It's English Or Nothing..............
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
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
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
Marion Edwyn Harrison is President of, and Counsel to, the Free
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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