Sunday, April 25, 2010

Something stinks in the Sludgeslature

Imagine you are a legal visitor to this country. You have arrived here (Atlanta) from France, India, Mexico, Japan, Alabamastan, wherever. You want to settle down in this wonderful country, get a job, a house or apartment, become a citizen. You speak some English, but you are not fluent. One of the first things you would want to do, since Atlanta has the worst transit system of any major city, is get a drivers license. Well that could be a problem. You see, the Georgia Sludgeslature is considering a bill (SB 67) that would require all drivers license exams be given in English. This would mean that you would have to become fluent in English before getting the license, before you could get a car, before you could get a job that isn't on the bus line, before you could get that aforementioned apartment or house. This would restrict your efforts, making those goals very difficult to obtain. Some would ask: "Why didn't you learn English before you got here?" Well, you did, but as I said, you're not fluent. The best way to get fluent in another language is to become immersed in it. So you could find a school that teaches English, but you don't have a car to get there, nor a job to pay for it. 

Let's face it folks, the purpose of this bill is to keep the Mexicans out, it ain't aimed at Canadians. But the sludges (that's what the habitants of the Sludgeslature are called) don't have the balls to say that. They talk about safety on the roads (State Senator Jack Murphy says that he believes that foreign drivers pose a danger because they cannot read English language road signs). We have spent a couple bazillion dollars in the past 30 years making our road signs readable for those who can't. We ask potential drivers to identify signs based on their shape (red octagon = STOP, yellow triangle = YIELD, etc.). What about the people in Georgia who can't read at all? Do we plan on banning them also. The quick answer to that is not only no, but hell no. Just think about the backlash from south Georgia or the north Georgia mountains if that is proposed. There would be so many pissed off rednecks you would think the state was trying to make them wear seat belts in their pickups. 

This "English only"  craze that is sweeping through the nation is nothing but "Our ancestors came here from somewhere else, learned English, got jobs and made it here. Now it's time to keep everyone else out." It's like the family buying a new house that is on land that used to be full of trees. The developer cut them down to build houses. They like where they are because it's in a quiet area next to some woods. Then when the developer starts building another subdivision they complain that he is cutting down "their" trees for someone else, can't they leave SOME trees? It's OK to clear cut the forest for us, but once we're here, no more. 

This country never has, and never should be English only. It was settled and built by, to name some, French, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, German, Polish, Italians, Chinese, and also English. Not to mention (I guess I have) the people that were here before us. The English language has become prominent, but in no way should it be the only one we allow. 

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