Monday, May 22, 2006

Circus of the Absurd, Part II

Every once in a while you stumble on some issue or another that is just brimming with foolishness, and you marvel at how so many people can be so foolish about the same thing at the same time. I found such an issue in illegal immigration and commented on it last month in Circus of the Absurd.

This particular issue, more than just brimming with foolishness, is bubbling over with it. In the first installment I commented on how absolutely ridiculous it is to see people who have essentially “broken in” to our country gathering and publicly protesting by waving a foreign flag in our faces, objecting to the United States considering measures to address the millions of illegal aliens in our country. Wow! And there is a second absurdity: there are millions of illegals in the U.S., and our government hasn’t been too terribly concerned about it. And some Americans think both of those things are okay. See what I mean?

Now comes Harry Reid, U.S. Senator from Nevada chosen by Senate Democrats as their leader, to announce to the world that he thinks it is racist for the U.S. to officially declare English as its national language. “Racist,” he said. Well, declaring English our official language may be “something”-ist, but it isn’t “race”-ist.

In the murky mind of Harry Reid if a country that predominantly speaks a particular language chooses that language from among all the languages of the Earth as its official language, that act is “racist,” and by extension the people of that country are racist, too. A Zogby International poll in 2005 found that something like 79 percent of Americans believe English should be our national language, and further showed that more than two-thirds of Democrats and four-fifths of first- and second-generation Americans support English as the official language. According to Harry Reid, they are all racists.

Sen. Reid’s asinine position misses what most Americans understand: English has united Americans for more than 200 years, and if everyone speaks the same language, at least at a level of basic communication, living and working together is immensely simpler. Imagine the chaos if the U.S. were to go to the extreme of providing election ballots and other general information in all languages spoken by Americans. We cannot become one people if we can’t talk to each other, a phenomenon illustrated in the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel where the people wanted to build a tower to reach the heavens. God didn’t like that idea and confused their languages so that each spoke a different language. As a result, they could no longer communicate with one another and the work was halted. You need not believe in either God or the Bible to see the wisdom in the story.

The English as official language movement doesn’t mean “English only.” No one is suggesting that people who come here from China, or Italy, or the Sudan, or Mexico can’t also speak their native language, it just means that they must learn to speak English so that they can effectively function in this country.

So, as the rest of the world accepts English as a common tongue for communication among diverse peoples speaking different languages, people like Harry Reid want the U.S. to move in the opposite direction.

Absurd? Yes. A circus? Absolutely.

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