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Something else for Secretary of State Clinton to think about as she begins her visit today.
(Note: Secretary of State Clinton will travel to Mexico today to prepare for a visit next month by President Obama. The author is lecturing and writing in Mexico this spring.)
SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico — A big boulevard called Himno Nacional parallels the Avenida González Bocanegra, named for this pretty colonial city’s native son, the love poet who penned the libretto to the Mexican national anthem. The story behind the composition of the song is apt for one that millions memorize and sing not for freely felt love of the lyrics and melody, but as dutiful subjects of the State.
Legend has it that the poet, who like Ferdinand the Bull just liked the flowers and was altogether for making amor instead of guerra, was locked in a room by his ambitious fiancée, who wanted him to win the prestige of a writing competition called in 1853 by President Antonio López de Santa Anna.
After four painful hours without a trip to the loo, Francisco González Bocanegra emerged with 10 stanzas brimming with fire and gore. For his pains he won a burial place in the national pantheon in Mexico City.
While our “Star-Spangled Banner” is not exactly irenic, the Mexican anthem’s decibel meter for bellicosity goes to eleven.
It is, for an outlander, an unsettling experience to visit a private girls school and witness the little ones arrayed martially in their uniform blouses and plaid pleated skirts, their right arms rigid in the Roman salute, singing this:
Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
el acero aprestad y el bridón.
Y retiemble en su centro la tierra,
al sonoro rugir del cañón.
(Mexicans, at the cry of war,
make ready the steel and the steed,
and may the earth tremble at its center
at the resounding roar of the cannon.)
Mas si osare un extraño enemigo
profanar con su planta tu suelo,
piensa ¡oh Patria querida! que el cielo
un soldado en cada hijo te dio.
(But if some enemy outlander should dare
to profane your ground with his step,
think, oh beloved country! that heaven
has given you a soldier in every son.)
If there can be such a thing as an “over the top” Götterdämmerung, this is it in a stanza taught in school but not usually sung on official occasions:
Antes, patria, que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campiñas con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.
Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con hórrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil héroes la patria aquí fue.
(O Fatherland, ere your children, defenseless
bend their neck beneath the yoke,
may your fields be watered with blood,
may they leave their footprints in blood.
And may your temples, palaces and towers
collapse with horrid clamor,
and their ruins continue on, saying:
Of a thousand heroes, this Fatherland was.)
Kids, moms, and dads: This is not “Dora the Explorer” or “De Colores.” It’s the real deal.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?