I could write at least 57 reasons about why Ohio HB 477, the bill that seeks to make English Ohio’s “official language,” is wrong. But that would just be me.
Next week, you’ll have a chance to read about why you should oppose the bill (which has passed the Ohio House but has not yet been acted on by the Ohio Senate) and how to contact your state senator to let them know of your opposition (you can go here now if you’d like to let them know) from a vast array of Ohio bloggers.
In the meantime, here’s a blog blurb from the Cincinnati Enquirer (cached version because the link redirects to the current form of their blog with no archives before May) from when the bill was first introduced:
[State Rep. for Ohio District 30, Bob] Mecklenborg’s bill requires use of the English language by all state and local government entities in official actions and proceedings. The legislation is not meant to infringe on each Ohioan’s right to choose their primary language for personal communication, he said.
Public state and local entities would be bound by the new law. Private organizations, companies and individuals would not be affected.
Under Mecklenborg’s bill, state and local agencies would be required to create an additional line item in their budgets to demonstrate the amount of funds used for providing services in languages other than English and how they spent those funds.
There are several exceptions in the bill, including exemptions to comply with federal law or to promote public health and safety.
Rather than me blathering on about why I abhor the premise of HB 477, read these comments from that thread:
Wow this is a horrible idea. You would figure a multicultural state would … appreciate its multiculturalism. It’s clear that both of these candidates mentioned here are fighting for a “who’s who” of conservative thought– and I will vote for neither. There is no reason to fear another language. The rest of the world appreciates and uses various languages. If we want to BECOME competitive– we need to do the same. We need to end legistlation of fear. Don’t be scared of change.
I think you could go to almost any other country and not need to learn the native language to survive. English works just fine in places like Germany, France, even Mexico, so the argument that we should make English the official language here because everywhere else you need to learn their language to live, is incorrect.
Yeah! I’m sick of hearing all those Irish accents, it’s about time!!!
Wait, we hated the Irish a long time ago….now we hate the Italians!
Wait, we’ve moved on? Now it’s the Mexicans?
Do Americans realize we’ve done this whole immigration dance from day one, every few generations we just do it all over again, but for a different people.
If people referred to the Italians, Catholics or Irish the way they treat Hispanics now, people would think you’re a racist…wait, maybe you are?
Too bad no one cares to remember that until the 1940’s much if Cincinnati spoke German. Street signs were in German as were many church services. In fact, a couple of old churches in OTR still have German language masses, and we still have a German language school in Clifton.
Your grandparent and great-grandparents are turning in their graves.
Whether or not this bill is a good idea or not is irrelevant. It’s another example of our statehouse passing “symbolic” -Rob’s own words- legislation instead of focusing on our real problems.
If this passes, government employees at all levels will have to adjust their procedures (by adjusting their budgetary policies to include this line-item related to non-english services), and that is time they could be better spending actually doing their jobs.
If we make English the “official language” -can we get a promise from Bob to give little Georgie Bush some lessons!
We are a nation that was settled by the French, English, and Spanish. Over the years we have seen large immigrant populations from Asia and South America.
Given the fact that caucasions will soon be the minority, in America, and I think it is silly to suggest that we should make our State or Nation English only. There is no official language in the US for a reason…we should keep it that way.
“Every other group of immigrants that has ever come to this country has taken the time to learn the language …”
A good deal of German immigrants were “inspired” to learn English after both WWI and WWI in order to prove they weren’t the enemy. Not out of some strong desire to become more American. It was a desire to protect their families and homes from angry, and sometimes violent, mobs.
Same thing with many Asians during WWII. Internment camps will do that to a person.
A good deal of “excess money” spent on signs, etc. enables an additional group of people to spend their money. You can’t pretend this is cut and dry and that there wouldn’t be consequences for the economy in ignoring a portion of the population that’s proven to be a lot better at buying with cash-in-hand than many Americans. French-Canadians seem fine with their bi-lingual signage.
I do have a problem with the state telling the municipalities what they can do, however. That just smacks of big government neocon socialist pooh. It also sounds like an infringement of the first amendment, too. ALSO how come I only have 2 choices of language at the ATM ?
This doesn’t have even the slightest effect on 5/3 Bank or any other private business accommodating its customers by having Spanish as an option. See it for what it is: grandstanding by someone up for election.
Why do we need to be concerned with an “offical” language? You… want to know why other countries have “offical” languages? The answer is colonialism. For many years much of the rest of the world was controlled by European powers, the offical business was done solely in that colonizer’s langauge and not the native tongue, so after it became unfasionable to have an “empire” and those colonies became “nation states” they made their native tongues the “offical” language; it was an expression of freedom! They were throwing off the yoke of their colonizers (like France or Great Britain or Spain or Portugal etc.)
So comparing the US and other countries in regards to “offical” languages is retarded; the US is an IMMIGRANT NATION! By the way, Mecklenborg and the rest of you…Cincinnatians make me ashamed that my IMMIGRANT parents (who do speak English) moved to such a closed minded town need to recognize that most of the South-west of US was a part of MEXICO for a long time, and we took it forcefully, in something called the Mexican-American war.
Um, I hate to inject a little science, but many studies show that immigrants always learn English by the second generation. So…pandering is irrelevant, as well as xenophobic and ignorant.
Another thing that makes it irrelevant is that by 2020, non-Hispanic whites will be less than 50% of the population, i.e., a minority. To get ahead of the curve, Mecklenborg should be demanding that Spanish be the official language of Ohio.
There are many more but I’ll end with this one:
While other countries are becoming more multi-lingual, more welcoming, more inclusive, this kind of idiocy predominates in the U.S. Travel anywhere in the world and you’ll find people much more fluent than Americans. Even those without much formal education. Instead of worrying about declaring English as the official language, how about figuring a way to improve the skills of the 37% of American born citizens that are functionally illiterate. Declare all you want. A large portion of the population born here, with every advantage, still can’t read and write English.
If you’re a blogger and would like to participate, send me an e-mail and I’ll send you the details of when and how to participate in Blogging in Tongues Against HB 477.
Mischief? Who? Me? No time for that – I’m off to learn how to run for president.