Looking at a globe of the world, one sees in the western hemisphere, the continents of South America and North America. Canada, Mexico, and Brazil are all American nations.
“America” is not just the United States.
And in the Americas, languages spoken include English, French, Spanish and Native American languages.
English is not the only language.
Social media is a-twitter with the song “America the Beautiful” being sung in various languages during the Super Bowl during a Coca-Cola commercial.
Given that every person to this country is an immigrant, whether it be over the Bering Strait thousands of years ago or onboard a boat with sails from Europe, the second verse addresses the writer of the song’s views.
“O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
Katharine Lee Bates clearly wrote the poem about the U.S. during a trip from her home in Massachusetts through the fruited plains to Pikes Peak in Colorado in the early twentieth century.
English is not the official language of the U.S. and perhaps it should be-we have no official language in the U.S.-the reaction of some brings to mind the book, “The Ugly American” by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, which addresses the ego-centrism of some U.S. Americans.
What about when U.S. travelers visit Russia, Europe or Mexico? Do those travelers know the languages of those countries? Most travelers would continue to speak English.
Interestingly, Bates was in what was then called a “Boston Marriage.”
Although Bates wrote the poem about the U.S., God’s grace and brotherhood extends from sea to shining sea.
Karen La Pierre