anthem as a show of solidarity. “Nuestro Himno” (“Our Anthem”) has a Latin arrangement and mostly Spanish words, but keeps the traditional structure of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Some people are offended, including President Bush who suggested that Latinos and immigrants should take the time to learn English and then sing the national anthem in English.

Bah. We’re a culturally rich country with no official language. What’s wrong with celebrating the anthem and the freedom that defines America by singing your own cultural version of the song? Jimi Hendrix made his own version and for me it’s as patriotic as the one we sing at the ballpark. I think it’s decidely unpatriotic to say we can’t sing the national anthem with our own respectful flair.

Immigration is a tough issue–I’m not condoning illegal immigrants. We need to come up with a sensible solution. But squashing diversity isn’t the way to do it. We were all immigrants once. We evicted an entire people, co-opted their land and ditched their language. So we should be careful how loud we complain, lest we sound like a bunch of ungrateful hypocrites.

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