Bill Murchison

Vamos a ver, as we say down at Bo's Hardware Store. According to an ABC News "Good Morning America" poll, two thirds of Americans don't mind hearing Spanish spoken as a matter of course right here in the United States.

I doubt this rather seriously, given the tendency of poll respondents to avoid saying anything that might make a polltaker say under his breath, "Racist, racist!" But the poll does bring to the fore a significant question: How much sense does it make for the United States to accommodate the widespread speaking of a tongue other than English in a nation where English is supposedly the universal and semi-official language?

I don't think it makes much sense at all, though I expect such a viewpoint to enrage and disgust our country's dominant cultural left.

To those who don't appreciate the intrusion of Spanish -- melodious Romance language as it is -- into daily American life, ABC imputes a tendency to back stricter immigration rules and to hold "negative views on immigration generally, particularly on illegal immigration."

In which case a word from a certified immigration "moderate" with some university training in Spanish and a 40-year habit of muttering to himself in said language -- a word, I say, from such a one might be of use. And it's this. A bilingual nation can't and won't cut it. Language enshrines and perpetuates cultural division, of which surely we have enough right now. I wouldn't care if our newcomers were speaking the tongue of my Celtic forbears. I would beg the Highland laddies kindly to carry on in the Queen's English.

One nation, one language is the sensible rule everywhere perhaps but Switzerland, which for historical and geographical reasons carries on in German, French and Italian. In Belgium, an artificial firebreak kind of nation, the French speakers and the Dutch speakers are talking of going their separate ways. Wouldn't blame them if they did.

The more we condone -- not to mention encourage -- the routine speaking of Spanish in schools and in the workplace, the slighter and slimmer grow opportunities for that thoroughgoing cultural assimilation all should desire -- Spanish speakers as well as English speakers.

Bad enough are ballots in Spanish. Dios mio! People are going to vote who -- let's say -- aren't thoroughly comfortable with the tongue of the country in which they're voting? What kind of nonsense is this?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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