Friday, May 19, 2006

do they speak english in what?

the residents of the remote nation of what, and in particular their linguistic habits, have long been the subject of a dispute. sure, we've all heard the debate:

"what ain't no country i ever heard of. do they speak english in what?"

we might never know what language they speak in what, but thank god for the US senate, because we now know what language they speak in the united states!

Whether English is America's "national language" or its national "common and unifying language" was a question dominating the Senate immigration debate.

The Senate first voted 63-34 to make English the national language after lawmakers who led the effort said it would promote national unity.

But critics argued the move would prevent limited English speakers from getting language assistance required by an executive order enacted under President Clinton. So the Senate also voted 58-39 to make English the nation's "common and unifying language."

thanks for clearing that up, boys. lest you think this ploy was unnecessary, a cheap political stunt aimed at proving to the racists back home that the government is tough on brown people, lindsey graham and tony snow have some words to prove you wrong:

"We are trying to make an assimilation statement," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of two dozen senators who voted Thursday for both English proposals.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that President Bush supports both measures.

"What the president has said all along is that he wants to make sure that people who become American citizens have a command of the English language," Snow said. "It's as simple as that."

that's right, this was a necessary move in order to end the scourge of all those US citizens who can't speak english (like all those pesky deaf people who communicate using ASL... speak english, ya ingrates!). after all, it's not like learning english is a requirement of naturalization (emphasis mine):

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:
  • a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
  • residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
  • an ability to read, write, and speak English;
  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • good moral character;
  • attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
  • favorable disposition toward the United States.

oh... so the law already dictates "that people who become American citizens have a command of the English language"? oh... well... uh... at least we know this move by the senate wasn't racist:

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., disputed charges that making English the national language was racist or aimed at Spanish speakers.

i'll accept that an argument can be made that the rabid opposition to undocumented immigration is not racist (though this is one issue where i'm glad to say i agree with rishawn biddle). but is anyone, native speaker or no, really so ignorant (or maybe i should say naïve) as to believe that this vote was not "aimed at Spanish speakers"? anyone? please raise your hand.

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