Senate Votes English as National Language

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, May 18, 2006.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    wash post

    quite simply, i'm embarrassed by this. one thing i thought was nice (and unique?) about this country was the lack of an official language. "even if the populace is xenophobic," i thought, "at least the legislators know that we're supposed to be this melty-pot thingy". at least there's still one important way that we can demonstrate freedom.

    guess i was wrong. just when i think i can't be any more ashamed to be an american...
     
  2. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #2
    If they vote to use English as The National Language, then I suppose all of us need to go back to school. AFAIK, we've pretty much evolved to speaking
    American and worse.
     
  3. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #3
    zim, "embarrassing" is the right word. What makes the Senate think that we need an official language?

    Oh wait, maybe liberals have declared a "war on English".

    Hell. We don't need to encourage the speaking of English. What we need to do is discourage the speaking of Stupid.
     
  4. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #4
    it's a stupid waste of our government's time to vote on something like this

    do they think they are going to change major latino neighborhoods and "force" english as the official language

    the reality is that in some places in america, it makes sense to know some spanish and if, in a hundred years, nobody (or less than ten percent of the people) speaks english in east los angeles, for instance, what will the senate do, then? what if one day 50 million american citizens don't speak english?

    america is a young country and is still evolving and president bush and his short sighted administration are only trying to score short term political gains which will only make his legacy as the worst president ever
     
  5. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #5
    I anticipate that FEMA will handle the next natural disaster in a hispanic area, competently and efficiently in our "National Language".

    I also look forward to polling instructions for upcoming elections...
     
  6. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    you might be onto something. "ya know, most of them immigrants vote democratic..."
     
  7. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #7
    Yes. Especially after how cleanly and efficiently they handled Katrina.

    :p :p :p
     
  8. Boggle macrumors 6502

    Boggle

    #8
    At 18 I was so frustrated w/ the US that I moved out for 3 years. I livied and worked (legally in case it matters) & supported myself completely in England & Nigeria. Travelling and living in other societies really shattered some of my convictions b/c they could not stand against the reality b4 me. Other deeply held beliefs were reinforced. I think you should get out and see the world. It's an amazing place.

    If I ever make it to Antartica, I'll have hit all 7 continents. I've had pages added to my passport 3 times, & I can tell you this. most of the rest of the world has no problem w/ English being the official language of the US. What is disgraceful to most foreign cultures is that we don't mandate that ALL grades study ANOTHER language.

    I'm envious of the fact that many (if not most) Europeans speak a second language (usually English) pretty darn well. I wish we had mandatory language classes in every grade. But almost every other nation on the planet has an official language, and NOBODY is using that fact to accuse the whole rest of the world of being xenophobic.

    The current adminstration (whom I certainly didn't vote for) & Congress have done things almost completely opposite from how I would wish my government to behave. But that in no way makes me embarassed to be American. put another way, should an Afghani teenager be embarassed to be his nationality b/c of the Taliban? or is it more reasonable for him to be embarassed of his government?

    I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems your anger is justified, but misdirected in this case.
     
  9. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    tangential, perhaps. you bring up good points and have hit upon my real source of anger, and that's the xenophobic and the you're-not-american-and-therefore-don't-count attitudes i see all around me.

    if americans by and large traveled, spoke foreign languages and treated other cultures with respect, you're right, claiming an official language might not bug me as much. but in today's context, it strikes me the same way that the stupid freedom fries thing did, only this bill (if enacted) would have real consequences in making non-native speakers feel even less welcome.

    the supposed point is to get non-native speakers to assimilate more (and that's another topic: what's so great about that?), but i expect it'll do just the opposite.

    in the meantime, i don't suppose this bill would help some 40 million americans become literate.
     
  10. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #10
    Definitely far from a racist, I support making the immigration process easier and not making helping immigrants a felony, but we should all be able to communicate with each other. It's in their best interest to learn English. Believe me, I worked at the UFW and currently work at a hospital with many who can barely speak or even understand English, if at all. It's not a good thing for anybody in that situation. Just like people have to follow our laws, they should have to speak the language if they want to become citizens. They don't even have to speak it well. We don't. Just be able to communicate. If the national language became Spanish, then we'd all have to speak it. Um, and not all of them are speaking Spanish either, so even if we all spoke Spanish (and who are we kidding, some of us can't even speak English, nevermind the people who say we shouldn't learn their language if they won't learn ours), that wouldn't exactly help everyone. ;)

    Besides, didn't the Founding Fathers already do this and this is just pandering?
     
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #11
    I agree with solvs, want to come here adapt. This Spanish thing has gotton out of control i almost feel like i'm the foreigner in my own country with the constant barage's from every company's computer call center. If you speak english press...........This is a good thing, years ago anyone coming to America( the legal way) took it upon themselve to learn this language,now we have the illegal mexican invasion trying to push spanish as a national language. Spanish isnt this countrys language,English is. Dont like it go back to Mexico.
     
