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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 06:42 AM
Original message
What does making English the "official" language mean?
Edited on Sat May-20-06 06:45 AM by joemurphy
If it means nothing, like "the Indiana State flower is the peony," I guess I have no problems with it.

But if it means no more bilingual education; no library books in Spanish; no more government forms printed in foreign languages; no more interpreters provided in courtrooms or at administrative hearings; no ability to vote without demonstrating competency in English, then I'm opposed to it.

I see "English is official" as a slippery slope. My guess is that Republicans will next want to put some "teeth" into it. That may mean using the "official" status of English to prevent many American citizens who are deficient in English-speaking and reading skills from fully exercising their rights. I'm fearful that this will take us back to the days when "literacy tests" were used to prevent Blacks from voting. We'll see. But I want to say that I find it disheartening that many DUers are applauding this measure. I don't see much good in it at all.
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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 06:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. Here's my question
What if you don't speak "official" or "proper" English?

Should urban kids be required to speak proper English? How absurd would that be? And don't most immigrants speak better english than some "Americans?"
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
17. and whose version of "proper" English?
Brooklynites? Gichees? How about someone from Lizard Lick, NC or Duluth, MN?

How about Opp, Alabama or Hazard, KY? Maybe "Bahstan, MA?"

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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
67. Bingo!
That's why the whole debate is so damned stupid.

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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
23. You get to live in the White House.
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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 06:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. They're not saying "official language", yet. "National Language"
Edited on Sat May-20-06 06:54 AM by mcscajun
is what they're using.

The United States Senate has voted to make English the national language. It also voted to make it the nation's "common and unifying language."

So they've stopped short of saying official, which leaves requirements for translators and bilingual education intact, for now.

But you're right about the slippery slope issue.

The Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law.

The measure, approved by a vote of 63 to 34, directs the government to "preserve and enhance"the role of English, without altering current laws that require some government documents and services be provided in other languages. Opponents, however, said it could negate executive orders, regulations, civil service guidance and other multilingual ordinances not officially sanctioned by acts of Congress.

(snip)

The impact of the new Senate language amendment was unclear even after its passage. The language negating claims to multi-lingual services appears straightforward. It also sets requirements that immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship know the English language and U.S. history. The amendment would require more thorough testing to demonstration English-language proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and customs like the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.

But its author, Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, made two last-minute changes that some opponents said would water down its effect significantly. By stipulating that the English-only mandates could not negate existing laws, Inhofe spared current ordinances that allow bilingual education or multi-lingual ballots. And by changing the amendment to label English the "national language" rather than the "official language" of the country, Inhofe may have lessened its symbolic power.

But pro-immigration groups and some Democrats said the amendment would obliterate executive orders issued by President Clinton that mandated the provision of multilingual services and communications by a variety of federal agencies, and could undermine court orders, agency regulations, civil service guidances, and state and local ordinances that provide multilingual services.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID...
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I agree it's a slippery slope.
Better ways of unifying Americans would be affordable health care; the extension equal, human rights to all; and a return to Constitutional government. I see the whole "national language" thing as another way of polarizing us; look how well the tactic has worked even among liberals.

In fact, I'd like to see the US requiring kids to begin learning a second language in elementary school. I wish that'd been a requirement when I was a kid, instead of an elective encouraged only for "college bound" high school students.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. I find it odd that Congress felt there was some crying need to
Edited on Sat May-20-06 07:15 AM by joemurphy
"preserve and enhance" the status of English. English is hardly a "threatened" or an "endangered" language.

As a language buff and someone with an interest in linguistics, I will tell you that many linguists and anthropologists are concerned about the disappearance of languages as a world-wide phenomenon. Many languages located within the geographical confines of the U.S. are on "endangered" lists and linguists have been scrambling to study and preserve records of them before they die out entirely.
In my own state, Indiana, the last speaker of the Miami-Illinois Indian language died in the 1960s without much fanfare and before any linguist properly studied the language. Now the Miami tribe has been trying to resurrect it with old word-lists and dictionaries, half-baked grammatical studies, language camps, and lessons for some of the kids. Language death is a serious problem in the U.S.

