Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The English Language

I made this post on Quaker Dave’s site, but I thought long on it and it is something that I feel quite strongly about, so I decided to include it here as well, unedited, and ready for review.

But, you are all making the same flawed argument. You are all saying in some form or another, “We as Americans should learn the language/languages of those who are coming here,” but you don’t make the same case that those who are coming here “should” learn English. You all say, we hope they do, or they should, or it will make it easier on them to learn it. But, where is the need do to learn English, and specifically I mean Spanish-speakers, if we don’t require it or if we do the “right” thing and accommodate them by changing our society? America is the greatest country on Earth because regardless of where you are from, when you come here you assimilate to become American and to strive for that American Dream. But, you all want to change that and rather than immigrants assimilating into American society, you want American society to assimilate to the immigrants.
Don’t believe me? Well I challenge you, go to the grocery store and see how many items are in English and Spanish, look at the Caution Wet Floor signs which are in both languages, go to any Lowes and all the signs are in English and Spanish and at my local Lowes all the announcement are first done in English and then Spanish.
Assimilation by Spanish-speakers is not happening. There are Spanish-language television and radio stations, and newspapers etc. The White House website has an En Espanol link to view the site in Spanish and many Congressmen and Senators as well as many businesses have the same. Yes, your heart goes out to those who are struggling to learn the language but there are many who are making no attempt to learn because they don’t have to learn it.
You may not like the means but they are justified by the ends. Immigrants should add to the country but not change it. Yes, from a scholarship standpoint, Americans should learn a second language, but English is the universal language and it is the language of this country regardless of whether it is made official or not.


Blogger Truth-Pain said...

I read that today Pub,... you got hammered pretty hard by QD and Sarah (I know how THAT feels),... but then again the mine-field there is lethal is you are not careful. I still don't get why this English notion has everybody pissed! I mean, like I said in his posting, English IS the international language of Diplomacy and Economic Markets. How can you think it is demeaning to learn the de facto lingo of the Planet! You think the U.N. gives its deliberations in Spanish? Hell, theres even English words on the Moon! (I know... but it IS true..)
Seriously, just on this alone the merit is logic-proof: How efficient would emergency services, 911 operators, Fireman, Policeman would have it if they did not have to await an interpreter to do their jobs in life and death moments?...
I don't think it should be mandatory, but to ignore learning English, even if cursory, does not reflect well on a person's IQ.

Fri Jun 02, 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger Truth-Pain said...

Yo no se porque diablos la gente esta tan enojada por esta jodienda! El hablar Ingles es aprender el lenguaje internacional de Diplomacia y Mercados Monetarios. El que no aprende Ingles, esta dejando una oportunidad de crecer y de subir a sitios que tal vez no se pudiese hacer sin saber el lenguaje...
(I just wanted to see how annoyed anybody gets that they cannot understand this.... )

Fri Jun 02, 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

i agree- but i doubt that the immigrants asked for it. the american folks did it for them for their own reasons. what those are remains to be seen. apparently, this is also a problem in australia. maybe it is a white, english nation thing? not sure why.

tp- i got the gist of your post. it was many years ago when i elected to take espanol in high school.

i think that the crux of what is wrong in this country is that our balance on everything is 'off.' by that i mean- our government; our way of life; our reactions to issues- everything is reactionary and skewed towards excess. we need to re-center ourselves to focus on what real issues are- and i am not saying that the language thing isn't important- because it is. but having read left and right blogs lately- they are all skewed towards the extreme. we need to reach some balance to reach out to each other and start resolving some of this stuff. otherwise, we will just keep shouting at each other in english and spanish and never get anywhere.

thanks for letting me rant.

