(Page 2 of 22)
NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: I want to congratulate the senator because who knew that war in Iraq was over? Who knew that the out of control spending the Republicans have brought to Washington 11 years of budget control and that the saber-rattling by North Korea and Iran and other countries, it's over. And we can spend time on a completely inane and asinine issue. To be talking about passing resolutions in a way even, especially if they're nonbinding about what language people should be able to sing the national anthem or say the pledge after allegiance is ludicrous beyond belief. One of the great things about America is our First Amendment which guarantees political expression. Certainly the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem are political speech. And now you're trying to say that only way can you be truly American is to say it in English, which the last time I checked was the language of our colonial overlord from a couple hundred years ago.
O'REILLY: Let the senator reply.
GILLESPIE: We've gotten by for over 200 years without having this type of stuff on the books. We certainly don't need it now.
ALEXANDER: Well, that's not right at all. I'm glad he brought up Iraq. Iraq is diverse. Jerusalem is diverse. The Balkans are diverse. We don't want to be diverse like that. We celebrate our diversity, but we celebrate more importantly what we have in common. And speaking English has always been part of becoming American. And it is on the books. In order to become a citizen of the United States, you have to wait five years. You have to learn our history. And you have to learn our common language which is English through eighth grade. That is the law today.
GILLESPIE: Let me tell you something because from the Pew Hispanic Center which tracks, shows that by the third generation, Latinos who speak Spanish in the household, zero percent of them only speak Spanish. Eighty percent of them only speak English and 20 percent are bilingual and that's exactly the same process by which immigrants from Italy and central Europe in the early part of the 20th century did. You know, I have to tell you, senator.
ALEXANDER: But if you had your way sir, they'd grow up singing the "Star Spangled Banner" in another language.
GILLESPIE: So what?
ALEXANDER: They wouldn't be learning it by the third.
GILLESPIE: Yes, they would be. They would be. You know what, what I'm really kind of disturbed by is that you're telling me and you're telling millions of people like me who have non-English speaking grandparents who came here in the early part of the 20th century who never learned English, my grandfather (INAUDIBLE), my mother's side who came from Italy, never spoke a word of English. He still sang opera. He didn't sing the national anthem by the time he died after he raised kids. And you're saying this guy is not as American as you or your seven generations from Tennessee or whatever. That is just wrong.
O'REILLY: All right (INAUDIBLE). Mr. Gillespie, let the senator answer because that's a personal comment. And we'll let him answer. Senator, you got 25 seconds. Go.
ALEXANDER: There is nothing more important to our country than unity. Unity is more important than diversity. Taking all that diversity and turning it into one country is important. We do it with our common history. We do it with our principles and our founding documents and we do it with our common language and with our national symbols.
O'REILLY: Gentlemen. We got it. We got it.
ALEXANDER: (INAUDIBLE) work effort and a common efforts towards making (INAUDIBLE)
O'REILLY: We got it.