English first!

Like a rat in a laboratory experiment, I behave just as any scientist would’ve predicted. Any scientist, that is, who isn’t paid under the table by some shadowy corporation to turn fiction into fact.

One puff of medical marijuana laced with melted hash oil, and in an hour I go from borderline comatose to ravenous. Found that half-eaten bag of tortilla chips that we stuffed in a cabinet before leaving Pierce County, and I’m rifling through the dregs now. I am an animal.

Wait … there are still a few crumbs to seize.

Before getting into Robert Powell, who shared visions both apocalyptic and messianic at San Jose’s Powderface cafe, I want to talk, nay rant, about something else. I’m thinking about No. 14 on the Tea Party’s non-negotiable list of core beliefs.

Something to do with English as a core language.

Disclaimer: I speak, write and dream in English. I can’t live in any other language, because I’m a typical American. So I don’t nurture any hidden biases for other, more subversive tongues.

But, English first! Once you hit California, drive through Arizona, New Mexico and get lost amid the stupefying splendor of the American southwest, the absurdity of the proposition becomes plain as the ‘Los” in Los Angeles, the “San” in San Francisco.

Take California. Please. Ha. Ha. Only a Tea Partier would smile at the silly Henny Youngman reference.

All up and down El Camino Real, the old Royal Road that stretched from San Diego to Sonoma, the story’s the same. Or at least it’s in the same language.

San Francisco. Los Angeles. San Diego.

San Jose. Santa Clara. Santa Barbara.

Santa Rosa, San Leandro, San Mateo.

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, San Rafael.

That’s just off the top of my addled head.

You get the idea. If you are culturally disposed to overlook the fact that all these places were inhabited by Indian peoples before the Europeans arrived with their galleons and their guns, you can at least pay heed to the obviousness of geographical language.

San. Santa. San. Los. Que paso, amigo?

I know the academic pursuit of history’s not high on the know-nothing agenda, but … Lesson No. 1: The goddamn Spaniards got here first. And they, in typical human fashion, were the first to try to drive the Indians into the sea, earth, or whatever was handy.

Had we not stolen, through a war as unfounded and immoral as any George Bush started and Barack Obama perpetuated, the whole of the southwest, the fire-eaters in Arizona who champion draconian immigration laws would be, that’s right, Mexicans.

Maybe it’s time to consider radical solutions to intractable immigration problems. Maybe we should offer at least Arizona back to Mexico as a goodwill gesture. Then we erect a wing of that goddamn hate wall right in the heart the southwest, delivering Jan Brewer & Co. the Mexican nightmare they so richly deserve.

Jan can then can make a deal with Chapo Guzman and the Sinoloa Cartel, or she can become a casualty of doing business as usual.

English first? Come on, nitwits.

English was not the first, nor the second, language spoken in many lands that comprise the United States of America? English, increasingly, is not the first language spoken by many of the people who inhabit those lands now. These people work, pay taxes, and raise their children as Americans on American soil. Do they really have to endure the nativist ire of the Tea Party mind?

English first? This is not just a 21st century phenomenon.

The Tea Partiers’ spiritual ancestors are the Know Nothings of the mid-19th century. They reacted viscerally, with violence and vehemence, to the immigration of Irish and German Catholics. Your basic white-on-white hatred.

English first, my ass.

Well, that’s what you get when you mix one dose of simmering indignation with one dose psychoactive drug and one cup of $2 wine.

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