English: Why It's Time to Make It Official
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri Jun 2 12:27:49 UTC 2006
Forwarded from HUMAN EVENTS.
English: Why It's Time to Make It Official
by K.C. McAlpin
Posted Jun 01, 2006
"I really believe this amendment is racist." These were the words of
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada spoken just minutes
before 63 senators including 11 members of his own party voted for the
measure. The target of Reids attack: an amendment to the Senate
immigration bill by Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) that declared English the
"national language" of the United States. After murmurs of disapproval
greeted his words, Reid hastened to say that he didnt mean to imply that
Inhofe was a racist. But Reid didnt back down from his characterization of
the national language amendment itself.
Is it racist to have an official language? That would be news to 52
nations located mostly in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean that already
have made English their official language, in addition to 27 states
including heavily immigrant California. The truth is that in todays world
there is no correlation between the language someone speaks and the color
of their skin. Reid knows that. So why did he decide to resort to the
rhetorical equivalent of a neutron bomb to try and derail the Inhofe
English amendment? Two reasons stand out: First when it comes to
immigration policy, Reid takes his marching orders from radical Hispanic
activists and open border groups like the National Council of La Raza.
Why? Reid now feels guilty and politically vulnerable over the fact that
he sponsored very restrictive immigration legislation in the early 1990s.
Reid knows the disproportionate power radical Hispanic activists wield
within the Democratic Party. So long ago he disavowed his one-time views
on immigration and came to terms with the activists to gain their
acquiescence for his climb to leadership. Thus the recent revelation that
Reid had once championed a Proposition 187-style immigration bill received
barely a whisper of condemnation from the activists. They saw no reason to
launch the kind of smear attack they would have unleashed against someone
not totally in their pocket. The second reason has to do with the
multicultural agenda of the activist groups themselves. Census data shows
that learning to speak fluent English is one almost foolproof way new
immigrants can boost their earning power in the U.S. and have the chance
to realize the American dream.
But English-speaking immigrants are far more likely to assimilate, make
their own political decisions, and over time come to see themselves as
Americans. This is anathema to Marxist-leaning academics as well as
Mexican-American extremists dreaming of "La Reconquista." What they want
from repeated amnesties and never ending waves of illegal immigration is
the creation of a linguistically isolated, alienated underclass that can
be imbued with grievances and mobilized for political and social
revolution like the mobs of Muslim youths that rampaged in dozens of
French cities this spring. In their view mass immigration is a policy
failure if it does not ultimately produce a disaffected underclass. Thus
they are vehemently opposed to any policy that promotes "Melting Pot"
style assimilation, the most important of which is expecting new
immigrants to learn English.
And Inhofes amendment did exactly that. In addition to declaring English
the national language, the amendment stipulated that any formerly illegal
alien who wanted to pursue citizenship had to demonstrate the ability to
speak English, and not just the intention to learn English by enrolling in
a class as called for in the immigration bill. The amendment also stated
no one had a right to government services in any language other than
English unless specifically authorized by law. That provision threatened
to put an end to the illegitimate, widespread efforts of federal
bureaucrats to force government agencies to provide their services in
foreign languagesespecially in Spanish. But Reid and his Reconquista
allies cant disclose the real reasons for their hatred of the Inhofe
amendment. After all, a March 2006 Zogby poll commissioned by ProEnglish
found an overwhelming 84% of likely voters, including 82% of Democratic
voters, favor making English our official language.
So, in a carefully premeditated move, Reid played the race card. In the
end it wasnt enough. But Reid and his ideological allies will use the same
racist smear tactics to try and derail any recognition of English as our
official language that might emerge in a final immigration bill because
for them, and for us, the stakes are huge.
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