English (ONLY) Spoken Here

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.

Steve King

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.

6 Comments

  • Smitty says:

    King pointed out what a problem this is by describing naturalization ceremonies in which not everyone laughed as his jokes. Unable to allow for the possibility that his jokes aren’t funny, King determined that the problem was the new citizens just didn’t speak English.

    Before we start these bizarre tirades about making English the official language of the United States, let’s teach English grammar, sentence structure, and spelling to all the kids in our schools.

    Given King’s assertion that we’ve never been very good at assimilating other cultures, is it possible that he’s a native American? If not, it would appear we lowered our standards enough to assimilate him and his ancestors!

  • michael says:

    I think money is the official language of the US, and the world. If money can be made,people will follow. Consider the integration of Spanish in our culture without the assistance of any laws to mandate it. Wal-mart et al does things in Spanish for one reason, and it’s not to be nice people. If that were the case, all languages would be represented in our market.

    That being said, it’s really not a bad idea to make English the official language of the US.

  • Bill Hand says:

    I really don’t care what language people speak. But as a taxpayer, I don’t like all of the accommodation that we have to do because of multiple languages, like street signs in Vietnamese and English. On another note, I would like to go Metric like the rest of the world. And while I am pontificating, I think the Indians (Native Americans) got the rawest deal of anybody in America. If we need to feel guilty about anything, it should be about how our ancestors treated those folks.

  • Barry says:

    Another interesting piece from Mr. Lamar, but I wanted to offer one minor quibble. Jewish European immigrants to the United States in the 19th and early 20th century spoke Yiddish, not Hebrew. Hebrew at that time was almost exclusively used for religious services. By way of analogy, saying that the Jewish immigrants from Russia, Poland and Germany spoke Hebrew would be like saying the Italian Catholic immigrants spoke Latin.

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