Fri Jun 02, 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Truth, sadly I understood almost all of it, and that which I didn’t know I could figure out the context from the rest. Many of us in this country speak better Spanish than some of the Spanish-speaking illegals who have been in this country for years can speak English. We have let them off the hook and changed out society to them.
And betmo, I think a lot of this has to do with liberal guilt and it is liberal guilt that is ruining this country, it is the thinking of Teddy Kennedy and the rest of the North East and West Coast liberals. There is a reason why fly-over America doesn’t vote Democrat, and it is because they don’t feel guilty for anything. But, I also believe this is changing too and for the worse as long as the news and entertainment all comes out of New York and Los Angeles and Middle American continues to get bombarded with liberal guilt; we become sorry for any of our actions that can in any way offend. Why can’t we tell people to just learn English, well it’s not very PC is it? Why can’t we build a wall along the southern border, well that is not very PC is it?
I think there is a much better rant here on this whole thing, so I cam going to have to sit and put pen to paper.

Fri Jun 02, 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

"i think that the crux of what is wrong in this country is that our balance on everything is 'off.' by that i mean- our government; our way of life; our reactions to issues- everything is reactionary and skewed towards excess. we need to re-center ourselves to focus on what real issues are- and i am not saying that the language thing isn't important- because it is. but having read left and right blogs lately- they are all skewed towards the extreme. we need to reach some balance to reach out to each other and start resolving some of this stuff. otherwise, we will just keep shouting at each other in english and spanish and never get anywhere."

ok- nothing that i said there had anything to do with being politically correct. i agree with you completely that immigrants who come here should do so legally and learn at least enough of the english language to communicate effectively with the natives. by the same token, we should learn spanish and french and chinese, and korean, etc- not because we have to- but because we need to learn to communicate effectively with the rest of the world. most other countries in the world have citizens fluent in several languages. not us. anyway, my point wasn't that we should or shouldn't be politically correct or that we should or shouldn't address the immigration issue in some fashion.

my point was- americans are not listening to each other over the rhetoric. rhetoric from both sides. we are not even attempting to check or balance anything in our daily lives or political lives- and my point was- this ain't working. we aren't going to solve anything by trying to force the other side into doing it 'my way.' what made this country last as long as it has was comprimise. if we continue to narrowly define ourselves into categories- left/right, hispanic/texan, christian/muslim- we aren't going to get very far in this country or in the global community. whether you want to acknowledge it or not- time passes on and technology and the way we look at the world changes. that's not a liberal notion- that's the truth.

Fri Jun 02, 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

In defense of myself:

1) I have no "liberal" guilt. First off, I don't even define myself as a liberal, I just happen to embrace some liberal ideas. Plus, I live in Michigan, which is a socially conservative state.

2) I won't make apologies for thinking of the welfare of others. I don't consider selfishness a virtue - neither should the good "Christians" in the "red" states.

3) Maybe "red state" America should pay more attention to what is going on in the world. Contrary to popular belief, life doesn't revolve around God, guns, and government.

4) I never said immigrants should NOT learn English. It's an essential. But let's use some common sense - it takes time to learn a new language.

5) Don't bring "political correctness" into the argument. That is so 90's. I'm sick of the term - we have to deal with the realities of a mixed America, not pretend that talking about issues that affect people who are not white, conservative, and Christian is being "politically correct."

It's a very sad reality - we are divided by skin color, language, and religious belief. We have to deal with the reality of the situation and not take an extremist position - it solves nothing.

Building a wall will solve nothing. Demanding that immigrants learn English on the spot will solve nothing.

We need a better solution that is within the tradition of the American spirit.

Unfortunately, we are not going to solve the problem here, so I am going to drop the subject. But I had to get some things off my chest.

Fri Jun 02, 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Betmo, that was not an attack on you more a rant as part of a continuation of my day.

