Jon Huntsman for Underdog

Jon Huntsman - CaricatureJon Huntsman gives me hope. This is not to say that I would ever vote for him–the party of Lincoln will have to carve out a better track record on women, budget reform, and peace in the world beyond our borders before their national candidates get my support–but I like what he and his 1% of the electorate bring to the table.

Speaking fluent Mandarin, with experience as a U.S. ambassador to Singapore in the early 1990s and China in the mid-aughts, and a refreshingly solid belief in global climate change and evolution, he’s a moderate in a race of extremists.

It’s that first piece that I like the most. Somewhere in college, I picked up a joke about language training.

Me: What do you call someone who speaks three languages?
My forced audience: …Trilingual?
Me: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?
My forced audience: …Bilingual?
Me: What do you call someone who speaks one language?
My forced audience: …?
My forced audience: American.

Now, this joke mostly reflects the difference I see between an American education and that of my Middle Eastern and European peers. All of my friends from CMU-Qatar could speak at least one other language fluently; most of my friends in Pittsburgh (myself included) could bash our way through a conversation in Spanish, German, or even Greek, but fluent we were not.
Jon Huntsman gives me hope, because even if he never crawls above 1%, he has in a small way made being bilingual seem more American. And that’s something the party of Lincoln should be proud of.

Inspirational Quote:

“Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.”–Mark Amidon

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