Oddly, Congress has provided some funding in the past for language preservation. Senator Inouye was one of the leaders in this effort due to concerns about the continued existence of Hawaiian. Most American Indian languages don't have such champions. Another problem with the "slippery slope" of "nationalizing English" is what might happen to Indian languages and the implications to Indian culture of language loss. I'd hate to think that federal funding for Indian language instruction might be dumped because some members of Congress want to pander to a nativist base for short-range political motives.



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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thank you for your insightful post.
I grew up within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, where very, very few young people speak Cherokee. I've always believed that a part of a culture dies when the language dies, so it's important to keep languages alive, if only on the spoken level.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
32. You might be interested in reading a book called:
"Searching for Lost City" by Elizabeth Seay about the ongoing disappearance of Native American Indian languages. There's a special focus on the story of Cherokee. It's a very readable book. I think you'd like it.
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #32
38. Thanks!
And here's one you might like (though it doesn't focus specifically on languages): "War Against the Weak," by Edwin Black. www.waragainsttheweak.com

:hi:
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #38
42. I'll check it out. Thanks! n/t
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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Great quote on this from "The West Wing"
Edited on Sat May-20-06 07:17 AM by mcscajun
when a similar bill was being debated by the fictional Congress:

"Mr. President, 72% of Hispanics are strongly opposed to such a law. The Republicans will never put it on the table because they'll risk losing the second largest ethnic block of voters in the country. But if you need a counter argument, then I'd mention to Monsieur de Tocqueville, over here, that aside from it being bigoted and unconstitutional, it's ludicrous to think that laws need to be created to help protect the language of Shakespeare."
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
26. First result: Gives some legal basis to bigots to discriminate.
Then, yeah, on to obliterating cultures. If one wants to limit thought, limiting words used to convey thought is a very powerful tool. All languages do not have words for all concepts.
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Missy M Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
3. I don't see much good in it either....
I also think most people who immigrate to this country learn to speak English with time. All my grandparents immigrated to this country, learned to speak English but when they were alone or with friends, from the same old country, they always spoke in their native language and I see nothing wrong with that. This passing the law all came about with the immigration issue, it certainly will not stop illegal aliens. I think one of the fears of congress and many citizens is someday Hispanics will become the majority and we will all have to speak Spanish. That is ridiculous but again it is FEAR motivating people.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
8. This looks to me like a feel good bill. Similar in effect to the no flag
burning one a few months ago. I don't think any of us have seen a rapid rise in flag burnings!

As far as i can tell, this bill doesn't do anything but make some people feel good.
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:26 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. another meaningless Republican Distraction -- a shiny object waved
in front of everyone. That somehow DU became obsessed with. The Repug Senate Votes - and live goes on, unchanged.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Exactly! I don't know why some on DU always seem to fall for stuff
like this. I also HATE to see people using the "slippery Slope" excuse! That reminds me of the foolish excuses the pubs always use on the gun issue and every other of their pet wedge issues!

We need to think realistally, and not read things into the subject that aren't there.
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C_U_L8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
10. You get your mouth washed out by Republicans
Edited on Sat May-20-06 07:33 AM by C_U_L8R
if you dare utter a foreign word. "If it ain't English .. It ain't American" could be the new (ironic) Republican slogan.

Here are a few common words of SPANISH origin that Republicans might banish from our language.....

Adios, Aficianado, Albino, Alfalfa, Anchovy, Armadillo, Amigo, Avocado, Banana, Bodega, Buckaroo, Burrito, Cabana, Cannibal, Canoe, Canyon, Cargo, Chile, Chocolate, Cigarette, Cilantro, Cocaine, Cockroach, Comrade, Condor, Conquistador, Coyote, Crimson, Desperado, Embargo, Embarrass, Fajita, Fiesta, FILIBUSTER, Filipino, Flamingo, Flotilla, Gringo, Guacamole, Guava, Guerrilla, Guitar, Hacienda, Hammock, Hoosegow, Hurricane, Iguana, Incommunicado, Jaguar, Jalapeno, Junta, Llasso, Latino, Llama, Loco, Macho, Maize, Margarita, Mariachi, Marijuana, Maroon, Matador, Mate, Mesa, Mulatto, Mustang, Nacho, Nada, Negro, Palmetto, Papaya, Patio, Peccadillo, Peon, Peyote, Pimento, Platinum, Potato, Pronto, Puma, Ranch, Renegade, Rodeo, Rumba, Salsa, Savanna, Suave, Savvy, Sherry, Sierra, Siesta, Silo, Sombrero, Stampede, Taco, Tamale, Tango, Tapioca, Tequila, Tilde, Tobacco, Tomato, Tornado, Tortilla, Tuna, Vamoose, Vanilla, and Yam.

