WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that diversity has never been America’s strong suit, so lawmakers should pass his bill to make English the official U.S. language in the name of unifying the nation.
So much for the long view. Congressman King has apparently forgotten that before the white man stole their lands through violence, skulduggery and intimidation that Native Americans spoke hundreds of non-English languages. The current count is 269.
And, in the 19th and early 20th centuries America was a virtual “Babal” as non-English speaking Europeans flooded the country speaking Irish Gaelic, German, Italian, Hebrew, Polish and others. Then as now, they faced rampant discrimination by settled white English speakers in housing, employment and religion.
The notion that diversity is not an American strong suit, linguistically or otherwise is dis-proven by our history even before we were a nation.
We have fostered creative cultural assimilation over time while respecting (and tolerating) other languages. In fact, our language is littered with adopted words and phrases that make it more effective and interesting. Capiche?
King’s ignorant stance plays to people’s innate fear of a loss of power and control. It is also proof that rational thought and intelligence is not a strong suit in the US Congress.