Blogging in Tongues Against Ohio HB 477

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.

Reality bites.

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.

31 thoughts on “Blogging in Tongues Against Ohio HB 477

  1. I saw a few weeks ago and I agree it is a very interesting site. Some of the opinions are the usual trash but there are some thought provoking discussions and it appears to be just what it claims- non partisan. What makes you think it’s not honest?

  2. @#27 – I just don’t agree with your predictions or your conclusions about what those predictions imply. But I do appreciate you taking the time to explain your ideas. I hope you keep reading.

  3. It is great when people know other languages and other cultures, but come on, we are living in the U.S.A., where the official language should be English. If you go to another country, it is best to speak that other language. Now, there are alot of people in this world speaking English, but you will be better off if you spoke the language of the country you visit or live in. I got fed up and tossed those politicians at brick at, and you can to.

  4. You must be very young and naive and uninformed indeed, if you do not understand the implications of $200-and-up-a-barrel oil for the world economy. For one thing, the world can’t feed a population of 6.6 billion people without petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, and fossil-fuel-powered mechanized tilling and harvesting. (Non-petroleum-assisted agriculture can feed maybe 2 billion, max.) For another thing, we (the US) won’t be able to finance our massive government overspending by borrowing from China anymore, because China’s economy depends on cheap exports to the West and peak oil will eventually wipe out its export sector. (You do know that our federal debt is now at 10 trillion dollars, with state and local governments also heavily in debt to the tune of many hundreds of billions of dollars more? And that is BEFORE the baby boomers start retiring.) Another thing, the airlines are already dropping routes and laying off people because of the oil price increase — I read just this morning that the Asian airlines will shortly follow the American ones into the bankruptcy courts.

    Life is shortly to become much more difficult for all of us, and in difficult times, people tend to be reminded why concepts like borders, common languages and self-determination ever arose in the first place. Frivolities like “diversity training” and “multilingualism” and “a borderless world” are intellectual circle-jerks for fat, comfortable times. We can’t afford to be divided by language, or other such divisions, in an era of such extreme challenges. Eventually things will shake out to what makes it easiest for the most people to survive, and a common language is very much something that helps a people survive. Also, you are very naive if you think that taxpayers will be more willing to pay for multiple printed documents and translation services, instead of schoolteachers or police or fire services, when push comes to shove. I lived through the oil shocks of the ’70s and 22 percent loan interest rates, but that was nothing compared to what’s coming ahead of us now. But hey, it’s a good thing you speak Portuguese. Brazil just found a massive oil field off one of its coasts.

  5. MaryJ – where exactly do you live? what do you read? I’m not seeing or envisioning anything remotely like what you’re describing. I’m curious to know how you’ve come to these predictions.

  6. In the end the situation will sort itself out due to the coming economic downtown and the mass economic dislocations caused by peak oil. With oil at $200 a barrel, jobs and money will be extremely scarce and immigrants — and government spending on immigrants — will become very, very unpopular in a very short time. Our governments won’t have the money for multiple translation services, multiple printed documents, bi-lingual policemen, or other needless expenses. Immigrants will soon learn the necessity of speaking English and assimilating, or else they’ll starve — as was the case a hundred years ago. Many won’t be able to hack it, and will just go home. Problem solved.

  7. Actually I am fearless, I write often outside of myself. Analysts do that, they describe and detail and it is for the most part devoid of personal interests.

    If I am appearing overly personal I will remove that, my feeling on the matter are wholly indifferent. What I noticed is quite bit of pigeon holing, pre judging and placing people into boxes

    I am the type ruled by fear? I am a control freak?

    Putting the needs of others before yourself is admirable, if real and not contrived. However those that you serve may also see you as foolish and take and not return the same consideration.

    Living in a country and not speaking the language is not quite torture, its a circumstance that an individual created for themselves. I prescribe to the power of one and learning is within that realm, it is an individual that should bare the responsibility. Actually solving ones problems for themselves by themselves is empowering, and adversity builds character. Asking for help is weak and patronizing the weaknesses of others is degradation, not intentional it is a form of systematic degradation. It wears pretty frock it call compassion and wisdom, it actually usurp the energy of others, it empowers dependency and thrives on it.

    Nobody is perfect.

  8. Oengus – you let fear rule you way too much. We’re not losing English as the dominant language, not in our lifetime or our kids’ lifetimes. And if evolution has it that English in the USA becomes a minority-spoken language, then so be it if it reflects the population.

    Why are people such control freaks?