And don't forget all those "foreign" French and German words that have crept into our language.. not to mention that dirty old Latin :-)
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
61. Ah, but a lot of those words aren't really "Spanish", now
are they? Actually, some aren't.

I mean, if we want to be really essentialist about it, coyote is Nahuatl, and other words in the list are similarly Uto-Aztecan in origin. How dare they speak a Meso-American language? And margarita is from Greek, of course. Those Spanish speakers really should speak "their own language".

But then, we get mostly Latin words in that list, so Spanish really doesn't exist: we're just borrowing words that resulted from the Iberians' mangling of Latin.

But then again, some of them actually have Indo-European roots and we have them continued in English, so we're just borrowing from slightly divergent dialects of English. Or should we say "Indo-European"?

Silliness.
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C_U_L8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. yes all languages are mish-mashes
the republicans look as silly as the French
trying to forcibly maintain the "purity"
of their culture. Culture may be exactly that...
a culture... like a petri dish of ideas
gone out of control. And every time the
Republicans try to control the uncontrollabe
they look dumb and silly. And it's hilarious.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
12. Eleven Democrats -- Baucus (D-MT), Byrd (D-WV), Carper (D-DE),
Conrad (D-ND), Dorgan (D-ND), Johnson (D-SD), Landrieu (D-LA), Lincoln (D-AR), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE) and Pryor (D-AR) voted for the bill.

I agree with them.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:41 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Care to tell us why? n/t
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Yes, because I agree with the amendment as stated below:
QUOTE
SEC. 766. ENGLISH AS NATIONAL LANGUAGE

(a) IN GENERAL.--Title 4, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

``CHAPTER 6--LANGUAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT

``Sec.

``161. Declaration of national language

``162. Preserving and enhancing the role of the national language``161. Declaration of official language

``English is the national language of the United States 162. Preserving and enhancing the role of the national language

``The Government of the United States shall preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America. Unless specifically stated in applicable law, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English. If exceptions are made, that does not create a legal entitlement to additional services in that language or any language other than English. If any forms are issued by the Federal Government in a language other than English (or such forms are completed in a language other than English), the English language version of the form is the sole authority for all legal purposes.'' .

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.--The table of chapters for title 4, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

``6. Language of the Government

161''.
UNQUOTE
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. The devil is always in the details.
Edited on Sat May-20-06 08:12 AM by joemurphy
The language of the Amendment stating that no person has a "right, entitlement, or claim" to have the U.S. government provide services in any language other than English sounds innocuous enough. But what does it mean?

No person who does not read English has a right to demand a ballot form in another language when seeking to vote?

No person who does not speak English has a right to demand an interpreter in a Federal Criminal Court?

No child who does not speak English has a right to an ESL teacher in a federally funded public school?

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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Sometimes a devil can be an invention in one's mind. Do you have any
idea of the cost of providing a ballot in every language used by U.S. citizens?

For a start consider the cost of providing ballots in the languages of the true natives, each Indian tribe. If anyone has a moral right to ask for ballots in their native tongues, it is they.

A government needs a single language to operate effectively and efficiently. In our case that's English.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Efficiency and effectiveness are nice.
But what about fairness, inclusivity, and egalitarianism?

Of course, egalitarianism can be pushed to extremes. Making a ballot available in every language would probably be impossible and hardly practicable. There would also be little utility in doing that. Having a ballot in Cherokee at the precinct where I vote here in Indiana makes little sense. We have no Cherokees here.

On the other hand, a ballot in Cherokee would make a great deal of sense in parts of Oklahoma. I also see a great deal of social utility in making a Spanish ballot generally available.

