Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Make Sure Children Speak Spanish?

I am so bored with the presidential election. Both are pandering demagogues. Their diatribes have grown stale. The sad state of affairs is that one of these dolts will become our next president. Neither will get my vote.

Today, Obama told an audience in Powder Springs, GA that parents "need to make sure that [their children] can speak Spanish." He went on to say that the nation's chief priority should not be for immigrants to learn English, but for American children to learn Spanish. Why?

This is a priority for America? Are you kidding me? One of the major problems we have in this nation is the Balkanization of the nation. We do not need multiple "official" languages. We do not need government documents printed in multiple languages. We do not need to go out of our way to cater to those that do not speak English.

Learning another language should be an American's prerogative. It should not be some government mandate. Certainly, Americans are weaker than our European brethren in reading, writing and speaking multiple languages, but there are good reasons why. For example, Europeans live in small countries with small populations, few people speak their language. Aside from news and game shows, many countries lack original TV and movie programming. It is very costly to produce content in multiple languages. English is spoken by most people out of necessity. English is the language of business in much of the world.

If people want to learn another language, Spanish is certainly an option, but why not Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Arabic? Those languages seem to be more marketable. The problem with learning a second language is that most people are not in a place to use and practice it. You only become good at a language when you immerse yourself in it. That's not going to happen in America, thankfully.

Having learned Spanish on my LDS mission, I find the skill useful on occasion. However, do to lack of practice, my skills have diminished. However, it does not take me long to get it back. The skill rears itself when I travel to Latin America or Spain, not here in the US. (And BTW, most people never travel outside of the country.)

I speak Spanish here when I need to. I help translate for people who are traveling or who are obviously having a hard time communicating. But I will not go out of my way to speak Spanish for the sake of it.

English should be the official language of America. The government should not spend taxpayer money providing redundant communication messages in multiple languages. English should be the official language in our public schools.

Obama made an idiotic statement. Immigrants should be forced to learn English; American citizens should not be forced to learn Spanish or any other language by government mandate. Obama was and is pandering to the Hispanic voter. His stance on this is out of touch with the American people.

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