You may remember the big news that the winner of the last month’s Powerball lottery was a resident of Puerto Rico. When I found out, I glanced at my watch and said, “Offensive tweets starting… now!”
Yes, social media got a little more absurd, and a lot more bigoted, when patriotic Americans found out that a Latino had won the huge prize. We got the usual “I thought this was America!” and outrage that “an illegal” had won the lottery and just plain racist insults directed at the winner. Many of these thoughtful individuals were incised that some swarthy person in a foreign country — who doesn’t even pay taxes! — nabbed all those randomly chosen dollars.
But of course, as we all know, Puerto Rico is part of America. Residents are American citizens, and Puerto Ricans pay federal taxes including Social Security, payroll, import/export taxes, and Medicare.
However, those little facts are no match for ignorance, prejudice, and self-rightous rage.
Still, the idiocy displayed over the Puerto Rican Powerball winner was no match for an even more head-snapping display of stupidity, which occurred around the same time.
You see, the state of Vermont is considering adopting a Latin state motto. Plenty of states have one, and Latin flows freely through all kinds of US institutions.
But when the story broke, one news station was swamped with angry emails and comments from god-fearin’ Vermonters who “were mad not because of the change in motto, but because they believed that Latin was the language of Latinos.”
One truly doesn’t know where to begin.
Should we point out that Latin is not Spanish, but is actually the dead language spoken by the Romans? Or that English derives much of its vocabulary from Latin? Or that, despite their insistence, English is not our official language? Or that the motto “E pluribus unum” is… oh, never mind, it’s all too overwhelming.
Linguistics, general knowledge, and common sense aside, the main point is that many Americans are prejudiced toward Hispanics to the point of absurdity. And they are more than willing to put that hatred and stupidity on display.
Well, I have one thing to say to this people: “Res ipsa loquitur.”
Basically, it speaks for itself.