  9. Pingback: Blogging językami przeciw 477 HB « Bad American

  10. Without some stop gap measure the country could loose English as an unofficial language. It is only Spanish that could replace it, with over a 3% growth rate annually, since 2003 it’s a growing population. Half of the US population growth is Hispanic.

    Again Dade county is real good window to look into the future, you cannot find work there unless you speak Spanish. Twenty five percent of Dade county does not speak English, that’s ok…hello most American only speak English. Its ok unless you are looking for work and have to move because you can’t find any. Dade County is working to insure that the next generation speaks English, the children will no doubt be bilingual.

    What is interesting is that a predominately Spanish community could require that all government workers speak Spanish, but they can not now because of federal law. They did do that in Dade county they were hiring only people that spoke Spanish and some did not speak English, so much for accommodating others. The story about the license bureau is true not made up.

    The change in the code are not racist and they add the caveat to the law, not to be interpreted as racist.

    I am not ambivalent, without a national language you will have language instability and certain groups could as they did in Dade county use that in a manor that discriminates, so what if Europeans speak more than one language, that’s not south of our border that majority only speak Spanish and they are not any more adept to learn a new language than we are.

    With the current trend those that are bilingual, that being speak both Spanish and English will suffer no disadvantage, and with legislation of this type it will minimize any potential disadvantages to future English only speaking citizens in the US.

    I am sure they wanted to write the law to say all government employees must speak English, but then that would be seen as unconstitutional, so they opted for not requiring a foreign language for any job that it would not be directly related. They cannot only allow Spanish because what about Russian, Farsi, German or Mandarin again unconstitutional not allowed to discriminate.

    I do not agree or disagree with the legislation, I really do not care, does not mean that I cannot discus why they are doing it.

    With a 3% growth rate on 15% of the population…make sure the children speak Spanish I would say, because half of the growth in population in this country is Hispanic. If that continues then in 21 years the population will grow from 35M today to 63M in 21 years. That would also mean that in 2029 the US will be 27% Hispanic, make sure your children speak Spanish I would say.

  11. reverend wright was spewing the hatred – not me. i was just questioning how a group of people who get all the perks that blacks get could be so angry. i’m not angry – they are. answer the question instead of attacking me. you seem to accuse me of what it is that YOU’RE doing. i make a comment about them HATING and you call ME a hater. WTF?

  12. There is a program …I believe it is the History channel or the Discovery Channel early in the morning on the weekends called the History of English. ( meaning the language) how the language has evolved through the centuries as travel and trade etc. expanded the spoken word…. English is made up of so many other languages and begs the question to be asked “what is English” ….. words commonly used today have their origins in latin, german, french, anglo saxon, gaelic etc….. English has evolved and will continue to evolve ….. Loraine

  13. Jill,

    Bravo for your response to Joe …
    One of the great things about WLST is the level of debate is above what we have unfortunately become subjected to these days in America. There are many places for the sort of posts above that revel in discourse. It reflects not a desire to debate and learn but a blowhard mentality way too prevalent today.

  14. Oengus, I might be wrong, but I think you have some ambivalence about this? Not sure.

    But I want to comment on one thing you wrote: “I have to think protecting what is the language today is wise.”

    Protect it from what? What exactly are we afraid of?

    I don’t see where, practically speaking, we have anything to fear about the use of language – language is a way to communicate but we all already communicate in multiple ways. Having multiple languages is no different. We provide accommodation for sight and hearing differences. Why not language?

    The purpose of making state-related information available in languages other than English is to enrich not just the individuals who need that alternative, but the rest of us for the experience and knowledge and skills those individuals bring.

    Why is the organic as well as invited evolution of any society into one that includes people with differences so hard for people to accept? What is the actual fear?

    I just don’t get that. To me, it’s arrogant and uninformed and disrespects some of the basic premises of what makes many of us most proud of our country.

    People need to get with the 21st Century and stop being so fearful of what is different.

  15. I read Loraine’s post and I highly recommend it. It’s about N. Ireland and the extremes they’ve been through related to ethnicity and religion. Thanks for posting it, Loraine.

  16. Joe – if you want to engage in hate-filled chat, this isn’t the place. The next comment you leave like that one will be edited or deleted. Seriously – if you don’t find these ideas to reflect anything you want to think about or support, I’m not really sure what you’re trying to do other than sound angry and bitter. I mean, a lot of people want to express their anger and bitterness. But here – you need to couch it in a way that’s supposed to convince people about what’s best for us to do.