But, you are right, throughout most of the world people speak more than one language except for the U.S. and south of there. People in the U.S. don’t learn other languages because English is the universal language. The U.S. has been at the forefront of music, entertainment, business, technology, sports and world power and the rest of the world learned English rather than everyone trying to learn every other language on Earth. But, the irony is that you can go to Europe, and I have been to Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic and the people all spoke English there. Does that mean I didn’t try to learn some of their language as a means of being polite even though I was only visiting, no, I learned some basic words in their language but because I was only visiting there was little need to learn more. I think the problem is that once again it puts the onus on us, we should learn their language but we only hope they learn ours when the come here to live. I’m sorry but if I can go to Budapest and border goulash and a beer in English, I should be able to order and hamburger at McDonalds in English too.

On your second point, I agree to an extent. People on both sides of an issue often talk past or over each other rather than talking to one another. That’s one of the reasons I keep this site up and going everyday because I know that not everyone who comes here agrees with me nor I with them, but at least we can talk to one another and learn from one another. But, this is not a nation of compromise, or at least it wasn’t when this nation became the greatest nation on Earth, when we did compromise it only led to trouble.
This nation compromised on slavery and that compromise in the Constitution (3/5ths Compromise) and the 1850 Compromise led to the Civil War. We compromised on Civil Rights and we had segregation and Jim Crow Laws. We did not compromise with Hitler and we took down fascism, but then compromised with Stalin and Eastern Europe fell into communist hands. But, we did not compromise on communism and the U.S. helped bring freedom to those Eastern Europe countries. In a compromise you only get half of what you want or less.

Now, I do think we narrowly define ourselves. But, few of us would only use one words to describe ourselves, I am a social conservative, fiscal liberal, Catholic, redneck, Virginian. I make no apologies for who I am. If you (and here I mean anyone you) don’t like that, fine, but tell me why, and we will discuss why you think I am wrong, but don’t just tell me I am wrong and walk away. Life is not as short as we think, if we put down the remote and talked to people more we would all grow as a people. I hate the tiny little apartments and houses they have in Europe. But so do the Europeans, so they go out to pubs or coffee houses and meet people and sit and talk and discuss matters. They don’t lock themselves into giant Mc Mansions and turn on the tv and watch the news that aggress with their views or drive to work by themselves and listen to the talk radio station that aggress with their views. They get out and about. A more perfect society would combine the American work ethic and the European leisure time to create a more perfect life for all of us.

Fri Jun 02, 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

i didn't really take offense- i was perplexed. i have to disagree on the comprimise- if the colonies had not comprimised after the revolutionary war- and come up with the constitution- we wouldn't be here. i meant comprimise with each other. there is no progress if we don't work together. we all have to live here and if we don't do something to get along- we could very easily have another civil war. really there is no need. we have co-existed just fine for decades and found common ground. the folks in power need to concede our civil liberties back- i don't feel the comprimise magic on that one. it's funny- you said that we need to talk to each other more and yet not comprimise. isn't that paradoxical? i did post on tp's blog that i appreciate a forum to get the opposite side's perspective in a logical, thoughtful, spirited way without the vitriol. for that i thank you. i also thank you for the right to disagree with you on your turf. right or left we can at least debate.

Sat Jun 03, 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Truth-Pain said...

jeez Pub... you seem to be having all the fun with this topic tonight,... and me working on some mindless posting...
...look what i was missing!

Sat Jun 03, 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Sarah, I do hope you come back to this post. Although I am not going to go over every point you made, which are all your viewpoints and valid, but I don’t agree on some.

First, the world does revolve around God, guns, and government. The terrorists we are fighting against attacked us because we are not Muslim radicals like them. Their “martyrdom” depends on killing those who do not believe. Every country in the world is in danger of an Iran with nuclear weapons and a half-wit, who likes the Holocaust although doesn’t admit it happened, and would have his finger on the button. As for government, which democratic nations are fighting each other anywhere in the world right now? Democracies don’t fight one another, they settle differences diplomatically.

