Friday, May 19, 2006

Donde esta Casa de Pepe?

Clearly one can dismiss out of hand the charge that requiring English of all citizens is a racist pursuit. That is the type of laughable hyperbole that makes politics nothing more than professional wrestling for people in horrible physical shape. But, even if it is clearly not it unreasonable?

If you can't speak English you are unemployable in the more lucrative corners of our economy. Clearly, you can't be a manager of English speakers if you can't communicate with them. Clearly, you can't be a first-responder if you are unable to communicate with the people who will need your help and direction. Clearly, if you are allowed to avoid learning English, you will be left at the bottom of the economic ladder. Encouraging people to learn English is an act of kindness that only serves to improve their lot in this country.

Also, attempting to provide services for people who do not speak English increases the cost of government for all of us. Many urban areas now employ translators. When one considers all the different languages spoken in New York or Boston, these costs can become significant. There are also printing costs and advertising costs that are incurred trying to accommodate this growing segment of society.

I'm amazed that such a sensible effort as encouraging people to learn the language of the country they live in is being opposed by 1/3 of the Senate. There is some truth to the view that in a democracy common sense prevails. But I'm very uncomfortable with how thin the margin of victory is.


The Unknown Blogger said...

I don't understand the ramifications of either law. What's the real effect of making enlish the National Language? Is it like when state officials name a state tree, or will something happen or change from whatever's going on now?

The Unknown Blogger said...

Here's your case for a lousy media article. It really says nothing substanctive enough to form an opinion. A vote was taken, but what does the vote acutally mean? Mentions lots of key words, democtrats, republicans, racism, immigration, but doesn't really say anything. The entire article is really this sentence, "Senate votes 63-34 to make English the National Language, then voted 58-39 to make English the nation's 'common and unifying language.'" (whatever THAT means)

Seriously, the rest is several hundred words that never tells the reader any more than the above sentence, followed by a random tangent on Boyd about his votes on spending more on the borders. What's that doing there?

That's not biased, its shoddy.

StalinMalone said...

I agree, this article does not have an obvious bias and is poorly conceived and executed. My point has never been that all articles are biased.

The ramification of the law is that it makes it much eaiser for schools to say, "we won't teach in any language other then English". And for 911 services to say, "we won't employ a Spanish translator to field calls". This is a groundwork laying law.

The Unknown Blogger said...

Interesting, I have two comments. First, schools. It sounds like this law directly conflicts with No Child Left Behind. If schools are rated according to meeting certain Federal standards, then not teaching English puts lots of schools at risk of failing that standard and losing funding (if I understand NCLB correctly). Granted, schools can elect to have ESL classes, (I think), but how effective will this new law be in light of the restrictions already in place through existing law? In other words, how many schools will elect not to have ESL calsses, or better yet, of the schools that have ESL prgrams, how many will now abandon them? I'm not really following this issue but it seems like more "lets pass random laws to look like we're doing something, even though it just creates a bigger mess and is conflicting" mentality that exists in politics today. One final question, are schools requred to have ESL classes even if everyone already speaks English?

On 911, I'm not sure who wins by not having translators in place to deal with emergencies. Is it worth proving a point if someone dies because there was no translation services avaliable? What if I as an English speaker am getting mauled by a wild gerbil in Miami, and the only person with a cell phone only speaks spanish. I'm pretty sure my last thoughts won't be, "Ha, I hope your learning a valuable lesson and now you'll learn English." I assume that 911 agencies manage their costs so that you don't have a Greek translator in Selena, Kansas. So if the goal of 911 is to help people, why do we need this law? Is there some legislation on the book requiring translation services for Greeks in Selena, Kansas that this overturns?

Again, what's the change? What's the reason for this law besides, to appease the large Pine tree coalition, the state tree is now the Pine?

Wow, that's a lot on something I have no idea about. These are real questions, so feel free to enlighten me.

StalinMalone said...

This law is simply a reaction to what many see as an increasing fragmentation of our population. When you can't communicate with one another; you aren't countrymen. This law does not fix that. But it lays the foundation for a shift in that direction by society.

You point out possible contradictions in current policies. You are correct and I'm sure there are many more. You need a lead dog to get the other dogs to fall in line behind. This is an attempt to create a lead dog on this issue. Is it the best way to do this? Probably not. But that's how reactive policies usually work.

The Unknown Blogger said...

Not to start a new arguement, but throughout the entire 219 year history of our nation, we've had many different dialects going at once. Beyond the initial Indian languages, Chinese immirants to the West Coast, Italian, German, Polish and Greek waves have come into the East Coast, with an initial and consistant Spanish presence in along the Southern Border, with the famous Cuban/Spanish exodus in the late-70's and early 80's, plus that whole weird Canadian thing along the Northern Border. My point is that through all of that, we've managed to be countrymen.

Honestly the fragmentation that concerns me is ideological between the Left and the Right. I think its much more damaging than a language barrier that always goes away. I read a study once (with my girlfriend in Niagra Fallas) that said the third generation of an immigrant family is no longer fluent in the original tounge. I'm just not worried about it. The melting pot melts all.

So because, philosophically I'm not concerned, I'm more concerned with the actual implications of the law. It seems to muddy more than it clears.