Heads up that I was interviewed in The Tennessean today for an article tomorrow re English Only.
This is the gist of my interview and I submitted this as a Letter to the Editor, just to cover my butt...We all know how reporters twist things out of context....Also, there is no assurance the Editor will even publish my submission....I don't own the ink or the presses......Ha!
Interviewed today by a reporter of The Tennessean on why the English Only movement was still important "despite its defeat", he said.
I told Chris that the issue is still important because knowing English is the tool to making it in the US. Understanding the language, being able to have a conversation with someone in English demonstrated unity and was the integral ingredient to achieving a level of success in our country, regardless of one's definition of success.
We discussed several issues surrounding English Only. First, I made a personal opinion that English "Only" was perhaps a poor choice in wording. The "only" has the connotation of being exclusive or negative. As any piece of legislation or ballot question is decided and the verbiage therein is carefully crafted, sometimes things do fall through the cracks.
I am familiar with various state's requirements that any proposed referendum or ballot proposal pass legal muster. Often times, the wording plays a role in whether the item in question or being proposed is properly written. As I stated, I agree that the title or nomenclature should have been more precisely conveyed as English First.
Chris asked me my opinion of the current TN legislation, among others, that would require English be the language when taking the driver's license examination. I reiterated my support that any person desiring to obtain a driver's license, which is a privilege, should take that examination in English for none other than safety reasons.
As a musician, I have traveled and spoken with hundreds of people, immigrants and non-immigrants that taking the exam in English is the best because anyone getting behind the wheel of a 3,000-5000 or heavier vehicle could potentially cause harm or death to another because they couldn't adequately understand English. In the proposed TN legislation, there are exceptions or other languages basically because of the overwhelming population or because a large foreign corporation is coming into the state. I am sure the employees of that corporation speak English as they are a global company. Currently, other states are debating or enacting similar legislation.
Chris made a valid argument that why limit the exceptions to just German, Spanish and Korean. My response is correct, but how many more languages are you going to provide? Will it become another David Letterman's Top 10?
Why not keep it simple and just leave it that English be the only language when testing for a driver's license? All permanent residents should be required to take the exam in English.
Chris asked me about my new Blogs and Twitter accounts. I said, "My interest in creating those Internet vehicles is to create awareness and excitement utilizing the Internet. Additionally, I stated that I find that most immigrants agree that learning English is important and many want to and are proactive in learning. What I and they find is that government, for ulterior reasons, keeps them "dumbed down" by creating a false sense of ease or assistance when it provides translators or translated documents. Logically and reasonably, that "assistance" takes away any incentive an immigrant has from a need to learn English. Common sense!~
To date, among all my Blogs and Twitter combined, I am proud to say that an overwhelming percentage of commentators and visitors express their support in making English our official language. Not surprised, I see that many of them are immigrants as well. Certain politicians and/or political parties and businesses need to stop the "catering" effect that actually promotes the exploitation of immigrant workers (legal or illegal). Enforce the eVerify federal program, curtail the incessant plague that is costing American jobs, the incessant plague that is "dumbing down" or imprisoning children in bilingual education programs.
In an effort to work on a totally separate project as a personal desire, I visited a Head Start program in the greater Nashville area. Head Start, a federally funded program provides a multitude of programs and assistance for birth to K children preparing them for their formidable years in school. It also provides parents resources to integrate them in their child's education. It is a common sense approach that parents must be involved in their children's education.
During a recent visit, I saw first-hand the program in action. I had the pleasure of visiting a local head start school program and as expected, I saw many children from all walks of life, race and ethnicity. These children are our future and as innocent as they are, it goes without saying that they are in their education infancy. As I am tri-lingual, I noticed that in one classroom there were about half of the children who were Hispanic. I asked the teacher if it would be okay to address the children in Spanish. She was happy and gave me permission.
Of the 18 or so children, 7 spoke Spanish at home but English in the classroom. Reminded me of when I was a child, but I also spoke Italian at home in addition to Spanish. Aside from asking the children how school was, how they liked their teacher, what they were having for lunch that day, I asked them the following: (In Spanish).
Those of you who speak Spanish at home, what is your favorite language. Overwhelmingly, they all (in unison) shouted English. I was elated to hear and see their smiles to say that English was their favorite language.
So in closing, I support English as the official language of our country when conducting official business. There is no greater accomplishment for an immigrant than speaking and understanding the English language.
Eddie V Garcia
Hey thanks for your support and please buy our album at www.123eddie.info
Eddie V Garcia