  12. IanF0729 macrumors regular

    IanF0729

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    #12
    I am embarrassed as well. Language is inextricably linked to one's identity, at least in my opinion.

    To make English supreme to all, however, is really just an ascent to the main language policy the US has been pushing for a while now. If you do not speak English or do not prefer English, then you are worthless.

    While a national language does not prevent people from speaking their native tongues at home, its just another xenophobic cue from the government.

    As we descend further into a pit of our own self-imposed supremacy (I think that this will be our downfall) over the rest of the world, I wonder how many people in America really do speak a foreign language or have ever studied another culture.

    I think our founding fathers would be ashamed at this...:mad:
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    I'd heard that the Senate also passed something declaring English to be our 'common, binding language' the same day as well as this bill?

    It depends on what this is going to be used for. Will it be used to try to help immigrants assimilate and adapt to their new home? Or will it be used punitively against them, or will it be used to suppress Democratic votes?

    If it's all about helping the less fortunate among us, I'm all for it. If not, it's a petty and vindictive ploy by a xenophobic group of people.
     
  14. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #14
    I suspect that is what this is intended to prevent.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    Really? I thought the national language was ebonics. :confused:
     
  16. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #16
    I don't see where this is a problem. We're not saying that in order to be American, you cannot speak your native language, we're saying that in order to try and facilitate communications we think it's in our best interest to insure everyone speaks at least one common language.

    If it's not English, then what? Spanish? Portuguese? French? English is still the predominant language spoken within the United States, and I have no issue with making it the "official" language.

    To me it's not about excluding others, and it's not about disrespecting other cultures. I welcome immigrants bringing their cultures to America. I'd love to learn more about them. But guess what - I'm not going to learn a thing if I can't understand a word they're saying.

    There was a reference to American being a "melting pot" and that this in some way is counter to that. If I take a pot that is full of cheddar cheese and heat it up to the point that I now have melted cheese, and then I throw in some mozzarella, some brie, some colby, and some pepper jack cheese in such a way as now I have 75% cheddar, I don't get a pot that has distinct areas of each cheese. I get a pot that is full of cheese with a unique flavor, but is still predominantly cheddar.

    That's what a melting pot is about. You join the group. You add to the group. The group takes on some of your characteristics, but the group remains one group. We see this all the time now - American "English" is constantly evolving to include adapted phrases from other languages, and this is fantastic. But it remains fundamentally the same.

    It's synonymous with this forum - we don't discourage people from speaking Spanish or German, or whatever when they're at home or on other sites, but when they're here, on this site, they communicate in English.

    Otherwise, the bulk of us would have no idea what the heck they're talking about. Hell, I don't know what half of you are saying most of the time anyway when you speak English. ;)
     
  17. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    #18
    hey look on the bright side, at least their calling it English as oppose to American or Freedom Language or something dumb like that


    ps. Canada has 2 official languages if anyones ready to move :)
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #19
    It's about pointless symbolism. It's about an inability to come to grips with real issues.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    Yeah, the real problems in this country are that not enough people speak English, and the homos are trying to get married. Oh and the secular war on Christians.

    Other than that, surely this country is problem-free.
     
  20. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21

    The country has survived 230 years without a national language, why now?

    Spanish has always been the unofficial second language of large parts of the US and it hasn't cause any problems.

    I'm all for encouraging and even requiring immigrants to be able to speak English but there's absolutely no need for a national language after such a long time without one. This is about xenophobia and the inability of white middle class America to deal with the growing Latino population in the US.
     
  21. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #22
    I don't normally post in here, but emw is the first person here to have made a logical, well thought-out statement.

    Having English as the official language doesn't preclude anyone from speaking in their native tongue at home, or at church, or at business... but all government business, including voting, should be conducted ONLY in English. After all, in order to vote, you have to be a citizen; and in order to become a citizen, you have to have taken the naturalization tests and taken the oath of citizenship, and those are BOTH done in English. Which part of this is too difficult for you to comprehend? The English language is the one common thread that we all should have between us.

    BTW, really love how so many of you pull completely unrelated subjects (like Katrina) into this discussion to show how much you hate anything you don't agree with (i.e., anything not on the platform espoused by the Left).

    Yeah, and look at the constant tension between the Anglophones and the Francophones. Constant threats to secede, etc. Is that what we want here? A society DIVIDED by language?
     
  22. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    #23
    Bush should declare war on:
    [​IMG]
     
  23. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #24
    Other than, "Ich bin ein Berliner" - Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter's speech in Spanish while in Cuba, has any other U.S. President ever made any effort to speak publicly in the language of the country in which he gave his speech?
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    I think Bush tried to speak English while in the UK. Not very successfully, mind you, but at least he tried.
     

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