Do you feel that our government is presently ineffective and inefficent because Spanish ballots are now generally available? Would it be more effective and efficient if they weren't?
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Yes to last two questions. n/t
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. It probably costs nearly 0.2% of the total of a typcial no-bid contract
Edited on Sat May-20-06 08:46 AM by Telly Savalas
to Haliburton.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #25
33. Thanks for the joke.
:rofl:
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #19
29. Its not as expensive as you seem to think...
Look, all this does is actually LIMIT what LOCAL governments can do in regards to changing conditions in their neighborhoods. We should NOT expect recent immigrants to be fluent in English as soon as they show up here. What we SHOULD do is give them an opportunity to learn the language while they are trying to make a living at the same time. If that means you provide them with a driver's test in their native language, then that is what is to be done, to take that opportunity away means you slow DOWN the adoption of English by recent immigrants.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. Have you read the amendment? n/t
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. Yes, its either empty rhetoric that accomplishes nothing...
or something that will have a NEGATIVE affect on its stated purpose.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. Please tell me which parts are empty rhetoric or have a negative effect?
QUOTE
The Government of the United States shall preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America. Unless specifically stated in applicable law, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English. If exceptions are made, that does not create a legal entitlement to additional services in that language or any language other than English. If any forms are issued by the Federal Government in a language other than English (or such forms are completed in a language other than English), the English language version of the form is the sole authority for all legal purposes.
UNQUOTE
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #36
39. That's easy, right there in black and white...
Pretty much the entire paragraph you mentioned is extremely limiting, even other nations that do have an "Official" language aren't that strict. I'll give an example, if you wish, my area of the country absorbed, within the past decade, a HUGE number of Serbian Refugees who entered the country as religious persecution refugees, they are Muslim. Anyways, so, if this bill was in effect then, the local governments would actually have to try to pass laws to accomodate these recent immigrants so they could pay their taxes, get driver's licenses, etc. Not to mention that as it states, any forms or other legal documents in other languages would not have the same weight as English forms, then you would have to effectively double the amount of paperwork. I don't see this as constructive in the least.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. Proposed law does not require the things you assert in sentences 2,3,4. nt
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. So tell me what it does require then. n/t
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #41
44. How about this scenario:
Edited on Sat May-20-06 11:57 AM by joemurphy
Elderly Hispanic Citizen: I just got my citizenship papers. I'm here to register to vote.

Registrar: Just complete this form.

Citizen: But it's in English. I can't read English.

Registrar: Sorry, then you can't vote.

Citizen: But I request a form in Spanish.

Registrar: Sorry, we don't have to give you one under the law. English is the national language. You have no right to a Spanish form.

Citizen: But I'm a citizen. I can't register if I can't read the form.

Registrar: Sorry, read the recent Amendment to the Immigration Act. We don't have to give you a Spanish form. I suggest you learn to read English and then come back.

Citizen: But that could take years.

Registrar: Sorry, no English, no register...Comprende?
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. Oh, I see, another way to disenfranchise people!
Now it makes perfect sense! Jim Crow, 21st century style!

Can I throw up now? :puke:
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #44
47. Which of the 7,300 main languages and 39,491 dialects do you exclude?
Edited on Sat May-20-06 12:03 PM by jody
What about Abanyom "a language of the Ekoid subfamily of Niger-Congo. It is spoken by the Abanyom people in the Cross River State region of Nigeria, numbering about 12,500."

Perhaps you would exclude the Zay language. "It is spoken by about 4,880 members of the Zay people on the islands and shores of Lake Zway in southern Ethiopia."

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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. OK...Let's continue the scenario:
Edited on Sat May-20-06 12:06 PM by joemurphy
Elderly Hispanic Citizen: But there are lots of people like me. Surely having a Spanish voter registration form wouldn't cost much money...

Registrar: Hah! If we did it for you in Spanish, why where would it end? We'd have to do it in Shawnee, and Lao, and Mongolian!!!

Elderly Hispanic Citizen: But there aren't any Shawnees or Laotians or Mongolians around here. Just Hispanics.

Registrar: Tough cookies. Read the Amendment...Please move along. Who's next in line?

