One Reporter's Opinion – Press '1' for English

By George Putnam,, July 8, 2005

It is this reporter's opinion that to be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must be required to read, write and speak basic English. This requirement has more or less fallen by the wayside, yet every poll I have seen reveals that between 80 percent and 90 percent of those polled vote for that requirement.

And why not? When people move to America from other parts of the world, they adopt America's culture and heritage. Why not the language also? Experts on the subject agree. S.I. Hayakawa has said, "A common language is the glue that holds a people and a nation together."

Michael Savage, when asked what keeps us united, answered, "Our common English language." And he emphasizes on every program: "Borders, Language, Culture."

Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm has said: "A nation is much more. It is a state of mind, a shared vision, a recognition that we are all in this together. A nation needs a common language as it needs a common currency."

The scholar Seymour Lipset has said, "The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate point to histories of turmoil, tension and tragedy." As example: Canada, Belgium, Malaysia and Lebanon.

And here in America, California witnesses daily the cracks breaking apart, with 33 million Mexicans imposing their culture and their need to speak Spanish.

Is it any wonder that people like Terry Graham, an American citizen brutally assaulted last year by a Mexican national at an immigration forum held in Denver, shouts, "BANISH SPANISH!" Terry, like many Americans, says she is sick and tired of being force-fed in Spanish – being 'Hispanified' and 'Latinized.' In short, she is tired of pressing '1' for English.

As Gov. Lamm puts it, "The invaders are attempting to turn America into a bilingual, multilingual and bicultural country. We are adding a second underclass – unassimilated, undereducated and antagonistic – to our population."

Lamm cites the ancient Greeks, who believed they belonged to the same race, possessed a common language and literature, worshipped the same gods, yet these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions. Greece fell because it put the emphasis on the "PLURIBUS" instead of the "UNUM."...

Learning the English language is, without a doubt, the first step in assimilation into our American culture. If we lose our single language, it is sure to create confusion, conflict, separation and, God forbid, violence. We must force our school system to teach English as the national language. We cannot continue to permit schools to teach bilingual courses.

President Teddy Roosevelt, in 1915, said it best: "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities."

And again in 1918, he said: "There can be no 50-50 Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing more." Teddy had it right.

In order to be eligible for citizenship, you've got to read, write and speak English.

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