And there is no perfect solution that is going to please everyone on the immigration issue. But, we can not keep the border as porous as it remains with millions being smuggled in and millions of pounds of drugs coming in as well. Yes, in some ways I am against building a wall along the whole border, I think it goes against the ideals of a democratic society to build walls. But, the only other options are either to militarize the border or hope no one comes. Well, they are coming, and militarizing the border is worse than building a wall.

And the reality of illegal immigration is that in the short term it does not hurt me. But, it does hurt the poorest among us regardless of race and it especially hurts poor blacks. It does help the rich who get to make more off the backs of illegal immigrants and it does help the rich who get all their “menial” tasks done at cheaper wages. But, in the long term it does hurt me, because it will add to the Welfare rolls, it will crush Social Security, it will lead to further congestion, and it will cost more in taxes for schools and social services, all of which I will have to pay.

Sat Jun 03, 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Betmo, I am a bit of an idealist here. I don’t believe in compromise. I do believe there is a right way to do things. Now, I have my idea on what is the right way and someone else has theirs. But, if we sit and discuss it, I will learn from you and you will learn from me and rather than a compromise I believe we can come to a consensus, not where we each get 50% of what we want, but we both agree 100%. If that means I learn that I am wrong and learned the other side and change my mind, all the better. The sad thing is this is not always possible, but doesn’t a consensus sound better than a compromise?

Sat Jun 03, 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

no- not necessarily because compromise means conceding a little on both sides and that isn't a bad thing. consensus is ok but i don't agree with not remaining open to compromise. keeping both open means that the best deal for everyone will be reached but you can't remain unchanging and expect to get anywhere. i know that reagan's "tear down this wall" speech was rousing but it was much behind the scenes work by john paul 2 that toppled the iron curtain.

Sat Jun 03, 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Hey Publius - I did come back and read your comments! I really enjoy your blog, even if we don't agree on some issues.

Life is very complicated - I don't see the world from a black/white perspective. God knows the Middle East is WAY more complicated than presented by the media!

I bet we can agree on one thing - I want to see radical Islam eradicated. Even though I frown on the war going on in Iraq, I wonder if perhaps it will spread democratic ideas to a theocratic area? I especially frown on Iran - another thing we can agree on. I've long been a supporter of Israel, mainly because it's really the only free democracy in the Middle East. I feel for the citizens of the Middle East, because they are being suppressed by fanatical religion and oppressive governments that brainwash them into lies, such as irrational hatred of the United States.

Publius, I actually agree with most of your post, when it comes to immigration. In fact, I am not somebody who supports illegal immigration - if you can believe that, from my posts! It's just the whole national language thing that will throw me into a tizzy, even though I absoultely believe all immigrants should learn English.

You actually made a statement, I think at Truth-Pain's blog, which I agreed with. You said we need to be a democratic nation that respects the rule of law. I agree 100% with that statement.

See - we CAN agree on some things! Plus, I apologize if I "hammered" you too harshly. I do lose my temper easily - but if I take time to think through everything, I can be much more rational!

See - American Aries, that's me : )

Sat Jun 03, 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Sarah, thank you for the words and I agree with you on everything you said. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t really care if we make English the “national language,” but I do think two things.
First, voting booths should be in English and this is not a literacy test which is illegal, but if people who can’t read can still vote then people who can’t read English although they are citizens should be able to do the same.
Second, if I go into Chinatown in DC and the store fronts are in Chinese that’s fine. A couple years back I was in the Polish section of Brooklyn and all the signs were in Polish which I thought was actually pretty cool. But, if we make every product now in both English and Spanish, if we make all of our signs in both English and Spanish, and with all Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, with all Spanish-language television and radio stations and Spanish newspapers, and if we teach kids in schools in Spanish because they don’t know English, we take away a lot of the incentives to learn English. If you come to this country from any country in the world that does not speak Spanish, you have to learn English or you can’t get by, but we are preventing the assimilation of Spanish speakers because we are so willing to say, “They will learn it eventually.” Well, a lot of them are not.

Sat Jun 03, 09:18:00 PM  

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