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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. You actually bring up a good point...
Look ballots are usually printed up locally, having them in Spanish, when appropriate, isn't that much of a burden, and the same is true of any other language. Neither the Federal Government nor Local governments would have to print up such forms for every language on the planet, but instead they could do it on request or based on demographics.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #51
54. It's not just ballots, it also includes all government documents. We can
test your idea by requiring DU to use every native language of DU participants.

Oh wait, since each DU member would be talking in their own language, some would not understand the discussion. Perhaps we should just let DU use the language common to the majority of DU members.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #54
56. Ridiculous analogy...
First, have you forgotten that right now there are threads in Spanish, French and German, sometimes a combination of the above? In addition to that, not everyone has their own language, most people here know how to read or write in English, so its the majority language, but you don't see the Mods deleting or locking threads or posts that are written in other languages. Would that help or hinder communication?

The point being that this legislation isn't NEEDED at all, and in fact could be a HINDERANCE to those who WANT to actually participate in American life.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. Goodbye and have a nice day.
:hi:
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #58
60. Heh, why am I not surprised you would say that...
can't defend your points so you pack up and go home. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #56
65. I agree it's pointless.
But LA, for example, has a few hundred languages spoken there. Ballots are printed in something like 5 languages already, with the voters guides and forms in parallel. Not cheap, as it is. I rather think it's the same in Houston, where I live, but I'm in an area with a low Latino headcount.

DU isn't a good parallel. You can't read a post in German, who cares? I write in Russian or Czech, it doesn't matter--all I'm doing is limiting the people that can read it. It nearly always hinders communication.

If the Houston ballot initiatives were in Czech, there'd be a problem. If the services were only provided in Czech, there'd be a problem--I'd find it entertaining, but I suspect I'm in the minority (even if Czech is one of the "languages of Texas"). Even in Rochester I heard calls saying people have a right to get the ballot in their language, regardless of what New York law stipulated.

They had a point. But there are hundreds of languages spoken in New York state, and making sure all materials were available wherever a speaker of one of those languages might turn up would be prohibitive. So there was a pragmatic limit. It was even stranger in Rochester than in Los Angeles, because Rochester didn't have extensive Spanish media, or any ancillary materials in Spanish. So you read all about local measures in English, or however you can, then you vote in Spanish.

I personally think the only good part of the Senate bill was requiring beefier English testing as part of the naturalization procedure.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #49
52. You propose requiring ballots in the native language for every voter.
The only way to do that is require voters to register and prove they do not understand English and prove they understand their native language. That's a voter ID process.

I'm sure NSA would love to get their hands on that data bank.

In total, what you propose requires ballots for president in every native language of naturalized citizens. I see no reason to permit citizens born in the U.S. to use ballots other than in English.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Do you feel the same about naturalized U.S. citizens? n/t
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. I've already said I support the proposed law voted for by eleven Dems. n/t
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #55
59. Well, I guess you do. :-)
Edited on Sat May-20-06 12:41 PM by joemurphy
But its possible use for the disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens doesn't seem to bother you much. Why is that?

Also -- and this is my personal opinion, of course -- the fact that the "English is our national language" Amendment has been "anointed" by the usually Republican tools and same group of Dems that voted for Alito and the Bankruptcy Amendments doesn't serve to recommend it much with me. The 11 people you listed are hardly examples of "profiles in political courage". Most things Ben Nelson votes for, for example, can be safely regarded as Republican in origin. Old Ben just wants to hang onto his seat.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #52
57. Why is this limited to naturalized Citizens?
Should a Cajun who probably was never exposed to English for most of his life NOT be able to vote, just because he was born and raised in an area where English isn't predominant? What about the border towns near the Mexican border, Spanish reigns there, not English, what about those natural born citizens?
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #44
64. Let's take Rochester, NY, as an example.
We had to have bilingual ballots in some areas. State law, IIRC. It kicked in if the population speaking a language other than English in a district exceeds a certain percentage (5%?). That was almost entirely Spanish.

The Senate bill wouldn't alter this. Explicitly so.

A Russian speaker came in to vote where I was a poll worker. We had a few hundred elderly Russian immigrants in the area (Brighton, actually a suburb of Rochester). This guy a heck of a time making clear to the poll workers in the other precinct across the (small) room what his name was. They finally had him sign in as the wrong person (I intervened, and fixed things). I assume he had trouble with the instructions and everything else. After all, when he was naturalized he wasn't actually tested to make sure he knew English well enough to tell the difference between the men's room and the women's room.

