Blitzer followed up with the question "is there anyone else who stands with Sen. McCain specifically on that question?" No Republican candidate responded. A good example of the effect of NOT legislating English as our official language can be seen in the June 22 release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the school lunch program. I quote verbatim:
"Please be advised that we have finalized the process of translating the Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application package into 25 different languages . . . Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese (Mandarin), Farsi, French, Greek, Haitian, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Laotian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Serbo-Croatian, Somali, Spanish, Sudanese, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese."
(Note the discrimination of this list: it omits German and Italian. Does this mean that (a) German and Italian immigrants see to it that their kids learn English, or (b) we no longer accept immigrants from Germany or Italy, or we are still angry at Germany and Italy about World War II?)
Univision, the nation's most-watched Spanish-language television network, has announced it wants to host a Spanish-language TV debate among the 2008 presidential candidates. After specifying that all questions would be asked in Spanish, Univision condescendingly said that candidates may either answer in Spanish or use a translator if they answer in English.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mel Martinez says this is a "terrific" idea. Martinez is part of the reason why contributions to the Republican Party have dropped so low that the party has laid off all its telephone solicitors. The Univision invitation illustrates why it is important to recognize English as our official language. Since only citizens may legally vote, and being able to speak English is a requirement for naturalization, there is no necessity for candidates to speak to voters in any language other than English.
When a candidate uses a language other than English (as Mitt Romney is now doing in radio ads), it's like whispering behind the backs of most voters. This is unacceptable because the candidate may be making promises or concessions or innuendoes to a minority bloc, and because the process tends to divide the electorate into political pressure groups.
The English language is the greatest force we have for national unity. It would be a tragic mistake to diminish it.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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