The Washington Times Communities
December 6, 2013
America is a very divided nation these days.
Most often, pundits, politicians, and partisans focus on a small set of issues. The poor economy, hot-button social policy, and national security get the spotlight without failure.
As this is going on, we fail to notice that fewer and fewer Americans are able to communicate with one another. This is not because of some sweeping pandemic which has left untold millions mute. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that less and less people in our country speak English.
“One of the defining characteristics of a nation is having a shared, common language,” Robert Vandervoort, the executive director of ProEnglish, explains to The Washington Times Communities.
He continues: “The loss of a common national language often leads to fragmentation and conflict. Making English our official language will send an important message for assimilation in this country, as well as reduce unnecessary government translation costs.”
How might the federal government go about instituting English as our official language? What advice could be given to Congress on the matter?
“There are two bills pending in Congress right now to make English our official language at the federal level,” Vandervoort says. “One is by Congressman Steve King of Iowa, the ‘English Language Unity Act’ (H.R. 997). The other bill is S. 464, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma. This should be an easy bill for Congress to pass given the widespread support it has with the public.”
“What many people don’t realize is that making English the official language of government sends a message that English leads to success – it encourages people to learn English. And learning English prevents the exclusions that occur when a non-English speaker faces situations such as shopping at a grocery store or asking for medical advice, in which they often aren’t able to receive foreign language translations.”
Vandervoort mentions that “(m)any of the opponents of official English seek to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism instead. Our view is that multiculturalism will cause greater social discord than promoting linguistic unity. Also, most countries in the world have an official language of one kind or another.
“There are over fifty countries in the world that have made English their official language. We think America should be the next country to make English official.”
Vandervoort tells that “(w)ithout an official English law, we will continue to see increases in costly government translation services. Without official English laws, we will also continue to see a rise in divisive multiculturalism. The bottom line is that assimilation will decrease in this country.”