It runs in the marriage, I suppose.
On Wednesday, first lady Jill Biden was in California, visiting a pop-up vaccination site for farmworkers. According to The New York Times, she was lending her support to agricultural workers who are pressing for priority access to COVID-19 inoculations.
Beyond that, she was there to try to rally the union base around President Joe Biden’s agenda, particularly the massive, $2 trillion infrastructure program he proposed on Wednesday. Her visit was meant to mark the birthday of César Chávez, the labor organizer who founded what would become the United Farm Workers.
Surprise of surprises, Biden wasn’t in Delano, California, to lend her support to Chávez’s opposition to illegal immigration. (Yes, that’s really a thing, kids. If you’ve just learned about him through your high school’s hyper-leftist pedagogy, perhaps you also don’t know that the patron saint of migrant farmworkers unionization was once tougher on illegal immigration than Jeff Sessions.)
Most media outlets reported the good pull-quotes from the speech, not the three words that undermined the whole message. We’ll get to that later, but there was plenty of lionization of field workers, factory workers and even retail workers in Biden’s remarks.
“We depended on those who kept going to work every single day,” she said, in front of what The Times described as “about 100 farmworkers and local politicians.”
“Without the farmworkers who kept harvesting our food, or the factory workers who packaged it, or the grocery store clerks who stocked our shelves, hey, we wouldn’t have made it through this year,” she said.
She also touted the Biden bona fides when it comes to organized labor.
The president, she said, “is a union person. I am a member of the teachers’ union.”
“We are a union couple,” she added.
All that pandering went down pretty well. If you read The Times’ account, it was a successful visit, right?
What The Times didn’t include was the part where she tried to hablar español:
Si Se Pwodway?
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 31, 2021
Ay, dios mío.
For those of you totally unfamiliar with the language, what Jill Biden is trying to say here (place a lot of emphasis on that trying part as you read this) is “sí, se puede,” the motto of the United Farm Workers. That roughly translates to “yes, we can.”
“Puede” is typically pronounced “pway-day;” it roughly rhymes with “payday.”
If you want a better example from a native speaker of the language, here’s Dolores Huerta — co-founder of the UFW and the woman who responsible for “sí, se puede” — explaining how it she coined it during Chávez’s 25-day water-only hunger strike in Arizona back in 1972:
I’m assuming Biden doesn’t speak Spanish as a second or third language, judging by this performance. Heck, I’m assuming she’s never even seen an episode of “I Love Lucy.” However, wouldn’t she at least get someone to brief her on this?
For Democrats, the event was — given the fact that union enthusiasm will be vital to Biden applying pressure to get his just-unveiled infrastructure plan passed — more consequential than just visiting the usually friendly environs of a UFW event at a pop-up vaccination site. Learning how to pronounce “puede,” one of the first words any first-year Spanish student will come across, mightn’t have been the worst idea.
Instead, she faked solidarity with UFW members and then undermined her whole message by slaughtering one of the easiest, most familiar words in the native tongue of most California farmworkers. Nice work.
Then again, as The Daily Caller pointed out, gaffing in Spanish isn’t specific to the distaff side of the first couple. Here’s Jill Biden’s husband trying to pronounce the name of his then-nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra:
Who did it worse? pic.twitter.com/1ZuI5367nd
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 31, 2021
As you will not be surprised to learn, it isn’t pronounced that way. (“Beh-serrah,” if you were unaware.)
On the other hand, Joe Biden’s gaffes come at us like an Obama-era gun-walking program: Fast and furious. We’re not too used to hearing something this inane from Jill Biden. But remember, as she said in September, we can’t apply the word “gaffe” to refer to anything her husband says:
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) September 27, 2020
“Oh, you can’t even go there. After Donald Trump, you cannot even say the word ‘gaffe,’” Jill Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“I can’t even say the word ‘gaffe?’” Tapper responded.
“It is — nope,” she said. “Nope. Done. It’s gone.”
Huh. Can we still use the word with her, though? If you ask me, sí, se pwodway.
Did you know that The Western Journal now publishes some content in Spanish as well as English, for international audiences? Click here to read this article on The Western Journal en Español!
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