    If you can’t do that and can only name-call, you really are at the wrong blog.

  17. racism? what other country on earth would allow people who are uneducated (by their own choice) and unskilled sit at home drinking beer on the porch of their section eight financed home, get their kids transported to school, given free health care, given free lunches when they get there, get money in the mail to feed the kids, get money in the mail from the government for their own welfare, be given low cost loans for college, be provided an advantage in collegiate placement because they’re “disadvantaged”, be permitted to commit crimes time and time again without facing any serious jail time while continuing to receive their “free” government money, and on and on and on….. and they STILL b1tch about this country and hate you for being white? they have alot of freakin nerve. anybody but obama. get outta oregon and come to cleveland chuck and embrace some diversity. you’ll quickly get your fill of these losers when you have to deal with them day in and day out.

  18. With out a national language in our changing world, you could end up with enclaves of different languages, not just neighborhoods large areas. Without some sort of protection of English the language could change to Spanish. If we had the same immigration policy today as we had in the past, exclude the most favorite nations status. If we had open immigration and no protection of English, then English would give way to other languages.

    We have restrictive immigration, and it is not an intelligent approach either. If we opened the doors which may eventually happen, the population density is skewed and the rest of the world may pressure us to lesson our restrictions. We have no 100 year plan, heck we are fly by the seat of your pants nation always have been.

    Its difficult to learn a language after a certain age, some say impossible in some cases, many actually. If you do not care then fine don’t but personally I have to think protecting what is the language today is wise.

    By the way Bill the peninsula was native American before it was Spanish, Seminal tribes had a language that came before Spanish. The Spanish had little or no regard for them, Dade county will eventually use English again some day, the next generation will, this one prefers Spanish, but the government is insuring that all of their children speak English.

    Its foolish to think you could get job in Latin America with out speaking Spanish, it is also difficult to get a job today in Miami if you do not speak Spanish. You can get by as tourist in either location but try to get job in either, you won’t have much luck.

    If the government forces language of private citizens that is problematic and particularly in the US if it is not English.

  19. Would someone tell commentor No. 8 that “Florida” is a Spanish word. The state was named by the Spanish who sailed up and took the peninsula from the people who were already there. Florida means flowers, or a flowery place, or flora, in English. I suppose we will have to say Flowers when we mean Florida if English becomes our “official” language.

  20. I’m not sure I can do Oregonian to Buckeye, I haven’t managed too well with a couple WLST’s readers. Maybe it’s that NE OR part? It is more likely absolute hicks from the complete sticks part that doesn’t translate. Maybe I mumble…

  21. Fear? What is being feared, the loss of English? Quebec had some fear at one time that French would give way to English and they prevented that from happening. With out that protection Quebec would have lost in uniqueness.

    What you are missing is that the preference of language is not unique, America is not Europe which has an incredible amount of language diversity that is inherent, they all agree to English as the International langue of business. However they also legislate in many countries to protect their historical or native language. For what? To avoid English from becoming the predominate language.

    Spanish is what is concerning, it is taking over. That is unrealistic in Ohio, however Florida is very Spanish and I suppose in some areas of Florida it would be entirely possible to have a public forum that was conducted entirely in Spanish. It is also very possible that a positions within government, perhaps a clerk that issues drivers licenses could be required to speak Spanish.

    Imagine this; you moved to Dade County and make a trip to the motor vehicle department to renew your plates, the clerk at the counter does not speak English. To your surprise you have to wait until a clerk that can speak English is available. You get offended because others that came in after you get serviced first, when you complain they say; “maybe you should learn Spanish”.

    Do you think that the French, Italian, Greek, German or any other nation would allow that to happen? Do you think that a national should wait to address government business because they only speak their native tongue and the government office is prioritizing a foreign language.

    This law does discriminate, it discriminates on any event within government to prioritize any language other than English. You need to look closer because if it is not possible to be pro-English without being anti-Spanish, then it also not possible to be pro-woman and not be anti-men. Also consider what is liberal and what is conservative as well, because chanting the same old mantra over and over is not liberal, it is actually conservative.

  22. go**amn america? the white man created aids? all the other hateful statements these folks have made? to suggest that those statements “help them” clearly demonstrates how warped your thinking has become. it does nothing but hurt us all. yeah, obama is gonna change the tone alright. dream on, but when the dream becomes a nightmare you’ll have only yourself to blame.

  23. Intriguing. I’ve been to Holy Ghost revivals. Does that help?

    I don’t this crap will help them this time around.

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