Friday, November 24, 2006

English only is wrong message to send

Communities like Farmers Branch here in North Texas, as well as many others throughout the United States, are simply misguided in their efforts to legislate (through resolution or ordinance) to make English as the “official” language of the land, state, county or city. Hell, in many places it isn’t the common language spoken around the dinner table.
This is a truth that many people fail to grasp – you can survive in this country without speaking English. You can even thrive somewhat without that ability. That is actually the beauty of America – opportunity is NOT limited by language, only by ability and the willingness to do what is needed to succeed. And success is not defined solely by English.
However, what you cannot do is expand your circle of influence. You cannot communicate adequately with others who do not speak your language singularly. You cannot share your life, your experience or knowledge with others. That does not benefit people in the long run; our society expands and betters itself through such share communication.
That is certainly an incentive to learn English. It is a wise judgment which holds that a person living in a particular country should (but not MUST) learn to converse and read in the native tongue. It’s a real good idea, BUT … it should not be the absolute law of the land. An inclusive nation should never go around legislating exclusivity; it
It confounds me when people who claim to seek less intrusion by government into their lives are SO willing to use that same governmental whip to mandate certain social behavior to conform to their individual needs and wants. It is just too hypocritical for words.
The current English-only debate is, at its core, bigoted and racist. Those are two harsh words to bandy about, but truth, sadly, hurts. It is directed at a particular group of people – Mexicans and even at Mexican-Americans (people who were born in the United States and get lumped into the box, labeled “illegal immigrants”). There are hundreds of thousands of American households where English is never spoken on a daily basis, and a huge number of them do not involve Spanish. Many older Jews converse in Yiddish or Hebrew; many Indians utilize Farsi; many Asians speak merely Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Thai.
Yet not one ounce of derision is directed toward these nationalities. If anyone honestly believes that all these people are in this country legally, think again! Please note that not ever “Hispanic” is from Mexico. Besides, there is federal law which allows for “legal” illegal immigration among a select group of Hispanics. If you are Cuban, and you escape that island and reach U.S. soil without getting caught by the Coast Guard or Navy, you are granted automatic asylum by the federal government. Now why is that?
People don’t react well when facing the barrel of a gun. They tend to act in opposite direction of the law’s intention. Besides, the best method to achieve change is to get the other person to believe it was his/her idea and go after it. In the end, the change is what is really sought. Credit only goes to those vain enough to need it.
Advocate – don’t legislate! Convince people based on the strength and moral superiority of the argument. If this were employed by more people toward the issue of abortion, we would have fewer procedures. And then people could debate how best to care for these children, instead of ripping the nation apart by the ferocity of individual morals forced upon the masses.
You attract converts with honey better than with sandpaper – regardless of how you pronounce the word, “honey.”

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