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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/16/09

The Sotomayor confirmation battle -- fait accompli .

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The Sotomayor confirmation battle is over!  I'm surprised it lasted this long.  Think about it.  We select judges to sit in judgment.  What does this slacker have to show for all her years on the bench?  The only thing she ever produced were opinions.  Thousands of opinions.  Big deal.  Everyone has opinions.  She's applying for a position as a Supreme Court Judge, not a Supreme Court Pundit. 

That's just the beginning of her problems.   She isn't even consistent with her opinions.  Sometimes she agrees with people, sometimes she doesn't.  How are you going to predict her behavior in the future?  No wonder she is so inscrutible, she's a foreigner. You want proof?  She uses foreign language in her opinions!  That's right. 

Hoc Puerto Rican-American inhibeo lengua alienus!

Where I come from, them's fightin' words!  That's outrageous!  Whose fault is it that such a person could be allowed to sit in judgement on ordinary full-blooded Americans?  Good question.  I blame our public schools for this.  I expect her opponents will too.

Thank God the Wall Street Journal broke the story about Sotomayor being Puerto Rican-American.  Until then, everyone thought she was from New York.  Now we know she's part of a sleeper cell.  Of course, I'd never heard of this one.  I've heard of Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Japanese-American even African-Americans.  But Puerto Rican-American?

In the America I grew up in, hyphenated labels were important because they helped full-blooded Americans identify interlopers and potential fifth columnists.  That way we knew who to treat like suspects when we went to war with their native land.  Since 9/11 we've taken this to a new level, but this is overkill. 

Say what you want about Puerto Rico, we won't be going to war with them any time soon.  Everyone agrees we won decisively.  Don't believe me? Then explain why the Navy stopped bombing Vieques ages ago.  The bottom line: Puerto Ricans are Americans, even if they come from New York.  That's the real reason I don't like calling them Puerto Rican-Americans.  That's like calling them American-Americans.  Which means they are more American than real Americans.  You know that can't be right.  A lot of Puerto Ricans don't even speak English.  Some cynics might point out that didn't stop George Bush from becoming president.   That's different.  Dubya is such a true-blue American he doesn't speak English.  That's why Tony Blair was part of his administration.

At this point,  I expect  the politically correct Mafia will try to derail this train of thought and complain I left out Native Americans.  I was going to mention them, but frankly I have a whole bunch of reservations about that label so I'm just going to move on. 

If the PC Police think I'm being unreasonable, please note I did include African-American in the list.  I thought that was really white of me.  Last time I checked Africa isn't even a country.  In that sense, they're sort of like Palestinians only on a grand scale.  Sure it's an oversimplification, but who has time to learn the names of all those different countries?  Besides, we all know where that would lead us.  Start down that slippery slope and next thing the PC storm troopers will demand we "acknowledge and celebrate" people's tribal origins when we label them.  Are we really ready to start calling people Ashanti-Americans, Zulu-Americans, Yoruba-Americans?  And what happens if your grand parents were from different tribes?  How many hypens are we going to allow? 

That might be cool if we're playing Scrabble at a cocktail party, but imagine how disrupting that will be to the census.   Disrupt the census and you're messing with the Constitution.  That's why words matter, and that's why it doesn't matter what words you use when you label people.   We're Americans.  I know Canadians and Mexicans like to claim they are Americans too.  But that's crazy talk. If Mexicans were really Americans we wouldn't call 'em Mexican-Americans would we?  I rest my case.

I'm sure hyphenated names were important to our forefathers, but times change.  Outside of discriminating against possible fifth-columnists I don't see much value in these hyphenated names. They just confuse stuff.  For a long time people seriously argued Barack Obama was black but he wasn't African-American.  That actually makes sense.  His father's country of origin wasn't Africa; he was from Kenya.  At least that is what they claim.  But I got my doubts.  Have you ever seen pictures of Barack Obama running in a marathon?  Me neither.  Until I see a certificate that says Obama's ever finished a marathon, I'm witholding judgment about his father's nation of origin.

Now that we know labels are suspect, we have to go with something else to defend America against terrorists.  I think names are a good way of doing that.  What kind of name is Sotomayor anyway?  It's not a real American name like Roberts, Kennedy, O'Connor, Alito, Scalia, or Ginsburg.  Actually Ginsburg isn't an American name.  It's a Jewish name.  Lord knows, Jews aren't even trying to be Americans.  If they were, they'd use the hyphen like everyone else who isn't a real American.  Have you ever seen anyone talk about a Jewish-American Princess?  Of course not.  Besides, if they were trying to integrate into our culture we'd see more of their words in our language.  What kind of putz would have the chutzpah to make that claim?  I rest my case.

Now some will try to defend these interlopers and say that Yiddish is a dead language.  They're right.  It died with vaudeville because it was part of the  act.  That's the problem with Sotomayor.  She's using languagne to pull a Tiger Woods on us.  When people tried to label him, he shot back declaring himself a Cablinasian.  That's not a racial or ethnic category.  That's a neologism wrapped in a portmanteau.  The wily entrepreneur knew Americans wouldn't be able to handle a portmanteau.  That's a French word.  You can argue whether or not it's kosher to use a foreign word to debate who is and who is not a real American, but that's not the point.  He just wanted to befuddle his critics, and he succeeded brilliantly.

Well, Sotomayor is going one step further.  Except instead of using a concept in a language people actually speak, she hides her thinking behind opinions that rely on words written in Latin.  If you think Yiddish is a dead language ... then what's Latin, extinct?  Have you ever heard recordings of Cicero or Julius Caesar?  Of course not.  Are there any Latin translators at the UN?  Of course not.   If you want to impress your date, do you order wine in Latin?  "In vino veritas" will not get you laid.... trust me.  Do any movies use Latin subtitles?  No.  And what sort of music is Latin music?  It's no more Latin than Latin America.  They stole that label just like they stole the land to make Latin America.   I'm not accusing her, specificially.  I'm just saying maybe people who use "Latin" in their labels need to be coughing up some reparations to the descendents of the Roman Empire.   

But I ain't gonna open that Pandora's Box.  Ain't gonna do it because Pandora's Box starts with "P" which rhymes with "T" and that stands for Trouble.  That's right my friends.  We got Trouble, right here in Chocolate City. 

Now you know what the media is afraid to tell you.   The Sotomayor nomination is doomed to defeat.  No matter how much time and money they spend trying to decipher her rulings, Americans will be as baffled by her verbal defenses as they are by the Dead Sea Scrolls.  In the end, Americans just won't be able to fathom her foreign ways.  All that Latin is greek to the average American.  We all know what that means.  If it's foreign, then it's not American... and that's wrong.  I rest my case.



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For starters, I am not the Henry Porter who writes for the Observer in Britain. I'm a native New Yorker living in Maryland. I used to believe knowledge was power. Now I know knowledge translated into action is power.
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