At the risk of losing whatever liberal cred I may have, I am going to agree with a columnist for NewsMax, specifically Barry Farber1:
Learn a foreign language before you die.
This is important. Americans have a reputation, not undeserved, for being insular and provincial (I don't think those are the same thing). Don't support the stereotype. Arabic is obviously important, Spanish is important, but the point is to do it. Do it to keep up on the news from a world perspective. Do it to speak to your neighbors. Do it as an act of political protest -- more and more states are enacting English-only provisions. Do it because, in one way or another, it'll help you get laid. I don't care. Learn a foreign language. I cannot stress this enough. Learn a foreign language.
In days to come, you may see refernces to blogs in Italian. My girlfriend got me a set of CDs from an Italian self-study course, and I'm trying to augment that by reading blogs in the language -- Technorati includes Italian among the dozen or so languages it tracks blogs in. I'm hoping that will help me acquire a fluency in Italian. Once that happens, I will be a better person because I'm flent in two languages.
Even though Italian isn't considered a threat to American hegemony. And even though my neighbors don't speak Italian. I think my best bets there would be Arabic or Bengali or Russian. The important thing is that I do it.
1Actually, aside from his belief that peace is a Commie plot, he doesn't seem too crazy by NewsMax standards.