Now, he's entitled to due process, isn't he? Why should he be discriminated against? Clearly, English and even Spanish speakers could get ballots in their languages. But not Russians. There was an arbitrary percentage set by law that nearly effectively disenfranchised him. He might have had a court case, with the right judge. (But this particular thing's been hashed out, I believe, fairly well.)

It would be the same for your elderly Latino voter, if he showed up in my precinct: we had more Russian than Spanish speakers, and no ballots in Spanish. No legal requirement to provide him with one. Could he demand one--did he have a right to one? Then what about the Hungarian speakers? The Polish speakers? Slovak speakers?

And the Spanish speakers that did get bilingual ballots--when they went to do various other administrative things in and around Rochester they might not find the forms in Spanish, or encounter any Spanish speakers. Since the law, after all, only specified that ballots (and probably ancillary documents) be in another language.

The Senate language says they have no right to ask for a ballot in their language just because others get a ballot in their language. And it says that the Spanish speakers that get a ballot in Spanish have no right (based upon getting their ballots in Spanish) to have other services provided in Spanish. Except as authorized and provided for by law.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #41
46. Exactly what it says. n/t
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #19
66. How much does it cost?
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
62. You're missing a detail.
This does not override anything local. There is no federal ballot, just local ones. The Senate bill, were it law today, would have no effect.

Similarly for public schools. Local administration. The US government does not run the local schools here in Houston.

However, there are numerous laws--and there could still be more enacted, were the Senate bill law--that stipulate the requirements for, say, Korean ballots, interpreters in federal courts, and the like. This specifically does not override any law or authorization. It might override Clinton's Executive Order; it might not.

It's pap, at best instructing DHS to alter its naturalization testing procedures.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:40 AM
Response to Original message
13. The amendment is at the following link
Edited on Sat May-20-06 07:43 AM by jody
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oneighty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 07:55 AM
Response to Original message
16. Too bad Latin is no longer
the 'Official language' of the Catholic Church.

That would be an interesting clash between church and state.

All your masses must speak English.

180
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C_U_L8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. Or Aramaic
Shouldn't the fundies want to
speak in the native tongue
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oneighty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #20
28. Not to mention
those precious souls that are moved to speak in 'Tongues' as one of my nephews learned to do in bible school. Of course only he understood.

180
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 08:43 AM
Response to Original message
24. It means ignoring child poverty and 45 million folks w/o health insurance
In the GOP's defence, if everybody in the U.S. spoke English, we'd have "won" in Iraq already.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
27. It means the Senate has too damned much time on it's hands.
It's not like there's a war, a deficit, a wacko 6'5 inch skinny terrorist at large, spying on citizens, etc. that they could deal with.
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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
30. diversion
what the hell is congress doing? Our republic is on the precipice of disaster. Our men and women are dying in Iraq, our environment is being systematically and purposely destroyed, the economy sucks (despite the lies the media regurgitates), and the health care system is a failure--just to name a few. And they spend weeks on stating the obvious.

Divert attention from their agenda.


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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
31. It is like covenant marriage. Just to assuage (or stir the pot) of anxiety
... so people vote Bush ir GOP.
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sadiesworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
37. It means that the corporate whores in DC have no intention
Edited on Sat May-20-06 10:46 AM by sadiesworld
of doing anything substantial to stem the influx of cheap labor.

edit b/c inlux isn't a word
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
43. Ask the Kurds!
The Kurds of Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey have a long history of being prevented by the countries in which they live from passing their language and customs down to their children.

The Kurds are not alone! There are other victims of cultural genocide: the Chechens, our native Hawaiians, our Native Americans, our descendants of African slaves, etc.

How ironic that we condemn the cultural suppression of minorities in other countries while ignoring our own cultural crimes at home.
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wiley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #43
50. Who condemns the cultural suppression of minorities
in other countries? If so, is it ever backed up with any help of any kind?
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kitkat65 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-20-06 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
48. America ber Alles? n/t
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