Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deeply Divided America -- De-ja Vu

In 1918, our country was deeply divided along ethnic lines because of the large population of German-Americans and German immigrants at a time when we were engaged in a war with their relatives in the Fatherland. Once again we find ourselves in an America that is deeply divided, often along ethnic lines, due to massive legal immigration in excess of a million annually and illegal aliens who flood across the borders in numbers ranging up to 600,000 per year. The latter number has resulted in as many as 12 - 20 million illegals currently present in the United States.

In 1918, President Wilson campaigned on a platform that was sympathetic to those who viewed the number of immigrants flowing into the country as dangerous. He often lectured Americans about old-country allegiances. This a natural phenomenon given the number of German -Americans and our involvement in a war with Germany. Racial profiling and persecution was not uncommon and most German-Americans and immigrants went out of their way to demonstrate their loyalty and patriotism. Incredibly, Governor William Harding of Iowa issued what was known as the Babel Proclamation, which banned the use of any language but English in any public gathering of two or more people. The ban even covered telephone conversations, as several grandmothers discovered when they were jailed for speaking German on the phone. A Swedish minister also ran afoul of the law for conducting a funeral for two soldiers in Swedish so that the fallen men's grandmothers could understand.

The current concern about the English language has never included such Draconian measures. The proposal has always been limited to the concept of Official English. This merely means all activity and publications at all levels of government should be conducted or printed only in English. It would have no effect on foreign language instruction or on languages used in any public or private gatherings. One would hope, of course, that as a matter of common courtesy, that most public gatherings and public conversation would be conducted in English so that all could feel included. Obviously, there will be some, mostly private, meetings where the mother tongue could be spoken without fear of interference from language police or other restrictions. Some proposals provide for billable interpreter services at emergency locations such as fire departments, police stations, and hospitals. At the same time, public interpreters would be offered free of charge to those who could not afford one.

The purpose of this post is to illustrate that the emphasis on English and the resistance to the encroachment of foreign languages is not a new phenomenon. The concern about Germans in our midst has long since disappeared. They are no longer thought of as hyphenated Americans and the use of the German language is now just a footnote to history as is the persecution of Germans that occurred during two wars and the similar treatment meted out to Japanese internees.

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