Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The English-Only Vote in Nashville

THE HOT CONTROVERSY and RIDICULOUS QUESTION: If Metro Nashville votes for English-Only government proceedings does that make it xenophobic and anti-immigration? The city's Aw-Shucks mayor and Tennessee's progressive governor both think we should care more about what outsiders think of us than of our principles and institutions because it might hurt business. Never mind this amendment would only continue and clarify the status quo. Fearmongers say it will mean no one can conduct business in any other language but English, but that's not true. It's only about conducting government business. Most Nashvillians are not taken with the arguemtn for political correctness and like the idea of drawing a line in the sand. Good for us. We'll see the results on January 22.

The Official English Charter Amendment:

On Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, voters will have the opportunity to vote on the following Charter Amendment, and you would think by opponents this is the end of the worlds and will disallow speaking of all foreign languages in the city. Nothing could be further from the truth:

“English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions which bind or commit the government shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, Boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan Government shall be conducted in English. The Metro Council may make specific exceptions to protect public health and safety. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law.”

I don't do a lot of writing about local politics in Nashville---been there/ done that in ways far, far too numerous to mention; however, on the question of English-only in conducting business in local government councils and commissions, I make an exception.

To be clear, I am very much in favor of Crafton's bill defining English as the official language of political discourse and decision making in Metro Nashville. Opponents of the bill say it will make Nashvillians look like a bunch of hillbillies and bigots, and its effect will be to lose money and business for locals. Furthermore it could inconvenience immigrants who haven't yet learned to speak English or can't afford to hire a translator. Will be writing more in the days ahead. Special election Thursday, January 22. It's a flash point issue for the nation. Stay tuned.

Read more.

"It's about keeping Nashville united, not divided by language and encouraging immigrants to learn English and pursue the American dream. And yes, it's also about keeping costs and taxes low, by not making city agencies operate in multiple languages. Vote for the Official English Charter Amendment Thursday, Jan. 22. Let's keep Nashville united by language."


sherry said...

Hm. When my grandfather came to the United States in 1925 via Ellis Island, there was no public translation for Serbian. He wound up in a Serbian community of course, this was typical of any immigrant. But he had to learn English.

'bout time English was deemed the official language of the United States, in my humble opinion.

Webutante said...

This Saturday morning my wonderful cleaning lady, Maria, is here. She speaks English by the hardest. Today, however, she brought her two sons, Robert, 13 and Angel, 12, to help her. They both speak wonderful English, as well as fluent Spainish. Thet're so cute and we've had a great time joking and kidding English of course. Both of them are doing well in school and will go far with their command of the English language.It's the way it should be.

Anonymous said...

I agree with making English the only official language. I don't agree with limiting all official publications and documents to English, notwithstanding the safety and health exception. But everything the city publishes or documents should be in English first.

Actually, if the city leaders were doing their job properly, there would be very little that's not health and safety related that needed to be published in a second language. Much of the rest is interference in people's affairs.

sherry said...

correction to my post:

my grandfather came through Ellis Island in '22.