Promoted by Steven D.

Senate vote endorses English as the ‘national language’

American English:

angst, film noir, kung fu, gung ho, carpe diem, faux pas, Milwaukee, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, goulash, pizza, tycoon, zeitgeist, amuck, chow, kow tow, tea, futon, hari-kari, ramen, soy, sushi, tofu, gong, ketchup, boondocks, gingham, hula, tattoo, taboo, luau, alligator, cafeteria, comrade, cigar, renegade, savvy, tornado, tobacco, mosquito, vanilla, Florida, Las Vegas, bayou, chipmunk, moccasin, moose, pecan, totem, schadenfreude, pro bono, mea culpa, Boca Raton …

Hmmmm, where to start? What are we so afraid of? People find ways to communicate. Many of the richest places in the world culturally are the ones built where trade routes met, places where cultures mixed and languages bumped into each other and melted and combined. This country has taken that historical truth and writ it large, on almost an entire continent. We are who we are because we’re nothing BUT an idea, an idea that people can find ways to make things work. To insist, once again, that the nation’s spirit is being sapped instead of enriched by the continuing waves of strivers is to deny our history, to deny WHY THIS COUNTRY EXISTS.

Once again, the fearful and ignorant will tear us apart by trying to lock something down. It is in openness and breathing fresh air that growth, change and LIFE are fostered.

If confronted by someone ranting about how “they” should speak english, make a point of pointing out every foreign word that comes out of the ugly American’s mouth.

If we want to find REAL solutions to our problems, we need to reconsider our trade policies. We need to make a real commitment to education. We need to TALK to each other, even if it’s in halting English and waving hands and clumsy translations. We need to make a commitment to see that we address poverty and healthcare here, and make sure we don’t export our corporate rapaciousness to our neighbors, shredding their economies and forcing desperate people to move in search of survival. We need to open up, recommit to talking and sharing and diplomacy and an open and egalitarian application of the rule of law. We need to remake ourselves, see the world through new eyes and to find new political leaders.

Personally, I’m starting a class in Chinese this summer. As they all-but own this country, I figure it’s a good idea to know your banker’s language. It’s a beautiful, fascinating culture, and even if I find it as difficult as everyone warns me it is, I feel sure that I will be enriched for the learning. I can’t use it, but I had German in high school. I found it made my use of English stronger. It broadened my appreciation of vocabulary and understanding of grammer. I’m hopeful that learning this new language will make the world anew for me by giving familiar things new names for me to use. Learn a new language in protest to this know nothingism. Talk to the hispanic grocer … learn some of her words. Try to pronounce Tsing Tao properly when you order a bottle with your tempura … ask the waiter to help you.

It’s a big, broad, beautiful world … sing it’s praises in as many ways as you can.

originally up at Liberal Street Fighter

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