If it bothers you to press one for English the best advice I can offer is to get used to it because no self-respecting CEO is going to turn away customers because of a language barrier. If it bothers you when retail clerks are unable to help you find a particular brand of toothpaste, athletic socks or flashlight batteries because they don’t understand your query, the best you can do is use a mechanism known as freedom of choice and shop where employees do speak English and are able to assist you.
However, if it bothers you when a U.S. Forest Service employee loses his job as a fire-crew leader because he can’t speak Spanish to the lone member of his crew who can’t speak English, then read on.
The United States embraces more legal immigrants than all the other nations of the world combined. These immigrants arrive speaking many languages and bring with them both varied and rich traditions and customs. Historically, immigrants have integrated into our society and learned the language. As a result, the United States possesses the most remarkable amalgam of cultures on earth. Nevertheless, due to the Biden administration’s unwillingness to secure our borders, illegal immigration is becoming the most important issue facing this country.
If we are to successfully address the current situation, all Americans must come to the realization that the most solemn responsibility of government, and in particular, that of the President of the United States—is to preserve the character of this nation and its people—which is why any hint of a bilingual society distresses millions of voters.
Bilingualism may be a blessing for the individual, but it’s a bane for society. The histories of bilingual societies are histories of turmoil. Cyprus, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Canada/Quebec, the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union have all faced (and sometimes succumbed to) crises of national existence or had minorities press for autonomy or compete separation.
When Wal-Mart announces, “Special de hoy; ¡comprar tres tomates y conseguir uno libre!” over its public address system they’re simply providing a service to their customers. But when government prints ballots and drivers’ license exams in Spanish it goes far beyond “providing a service” to a narrow segment of society; it sends an unequivocal message that it’s OK for non-English speaking people not to assimilate and learn English.
Polling indicates that most Americans favor making English our “official” language; yet when a Senate roll call vote was taken a few years ago, more than half that body voted no to the measure.
Many people refer to English as our “national language,” but this is word parsing of the highest order. Those who refer to English as the “national” language as if it was the same as being the “official” language of government are patently dishonest because the two are light-years apart in meaning and consequence.
When high profile leaders make statements such as “If we make English the “official” language of government in a place like New York City, then we can’t print ballots in any other languages.” So, would someone please tell me, aside from increasing the likelihood of even more voter fraud than we had in the last presidential election, or pandering to a particular demographic, what specific benefit accrues to the American people by printing drivers’ license exams and ballots in Spanish?
If an individual wants to speak Spanish or Russian or Klingon for that matter, God bless them. However, government must have an official language, as President Theodore Roosevelt said, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag. We must also learn one language and that language is English.”
Quote of the day: “Nations are far more fragile than their citizens realize. History has demonstrated repeatedly that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of competing languages.”—Former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm