Thursday, July 10, 2008

¡ No hablo Obama !

I've heard political candidates say some of the craziest things imaginable such as Howard Deans campaign killing scream, Mayor Nagin saying that New Orleans would be "Chocolate City", and "If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very low crime rate" from Marion Barry. These statements are all pretty nutty, but none even begin to compare to what Sen. Obama recently said while on a campaign stop. Listen for yourself.


I'm utterly amazed that a man who actually has a chance to be the President of the United States (and presumably the leader of the free world) would say something this completely and utterly nuts. This is the kind rhetoric we would expect from some fringe politician at the beginning of a political season where both sides have 20 candidates. This however, is the guy left at the end of that process. Well Senator, if your looking for the La Raza endorsement, I'd say you've locked that up. I mean no disrespect to anyone who speaks Spanish or any other language as a 2nd to English, as this can often enrich people. For Sen. Obama to suggest that our kids should speak Spanish as opposed to English (as our national language) IS beyond ridiculous. I seriously have to wonder if the stress of campaigning has gotten to the man? If you were a fence sitter on which candidate to back, then this may be the tipper for you.

To suggest that we should learn Spanish in lieu of expecting people who come here to learn English in a timely manner is to this blogger utterly offensive. Moreover, an insult to anyone who has ever worn the uniform of our armed forces to ensure that All Americans speak English as opposed to German, Japanese, or Arabic.

Until Congress passes a law that specifically states we are a multi-lingual country, we should and need to remain English for all matters and all official government documents. Any language taught in school needs to be English and only students who have proven proficiency in English should be allowed to take a 2nd language.

I would love to end this with some type of pithy comment, but I will simply end it the way I feel.

America is a dream and English is America, therefore the dream is based in some respect on the English language as it's as much part of America as apple pie, little league baseball, and the Sunday barbecue.

8 comments:

Bill Chapman said...

As a British citizen, I won't commrent on American politics, but I will comment on a linguistic matter. I would like to argue the case for learning and usinf Esperanto. It is a planned language which belongs to no one country or group of states. Take a look at www.esperanto.net

Esperanto works! I've used it in speech and writing in a dozen countries over recent years. What do you think?

Gxeremio said...

Yeah, McCain said that students should learn courtesy, so that must mean he doesn't want schools to teach reading! How will our students succeed if they don't learn how to read? The desire to teach courtesy shows that McCain wants to control the minds of children instead of helping them acquire skills they will need.

Unless...maybe McCain meant they should learn courtesy in addition to other things they learn; that they should put it higher on their priority list of things to learn. And maybe, just maybe, kids don't have to learn Spanish "instead of" English. Maybe they could learn both, and there might be a reason that an American presidential candidate wants students to speak multiple languages in addition to English, like, I don't know, global competitiveness.

By the way, I support the learning of Esperanto too, for many reasons including what it does to expand your mental faculties.

Augusta Water Cooler said...

Mr. Chapman, greetings across the pond. When I first read you post, I must say that I had not heard of Esperanto. I followed the link that you provided and decided to find out for myself what it was all about.

This is an interesting concept and it's easy to see why this facinates soo many people. I don't see thin catching on with the global community any time soon.

There are countless languages in the world. Most are part of cultures who will not give up their language (and in part culture) for some universal language of the world.

I applaude the creativity and good intentions of the creators and innovators of such things. At this time I see this as nothing more than an interesting communications method such a HAM radio.

Althought I find this interesting, I can't stand behind this as format for American students when they struggle with our current language. If Congress decides at some point to change our language then perhaps this format will get consideration.

Thanks for the post and thought provoking information.

Augusta Water Cooler said...

"gxeremio" Courtesty to some degree is taught in our schools. That particular skill should be and needs to be taught in the home by families who want to see thier children succeed in any environment.

Your comment on "McCain wants to control the minds of children instead of helping them acquire skills they will need." is well, I don't even know how to respond to that as it makes no sense at all. I've thought about this and don't see where you drawn this conclusion. I've done some teaching (in career specific areas) but don't claim to have traditional teaching experience. It seems logical to me that we need to go back to focusing on reading, writhing and math and then build on those abilities. By doing so we ensure that all students have the basic skills needed to exist, compete, and succeed in our society as well as many others. We are so concered with teaching to many "ologies" and "mutliculturism" based things before the basics are mastered which MUST occur first.

For clarification, I have no problem with our students learning about amny other cultures and languages and believe this can improve them overall as students and people. I simply can't support such things over the basic that not person can succeed without.

linz said...

Sorry, I assumed that you would understand my first paragraph was meant to have the same tone as this whole "Obama wants kids to speak Spanish instead of English" idea, which is equally baseless. Obama's remarks have a very understandable context, and it's not what you seem to think it is. Students should of course master the English language, and should ALSO learn foreign languages like Spanish to be more competitive in a global economy. From the clip, that's clearly what he meant and this attempt to twist a simple, logical point into some broader anti-American or mushy-multicultural message really is silly. It's analogous to taking McCain's message which I mentioned and twisting it to seem sinister...which it was not.

Let's avoid the temptation to put words in people's mouths. Obama said "Your kids should learn Spanish" NOT "Your kids should not learn English."

In other words, I don't think Obama (or many other thinking people) would disagree with what you've said about mastering basic skills.

On another note, Esperanto is not mean to replace any language, but to be a common second language for all. Supporters of Esperanto say that regional languages like Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and English are causing the death of smaller languages and that a neutral, easy-to-learn second (or auxiliary) language for all would help preserve those smaller languages.

Augusta Water Cooler said...

"linz" I simply don't agree with your perspective on the sentiment behind Sen. Obama's speech. I've seen this speech and anyone whose been to my blog has had to oportunity to see it. I don't think that the Senator intended to make that comment sound the way it did, however he did say it, which at this point is a matter of fact. I think this speaks volumes on his lack of experience and what that lack causes when your on such an endevor.

In some respects I think we see this the same way and in others we clearly disagree. The beauty of America is that we can have forums such as this one and debate issues.

Thanks for the post.

Gxeremio said...

It might help if you look at a little more context. The video above is about 30 seconds...here's a slightly >longer clip (1 minute 8 second) that makes the context of his remarks clearer.

Augusta Water Cooler said...

"Gxeremio" I have watched the link that you've sent to me and do agree that from a cultural standpoint learning other cultures and languages is most likely positive for our children. Where I disagree is that we are not Europe and left there for a reason (which could be an entire set of blogs on its' own). English is the national language of this country and untill such time as Congress changes that.

I recently went to Germany for a vacation and learned some German previous to that trip as I had no (reasonable)expectation that they would speak English as that is not there language.

It is simply a matter of disrespect when people of any culture move to this country and expect us to bend to their language.

I want to be very clear on this matter, I'm not opposed to other languages or cultures, the best parts of America come from cultures around the world. We would not have the NBA were it not for the the games forerunner being invented in Italy or the NFL if not for Austrailian rules football AKA Rugby or Pro Baseball if not developed from Cricket which originated in the UK. The only sport played with any frequency that actually came from here is Lacrosse which was created by Native Americans Indians as a celibration after conquering another tribe.

I myself grew up in ME in an area where people frequently spoke french which I took all through HS. I from time to time use Spanish and or "Spanglish" in my job as an LE Officer.

English must remain the language of this country and our students must excel at it in both the spoken and written word for them to be trully competitive in any market. English is classified as a class 5 language due to it's complexity for a reason. English is the international language of Aviation and the seas and as such all ship and plane pilots must be able to communicate in this manner.