It's English Or Nothing..............

John Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Fri Mar 30 14:03:34 MDT 2007


Free Congress Foundation Commentary
Education, Not Litigation: Government, Employers, Citizens, All 
Should Promote English
By Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.


March 27, 2007


Unquestionably any individual fluent in English and living in this 
country, the language of which is English (whether fluent in one or 
more other languages, such as Spanish), will have a greater chance at 
a successful life, culturally and economically, than one lacking 
English fluency. A successful impetus to learn English necessarily 
must comprise two elements:  opportunity and self-recognized need.

More and more educational programs offer English as a second 
language.   Yet unquantifiable millions of Latino or Hispanic 
immigrants, lawful and unlawful, cannot make their way in English. 
Thus, more education is required.

Further, governments at every level - Federal, State, local - should 
eliminate the dual use of English and Spanish. The more superficially 
facile it appears to be for a person knowing only or mostly Spanish 
to function in Spanish the greater the number who will attempt to do so.

Litigation now has insinuated itself.  A recent Georgia case, brought 
by a "Mexican - American" organization, was settled in favor of the 
Latina plaintiffs (housekeepers or charwomen) against their employer, 
a small private university. The message of the case, to the extent 
there is a message, is that an employer should avoid a mandatory 
English requirement for lower-wage jobs the performance of which does 
not absolutely require English. One readily can understand why an 
organization would not want the likely reduced efficiency and more 
trying supervision of workers who spoke only Spanish. Our ancestors 
did not expect, however mundane their jobs, to work in only German, 
French, Italian, Polish or whatever their native language may have 
been.  The enveloping political phenomenon unfortunately has 
retrogressed to the point at which that historic level of common 
sense often no longer prevails.   Thus, employers must avoid 
English-language-only requirements which arguably are discriminatory 
and/or penal.

That necessity adds another, if perhaps less sweeping, argument to 
the proposition that to the extent reasonably possible everyone must 
be accorded the opportunity to learn English and all governmental 
levels must cease catering to those who have not learned 
English.   That masterfully keen 19th Century French observer of 
American life, M. Alexis de Tocqueville, could not have known the 
extent to which his prescient observation would become nearly 
all-encompassing:   We Americans often resort to litigation to 
resolve problems.

Our May 5, 2006 column, which follows, discusses further aspects of 
this largely unresolved English-language deficiency - a deficiency 
which adversely affects our national unity and our culture and which 
as to some millions of Latinos also adversely affects their economic 
opportunity.


Marion Edwyn Harrison is President of, and Counsel to, the Free 
Congress Foundation.


-------------------------------------------------------

The Free Congress Commentary
Cinco de Mayo - Our Language Is English
By Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.


May 5, 2006


It probably is appropriate for Mexicans to celebrate "Cinco de Mayo," 
honoring the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The 
extent to which May 5 ought to be celebrated in the United States of 
America, as distinguished from Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, is 
another question. Citizens and lawful residents of our United States 
whose ancestry is French do not celebrate Bastille Day, France's 
massive national holiday. Those of other ancestry do not celebrate a 
national day of their ancestral country.

The foregoing would be minor, and a matter of ethnic personal choice, 
were it not part of a pattern. Millions of Mexicans who by their own 
free choice have immigrated, lawfully or unlawfully, to this country 
in many ways continue to think of themselves as Mexicans. The 
predominant example is language. Millions speak little or no English. 
Many of those, regrettably, have had little or no opportunity to 
learn English and probably would learn English given adequate opportunity.

Therein lies a portion of the problem. More and more commercial 
messages are in Spanish or offer a Spanish option. As long as 
millions of consumers speak Spanish and little or no English those 
commercial messages will continue. The name of the commercial game is Sell.

The greater, and curable, portion of the problem is aggravated, 
sometimes even created, by Federal, State and local governments. No 
sign, no instruction, no message should be in any language other than 
English.   Schools, beginning in kindergarten (to use that Anglicized 
and applicable German noun), should instruct in English and where 
necessary provide mandatory courses in English for those students who 
speak Spanish.   Many of us believe the Federal Government role in 
education is far too expansive and incursive.  However, the reality 
is that such role is not about to abate. Hence, the Department of 
Education, as comparable State and local agencies, must force the issue.

There are two interrelated reasons for forcing the use of 
English.  The first is personal. The resident, lawful or unlawful, 
who speaks little or no English cannot get ahead in our society. 
English was the original Colonial American language. Immigrants from 
lands which spoke no English learned English. It is the language of 
material, cultural and political success.  The resident who speaks 
little or no English limits himself and his family.

By (perhaps irrelevant) coincidence, English also is the new 
international lingua franca, having fully displaced French.

The other reason why English must be the universal American language 
is cultural.  The United States of America cannot become, as to some 
extent it already is, a divided nation - a perpetual economic lower 
class speaking Spanish, everyone else speaking English.  In short, 
there must be as much assimilation and integration of races and 
ethnicity as is feasible.

This writer is somewhat skeptical of polls, especially when they do 
not reveal an overwhelming sentiment. However, polls are in accord 
that a huge minority of Mexicans (placed as high as 40%) would 
immigrate to this country if they had the opportunity. Those in this 
country unlawfully show no sign of voluntarily returning. Thus, 
regardless of any change in law, law enforcement and/or border 
control, there will continue to be a huge number of Mexicans in this 
country. Leaving aside the question of who should remain, why and 
how, it is essential for our culture that we remain one country, 
speaking English, as it is essential for the well-being of each 
citizen and resident that he or she speak English.

There are varied views as to pending and proposed immigration 
proposals, whether from the Bush Administration, Congressional 
sources or interested organizations, academics and activist citizens. 
Irrespective of how overall immigration matters are resolved, 
President George W. Bush's declaration or plea - term it as you will 
- yesterday, at the White House Cinco de Mayo celebration, is 
directly on the mark: All of us must learn English.

An aside. This writer believes strongly that too few Americans are 
familiar with foreign languages, including, rather dangerously, many 
diplomatic and other governmental personnel on duty abroad, 
conspicuously including too many of our chiefs of diplomatic mission 
(ambassadors). That is a separate subject.
   
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