Friday, November 24, 2006

English Only? In Nashville?

OK. I am sure I will be disparaged by many of you for being a leftist, but can someone please explain to me the rationale for wanting the City Council to tell us what we have to say and how to say it? I understand (and disagree) with the jingoistic reasons behind requiring English for official business, but let's all take a deep breath before we beg the government to tell us how well we have to understand official business before we are allowed to participate in it. After all, new citizens are already required to understand more of our political and governmental language than the average "English-speaking" native citizen. Why allow the government to write official business in a language we know many people cannot understand? It is very easy to know what is an isn't English, right? I'm not so sure.

I think people ought not be allowed to use racist and bigoted language, yet when the supporters of English-only bills are confronted with anti-hate speech rules, they often hit the streets to protest the injustice of government oppression. So, I have an idea. Let's all join the movement for English-only and then ask the City Council to rule that hate speech is not English. It isn't, after all. It wasn't considered legitimate English in my house growing up, and it isn't in my house now. (Spanish, by the way, does find its way into English conversations. Let's hope the City Council is never in the position to regulate health conditions in a place that serves Tacos or Fajitas). In reality, of course, hate speech is violence, not English, so it won't be too big of a stretch for the City Council to take this step.

There you go. Bipartisanship. I will support the English-only bill if hateful violent speech is declared not to be English. Or, maybe, the English-only supporters would care to reevaluate their zeal for government speech codes?

Congratulations to the "NO" votes. These people seem to have actually thought the question through.


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