Monday, June 04, 2007

I expected Lou Dobbs to rush the stage

At tonight's presidential debate, Wolf Blitzer asked for a show of hands among those who thought English should be the official language. Surprising to me, only one raised their hand. Even more surprising, it was Senator Mike Gravel from Alaska, who is, besides this issue, either the most liberal candidate on the stage, or the least sane candidate in the lower tier.

His rationale is sound, that people can and should still learn other languages beside English even if it is the official language. Gravel himself knows French on top of English. However, Senator Barack Obama was the first to give the right answer, that BS issues like the official language are the mainline weapons of conservatives to divide the American people. Not between the native-English speaking and the native-(everything else) speaking, but between the tolerant and the intolerant. Something that one particular brown people-basher who somehow passes as a true American on CNN doesn't understand.

Senator Hillary Clinton is perhaps a bit inaccurate that hospitals would be prohibited from providing translation services to non-English speakers, but schools and polling places would be forced to print all of their materials in English. Ask what conservatives think about that, and they would probably picture a world where immigrants would have to motivate themselves to learn English.

Then take them to a parent-teacher conference at a public school in Chinatown, and they will get the world they are looking for, where the school can't afford a translator anyways and the Chinese parent has to make do with their child translating for them. Chinese is not an option in any official capacity to begin with. Do you think that mom is motivated to learn English at the moment?

It's easy to score points with white people when their world is all about hot dogs and NASCAR and the idea that, should they ever leave their little towns in middle America, everyone around the world can accomodate them by speaking English. The practical and realistic sure gets in the way, however.

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