Cornyn: Bilingual People Invading the Country!

To say that Sen. John Cornyn is not one of the brighter members of the Senate is to flatter by understatement. But he knows how to play into xenophobic fears with the best of them. On a radio show the other day he expressed alarm that people who speak other languages are crossing the border.

“You gotta stop the flow of people coming across and my friends and your friends Edd who have places in South Texas tell me, as a matter a fact a guy told me last night, he said we’ve got people coming across our place speaking Chinese, French and basically all of the languages in the world, coming through and across our southern border,” Cornyn said during an interview on KSEV.

This is standard right wing political demagoguery. Many studies show that conservatives are far more motivated by fear than liberals and that’s why xenophobia has such strong appeal to them. They are all about tribalism and being afraid of the Other. Thus the “ZOMG, they speak French!” reaction.

37 comments on this post.
  1. Mr Ed:

    It is getting harder and harder to tell conservatives from poor April fools jokes.

  2. zippythepinhead:

    Je ne parle pas francais.

  3. timgueguen:

    Yeah, people speaking foreign like are dangerous. How is a Patriot going to eavesdrop on them and overhear their evil scheme if they aren’t speaking American?

  4. postwaste:

    Sadly, he’s the sane senator from my home state.

  5. Marcus Ranum:

    I’m betting that if his ancestors and he managed to eventually learn English, the new immigrants’ll handle it fine.

  6. Gretchen:

    he said we’ve got people coming across our place speaking Chinese, French and basically all of the languages in the world, coming through and across our southern border

    And the problem with that is..?
    Qual es la problema?
    Hvad er problemet?

  7. shouldbeworking:

    Next amendment to the immigration laws: prohibiting anyone from entering the USA who can count past 10 without removing their shoes and socks first.

  8. glodson:

    Sadly, he’s the sane senator from my home state.

    Ted Cruz is something special.

  9. raven:

    That is so bizarre as to be funny.

    Texas one of five ‘minority-majority’ states | San Marcos Mercury …
    Simmercury. com/2012/05/…/ texas-one-of-five-minority-majority-stat…

    May 17, 2012 – The map below shows the ratio of minority to non-Hispanic white children … “The future of the United States, like the future of states like Texas, …

    Texas is minority white state.

    I’m sure if he visited the SF bay area or LA, he would go into shock. Huge numbers of people speak Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and dozens of other languages.

  10. frog:

    Let’s go one better! Let’s forbid Americans from holding public office if they can’t speak English correctly. That would get this yahoo out tout suite, if this quote is a typical example. He puts the “blithering” in “blithering idiot.”

  11. Pierce R. Butler:

    Back in the meltdown year of 2000, the Bush campaign pretended that their candidate could speak Spanish.

    Fortunately, there was no record of him ever having traveled to whatever that place is south of Texas, so Cornyn was (just barely) able to contain his panic that he might have entered the state from that direction.

  12. cptdoom:

    I’m sure if he visited the SF bay area or LA, he would go into shock. Huge numbers of people speak Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and dozens of other languages.

    Hell, he’d really blow a gasket if he just visited any random neighborhood in NYC or chatted with the cabbies on line at National Airport.

  13. Reginald Selkirk:

    For some reason this reminds me of the scene in Inglorious Basterds in which Bard Pitt is speaking Italian.

  14. Trebuchet:

    @#11:

    Back in the meltdown year of 2000, the Bush campaign pretended that their candidate could speak Spanish.

    Fortunately, there was no record of him ever having traveled to whatever that place is south of Texas, so Cornyn was (just barely) able to contain his panic that he might have entered the state from that direction.

    According to Wikipedia, Bush visited Mexico six times while president.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_visits_to_Mexico

    As I recall, there were some ruffled feathers in our neighbor to the North because he visited Mexico instead of making Canada his first foreign visit, as was apparently sort of traditional. The joke at the time was the Bush visited Mexico first because the language of Mexico is Spanish, and Bush was fluent in Spanish. The languages of Canada are English and French, and Bush wasn’t fluent in either.

  15. Larry:

    ¿Quién es más tonto : Senador Cronyn o un bolso de martillos?

    Si, el Senador Cronyn es mucho, mucho más mudo que un bolso de martillos

  16. oranje:

    C’est dommage! Also, if they’re worried about more than hearing just Spanish? Why aren’t they freaking out about the (much larger) northern border? Is it because they like Don Cherry so much?

  17. Modusoperandi:

    Headline: “Watch out for the foreigners and their foreign tongues!” says Irish-descendant with no sense of irony.

  18. baal:

    Learning foreign languages is good pedagogy. It also makes you better at English and familiarity with a ‘foreign’ culture helps to remove fear…oh right, we don’t want that.

  19. Synfandel:

    Here in the Workers’ Paradise of Canada, it’s pretty hard to get elected the leader of a national political party if you can’t speak both English and French competently. It happens occasionally, but the new party leader then gets put on a crash course and learns whichever language he or she lacks with utmost haste.

  20. John Hinkle:

    Cornyn’s implication, obviously, is that some of the border crossers are speaking the Muslim language! And they probably write secret messages using the Muslim alphabet!

  21. democommie:

    “To say that Sen. John Cornyn is not one of the brighter members of the Senate is to flatter by understatement.”

