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A Bilingual Nation

"After Latin, it seems to me there is no language so fitted for prayer and for talk about God as Spanish: for it is a language at once strong and supple, it has its sharpness, it has the quality of steel in it, which gives it the accuracy that true mysticism needs, and yet it is soft too, and gentle and pliant, which devotion needs, and it is courteous and suppliant and courtly, and it lends itself surprisingly little to sentimentality. It has some of the intellectuality of French but not the coldness that intellectuality gets in French: and it never overflows into the feminine melodies of Italian. Spanish is never a weak language, never sloppy, even on the lips of a woman." -- Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, p. 306

To you cultural conservatives of the United States, to those of you who fear change, who fear globalization, who fear those who may look or sound different than you, have no fear! Or better stated, admit your fears and confront them head on.

The population of the United States is roughly 325 million. The population of Latin America -- which comprises the lands to our south, the lands which make up the rest of our hemisphere -- is roughly 650 million.

In a globalizing world, we must acknowledge this reality, namely that most of our hemisphere speaks Spanish as the primary language. It is not a stretch, then, to acknowledge that, moving into the 21st century and beyond, learning Spanish is an asset.

As such, set aside any prejudices in this regard. Challenge any negative preconceptions you may have with things like the quote above from Thomas Merton. And then dive into Spanish. Accept it. Learn it. Speak it and use it.

Once you do, you'll see firsthand that it truly is "a language at once strong and supple."

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