Monday, June 9, 2008


Ohio's "official English" bill (HB 477) is currently passing through the Ohio General Assembly. It will soon arrive on the governor's desk. This bill is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

Ohio's recent Hispanic population increase has prompted this bill. There are concerns for dilution of American (read: Caucasian) "culture." This bill is a reaction to fear, encouraged by racist groups and news reporters like CNN's Lou Dobbs.

While our main language is English, it has always been one of many. Our history demonstrates that we have always used many languages. English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and many Native American languages have long been used in the United States. For historic reasons, French is spoken in New Orleans. Spanish is spoken in Miami and Los Angeles. German is used in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. There are more examples, but you understand my meaning. This is a nation of immigrants; the use of many languages is impossible to avoid.

Is this a problem that demands a solution? It never has before, why now? Why devalue our own multicultural history?

This article was not published in English for this reason: we need to view this issue from a wider perspective. Many people will be affected by this, not only Hispanics. Immigration to America will grow more difficult. Does Ohio really want to say "keep out" to the rest of the world?

This bill is just an election-year scare tactic. It is intended to scare voters with fear of the unknown. Don't panic, we can handle this issue. We always have before.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
""Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Original post is here.

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