    Do you ever get the feeling, Ed, when writing about the brainless trust that is the modern GOP, that big city sports guys do when announcing the results of dozens of local and state school conests? I mean, they’ve been able to come up with a literal cornucopedia (figureatively speaking) of terms for “beating”, running to scores if not hundreds of synonyms. All you really seem to have to work with is “dumb, dumber, HOLY FUCK!” degrees of pathological dishonesty and Schaivolevellian lack of brainwave activity, insufficiently disguised as rational thought.For a small fee, I could rectify that problem.

  22. alanb:

    I’m sure if he visited the SF bay area or LA, he would go into shock. Huge numbers of people speak Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and dozens of other languages.

    Hell, he’d really blow a gasket if he just visited any random neighborhood in NYC or chatted with the cabbies on line at National Airport.

    Actually, all he has to do is walk a few blocks from his Senate office to any of the tourist areas on or near the Mall.

  23. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati:

    You’d think that in the U.S., with our unusual diversity of places of ancestry, we’d make a multilingual population a point of pride. Hell, we’re well-placed for a reinvention as a sort of…superpower for cultural diplomacy. Lost opportunities…

  24. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith:

    For some reason this reminds me of the scene in Inglorious Basterds in which Bard Pitt is speaking Italian.

    Arriverdertchi

    he said we’ve got people coming across our place speaking Chinese, French and basically all of the languages in the world, coming through and across our southern border

    Muahhahahahah !

    Tremblez devant notre puissante grammaire, pauvres anglophones !

    *twirls mustache*

    BTW, he’s looking in the wrong direction, us wily French-speakers generally cross your borders from the north, or simply get down from planes.

  25. Modusoperandi:

    M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati “You’d think that in the U.S., with our unusual diversity of places of ancestry, we’d make a multilingual population a point of pride. Hell, we’re well-placed for a reinvention as a sort of…superpower for cultural diplomacy. Lost opportunities…”
    America was (and is) a beacon to the world, beaconing out to the world’s unbeaconed, beaconing them to America’s beaconing shores for generations. There should be pride. Just not in the waves of immigrants after mine.*
     
    * Statement sourced from the descendants of every previous wave when a new wave from a new place arrives.

  26. slc1:

    Re Reginald Selkirk @ #13

    Spelling Nazi here. It’s Brad Pitt.

  27. Jadehawk:

    Bilingual People Invading the Country!

    just wait until he finds out about us tri-lingual immigrants :-p

  28. laurentweppe:

    They are all about tribalism and being afraid of the Other. Thus the “ZOMG, they speak French!” reaction.

    Sans oublier le fait que bon nombre parmi leurs chefs sont des branquignols arrivés là où ils sont par la grâce du népotisme des gosses de riches et qui, par conséquent, vivent avec la peur de voir plus futés qu’eux les renverser chevillée au corps.

  29. Pierce R. Butler:

    Trebuchet @ # 14: … Bush visited Mexico six times while president.

    Yabbut that was after he “won” the presidency.

    Before that, according to numerous accounts during Y2K, his only foreign experience involved attending a friend’s wedding in Scotland. (Oddly enough, the Scots allowed him in, even though he only spoke a language endemic to a nation to their south which had launched repeated invasions of their beloved homeland.)

  30. Francisco Bacopa:

    I’m sure if he visited the SF bay area or LA, he would go into shock. Huge numbers of people speak Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and dozens of other languages.

    Not so much shock I think. He has a house in Houston and can find plenty of communities like that here. Not much Tagalog, though I did notice a Filipino church opening up in a strip mall a few days ago.

  31. slavdude:

    I was born in the good ol’ US of A and am a native English-speaker, but I’ve also spoken Commie (er, Russian) since I was 12 and consider myself bilingual. Of course, I don’t live in Texas, but in Colorado, home of Tommy One-Note Tancredo (sounds furrin). My paternal grandfather was bilingual in German and English, having emigrated from Austria in 1907, when he was 10 years old. Where do I fall on Cornyn’s scale of acceptable people?

  32. democommie:

    @31:

    “Where do I fall on Cornyn’s scale of acceptable people?”

    That depends, how many gunz do you haz?

  33. nick:

    He’d better get to work on locking down his eastern border with Louisiana, too, so none of the Frenchies from there cross over.

  34. shouldbeworking:

    What does the honourable* gentleman from Texas think of Latin? E Pluribus Unum

    *please forgive the correct foreign spelling.

  35. dan4:

    From reading his statement, I’m wondering if Cornyn even understands the concept of “bilingualism.”

  36. paulburnett:

    In the security/badge office where I worked a few jobs ago:

    Young Anglo Security Officer: “Were you born in this country, Mr. Sanchez?”

    Very Indio-Looking Visitor: “Yes, I was born in Arizona.”

    Young Anglo Security Officer: “And how long have your people been in this country?”

    Very Indio-Looking Visitor: “My ancestors crossed the Bering Land Bridge and came to this country about eleven thousand years ago. How long have YOUR ancestors been in this country?”

    Young Anglo Security Officer: “Huh?”

  37. birgerjohansson:

    Mr Ed,
    …And happy April 1st.
    http://www.thelocal.se/46930/20130401/
    “Swedish archaeologists find Thor’s Hammer “

    I wonder how many of those Fox viewers would understand this is a joke.

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