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