03/05/05 — Do it in English: Official-language bill should become law

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Do it in English: Official-language bill should become law

You can’t legislate love, but a proposed law would at least help unify the people of this country.

It was introduced by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, and it is called the English Unity Act of 2005. It proposes that Congress make English the official language of the U.S. government.

If it passed, the government would conduct most of its routine business in English, but agencies would be allowed to use judgment when handling matters involving health, safety and security. Currently the government provides services in 16 languages, and ballots are printed in 28.

That removes much of the incentive for immigrants to learn English.

The cost of a multi-lingual government is high, but expense is not the main issue. The main issue is that a society is divided when its members lack the ability to communicate fluently with one another. People tend to remain isolated in their own little bands. They don’t gain an understanding of one another.

It is difficult for them to find their similarities, to discuss the hopes that they share, to develop a bond of common motivation. They cannot reason together.

And they are less likely to trust one another.

It certainly can be argued that an immigrant knowing no English would find it difficult to do business with the government in English, but there are ways around that, such as the use of interpreters. Moreover, a person may be presumed to have some responsibility to familiarize himself with the rudiments of English before moving to an English-speaking country.

Congressman King’s bill should be passed for the sake of the melting pot.

Published in Editorials on March 5, 2005 11:38 PM