Thursday, June 15, 2006

Unintended Consequences

I find this movement toward promoting nationalism, in flag burning amendments, laws making English our official language, and even some arguments regarding immigration reform, not well thought out and certainly not taking into account the consequences of such moves.  It would be great if we could all be proud of being Americans, but when we pass laws that restrict important information from those who don’t speak English, attempt to make national pride mandatory and political protest a criminal offense, it becomes difficult to know what we should be proud of exactly.

Beyond the fact that such laws run contrary to our history as a nation of immigrants with guaranteed freedoms of protest and speech, sometimes the unintended consequences are far worse that a lack of national pride.

I found this story in Utah a perfect example of how these silly laws can have very serious negative repercussions.  Passing a law 2000 that made English the official language of the state of Utah may have seemed innocuous at the time (at least to those pushing it), but now that the Governor of Utah has decided, under pressure, to shut down a web site that provides information about health services, taxes, state licenses and the like in Spanish, there are real people affected in very tangible ways.  

It’s not so much that the information available on the web site is not available elsewhere or that critical health and safety information is not being provided to the Spanish speaking community at all, but it does create a divisive atmosphere and makes it even more difficult for those already at a disadvantage because they have not yet learned English to become a part of the community.  Is promoting nationalism really worth all that?  Rather than proclaiming English as the official language, we should be providing more opportunities for immigrants to learn English.  Lending a helping hand and making it easier, rather than harder, for immigrants to assimilate into our society is a far more effective way to instill national pride, in both immigrants and those born here.  English as the official language and flag burning amendments won’t strengthen our country, they only encourage false pride.  And we all know what that precedes don’t we?

5 Comments:

Anonymous lester said...

I'm undecided on some of the immigration stuff. pat Buchanan was on scarborough the other night tlaking about some factory in utah or something the owner made 400,000 a year. so he fired all the workers and hired illegals and now makes 4,000,000 . where is the morality in that?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idiots here in Utah (not to mention the rest of the country) don't seem to understand that learning to speak English and learning to read and comprehend English are 2 different things. I work with students all the time who can speak English quite well, but reading and comprehending English is difficult and time-consuming, and they like to have resources in their native language to fall back upon when the English information is less-than comprehensible (such as can be found on ALL government sites) or to verify that what they read on the English site is correct. It doesn't make them any less American - in fact, they are more patriotic and involved than many of the "natural-born" citizens (especially here in Utah where apathy and ignorance reign supreme). English is the hardest and stupidest language to learn - irregular verbs, homonyms (or homophones depending on your age), and all kinds of structural issues that make it a beast to teach in both native and second language speakers.
Here's another idiot - this one in Arizona - forcing schools and classrooms to purchase and display flags of a certain size, yet doesn't display one at his own home. Love the hypocrites in the GOP.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/columns/articles/0612ruelas0612.html

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops - link cut off
< http://www.azcentral.com/news/columns/articles/0612ruelas0612.html>

2:53 PM  
Anonymous gringo said...

Sure, we've got to accomodate millions of illegal aliens. Lets stop this silly nationalism and false pride. We should make Spanish an official language. Over 20% of Federal prisoners are illegal aliens, and they need court conducted in Spanish.

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

4:38 PM  
Blogger alyceclover said...

The La Raza's have forced the issue; they tried several years ago to get Spainish declared the National Language of the US of A, because there was none "on the books". Has any other group of immigrants made such a demand? I'm not much of a flag person (unless it's a whole earth flag), but find something fundamentally wrong with schools in the US not being allowed to have a US flag outside, because the Latino's consider it racist & disruptive to the students. I don't know that any other group of immigrants has torn down US flags & replaced them with Mexican ones (or their country of birth, as was done on and around May 1). I also think it's rather disrespectful to spray paint "This is Mexico" on US streets. (Bristol, Santa Ana, CA). I also don't understand why speaking Spainish is a job prerequiste. One can still acquire a job without knowing how to speak/read/write Tagalog, Ararbic, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German...

All the immigrants I know were very thankful for being in this country. That is, except for the Mexican/Latino's. I won't mind speaking other languages, but don't think it should be enforced, I didn't choose to immigrate to a Spainish speaking country, and I didn't slip across any borders to sell drugs. I am speaking from personal experience.

If the Bush regime or White Supremists don't destroy what little is left of democracy, the La Raza's just might do it.

6:33 PM  

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