Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Is There No State Language For The United States?

I know I'm fighting a losing battle on this one, but has anyone reading this considered how odd it is that the U.S.A has no official language? English has been the language du jour of the United States for over two hundred years and there is a certain sense of tradition behind it. It is the language in which our elected officials debate matters of policy and the primary language in which such matters are reported.

So why is it somehow racist, in the face of all that, to say that English should become the official language of the United States, and that speaking it should be a requirement for gaining citizenship? I served with a few guys from the Dominican Republic when I was in the Army and I know the people that come here through legal means are by and large good and hard working people but why are millions of dollars spent on things
like this? If you are serving in the armed forces I would think it is a pretty safe bet you plan to make a go of making the United States the new home of you and your family, right? At the very least you would think being able to understand orders from your NCO, who is some salt of the earth guy from a farm in Arkansas or a slum in Detroit and who is trying to keep your sorry butt alive is a good thing.

Then there is the issue that, ignoring practical concerns and matters of tradition, language helps shape how we understand the world around us, and is the foundation of culture. Without a national language there is one more way for our culture, the uniquely aspirational, egalitarian and welcoming spirit of Americanism, to be eroded. You don't have to take my word for it, look at the European union for a fine example. Constant infighting and condemnations keeping them from any measure of unified action economically or militarily, so soon after it's founding several nations are already seeking to separate themselves from that body. Or the Soviet Union of two decades ago, where the rot of corruption allowed regional directors to play politics based on regional concerns, with Ukrainians looking after Ukrainians, Moscovites for Moscovites, and so on and so forth.

I'm not going to belabor the point beyond this, language is a tool, it can unite or divide, but adopting one language as our own only strengthens America.

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