“We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.” – President Theodore Roosevelt (1907)
For Advent, I made a commitment to blog about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).
So I’m not going to vent about the thing that has had me steaming and spewing for the past 3 hours. However, I do find that I need to at least quote a couple small bits of the offending paragraph in order to put the results of my research into context.
The thing that set my hair afire is a paragraph on page 5 of a booklet the church passed out to explain recent changes in the words we say at Holy Mass. To wit,
“States promote English-only legislation to protect citizens from having to use a second language” and support for such legislation arises from a “phobia concerning foreign languages.”
It makes me NUTS that the Leftists in my church just could NOT resist the opportunity to use an official publication to shove one of their bigoted position down our throats.
Taking long, deep breaths.
Praying for patience.
So how many Americans fall into this vile category of phobic protectionists bitterly clinging to their mother tongue?
Well, it turns out … it’s most of us, including a majority of Democrats. In fact, thirty-one states have passed legislation declaring English as their official language and several more are considering similar legislation.
June 11, 2011 Rasmussen poll
Do you support having ballots printed in English only?
YES – 58%.
Breakdown by groups, ordered by size:
Republicans – 78%; Independents – 60%; Democrats – 59%.
Mainstream voters – 67%; Political class – 57%.
Breakdown by race/ethnicity:
Whites – YES 64%; Other – Evenly divided; Blacks – NO 71%.
How weird is it that BLACKS (not Hispanics) are the ONLY group that has a majority in favor of Spanish-English ballots!?!?! And check out how OUT OF TOUCH the political class is with the rest of America. Sheesh.
For myself, I think it’s absurd that they’re trying to classify everyone who objects to SPANISH as some kind of bigot. The first generation immigrants in MY community are Russian and Chinese!
As for supposedly being “phobic” about learning a foreign language, puh-leeze. I took 4 years of French, a year of Russian and a semester of Polish. My husband took 4 years of German. My younger two each took 3 years of Spanish and my eldest took four years each of both French AND Spanish.
So what do the people who agree with me say are our reasons? For answers, I turned to the nation’s two leading advocates for declaring English as our official language.
- In a pluralistic nation such as ours, the function of government should be to foster and support the similarities that unite us, rather than institutionalize the differences that divide us.
- Our nation’s public schools have the clear responsibility to help students who don’t know English to learn that language as quickly as possible. To do otherwise is to sentence the child to a lifetime of political and economic isolation.
- The study of foreign languages, as an academic discipline, should be strongly encouraged.
- The right to use other languages must be respected
The passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed.
U.S. ENGLISH’s current chairman Mauro E. Mujica is an immigrant. He says, “Learning English was never an option nor was it something to which I objected or feared. It was required for success if I wanted to enjoy a prosperous life in the United States.”
At Wikipedia’s article about the English-only movement, the “Criticism” section lists the following reasons people oppose English-only.
- People who want English-only are “fascists” who harbor “hatred and suspicion of aliens and immigrants.”
- In some states where English-only laws have been passed, several stupid people have used them to punish students for speaking Spanish in class, in hallways, and on a school bus.
- A belief in the importance of a common language to a nation’s identity is misguided.
- Legislating a common language is unconstitutional.
Isn’t it interesting how it is only the Pro groups that cite economic, political and social opportunities available to immigrants who become fluent in English?
One might wonder if the Antis actually WANT to hamper Hispanics and other minorities — like Native Americans who cling to their tribal languages and Blacks who speak only “ghetto” — from becoming prosperous, mainstream members of American society.
Not that I would ever ASSUME that someone who opposes English-only is, by definition, a plantation-style bigot. That would be narrow-minded, prejudiced and intolerant (not to mention an ad Hominem logical fallacy) … all sins I strive NOT to commit. So let’s just delete #1 from the list, okay?
As for #2, are they kidding? The cure for stupid people is education about the real limits of the law, not refusing to pass the law. Duh. Strike that one as well.
#3 and #4 can stay. They are valid points that can and should be debated on their merits.
But good luck finding anyone who will argue the Anti side logically and without recourse to ad Hominem arguments.
Poll results reported at: