« Protecting free speech | Main | Helping Kansans with disabilities »

January 18, 2009

Speaking English in America

There has been a healthy debate in Letters on freedom of speech and the requirement, or lack thereof, to learn and speak English in the U.S. over the last few weeks. The debate has been fueled by labor secretary appointee Hilda Solis’ decision to conduct part of her selection speech in Spanish.

Every American ought to read Theodore Roosevelt’s thoughts on “Americanization” from his later years. “We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

What message would it send if Mexico’s labor secretary spoke to that country’s citizens in English?

Mike Curley



Welcome back, jack! Hope that whatever kept you away was enjoyable. The place hasn't been the same without you.


Good evening jack(louie),

That is true to a certain extent, but to choose to quote the things you like that someone said a century ago while giving the person a pass on the things that you don't is just as unfair. Yes, society evolves, but to quote a person as enlightened who considered yellow, brown and blacks as less human than whites isn't kosher.(I don't recall what he thought of Jews). plus, in my first post of the day I mentioned he was an imperialist, which I never cared for and do not today in Iraq.

In dealing with Lincoln I imagine you are speaking of his saying,, if he could save the Union without affecting one slave he would, that if to save the Union he'd have to free the slaves he would, and if he could save the Union by doing nothing regarding the slaves he would take that course.

My favorite quote from those days is one of my favorites of all time from anyone;"A true patriot is a lover of ones country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins".
F Douglass

Nice to hear from you jack, I have often wondered where you went and have thought of your son, injured in our service. Hope your life is well.

Oh yeah, as you can see BuddyT is still an idiot.


sol: Judging a person of the past by today's standards is bad news. We are all (well, most of us) constantly evolving. What is accepted belief at one point in time may be horrible by the standards of another.

A good example of this is Lincoln's statements on race and slavery in chronological order. The difference, over a short time frame, is staggering.

It is fun to visit here occassionally and note the both sides of their mouth logic some of the participants engage in. George Bush speaking Spanish while campaigning as President is okay, while a Secretary appointed by Obama speaking Spanish is treasonous. And the difference is?


What language someone chooses to use has NOTHING to do with open-border policies. It's emotional-laden rhetoric designed to distract the easily distracted.

There is nothing wrong with declaring an "official" language for purposes of governmental communications (forms, etc.) Do you really want to see what a 1040 or DMV application would look like printed in the four or five most common languages?

In private communication (whether it be a speech by our next labor secretary or the guy at McDonald's taking your order), who cares? It's up to the individual speaking (or the company that employs them) to determine what is acceptable. If you don't like it, vote with your political powers (when it's the labor secretary) or your dollars (if it's the guy taking your order).

As was much debated a while back, no one is really inconvenienced by having to press "1" for English.


I highly doubt we would ever have open borders. With the necessary background checks to make sure someone isn't a terrorist (it appears several terrorists are learning Spanish to "blend" in with the illegal aliens), drug dealer, or have a criminal background. In order to keep US safe, we would HAVE to have some type of closed border.

Now, whether or not they legally immigrate more individuals - that's a different story. However, until the economy gets better - it definitely wouldn't be wise.

Stifled Freedom

I think we can declare an official language without discriminating against anyone. We need a common language for business and continuity.

Even Singapore has English as the official language. Doesn't it seem odd that we can do that here?


My point about Teddy is that when people talk about him as enlightened is that they need to consider the source. I don't feel that it is inappropriate to mention his thoughts on the people of the world in respect to his thoughts on Americas place in it, or how Americans should behave. That is not playing any type of card.

Hey, I'm not a Teddy fan, that's obvious, but he thought we should have an Empire.


Uhhhh, when did this become a debate about border enforcement and following the laws of the land, Rogue? The federal government does not specify an official language... You're saying Bush possibly broke state law somewhere by speaking in Spanish at campaign events?


Your ignorant and uneducated comments pull may chain everyday, Rougy.


Hopalong, I don't recall pulling your chain, but thanks for proving my point nimrod.


Protecting our borders and enforcing the laws of the land is hardly a wedge issue Gayhawk.

The open borders crowd may indeed get their way under this President much to the coutry's detriment, but it will not be done easily.


"Call me what you like I have been called far worse by far better.."

It's not exactly a stretch of the imagination to believe that!

Sorry Rougy, you left yourself wide open for that. I just couldn't resist.


Just more xenophobia oozing from the walls here... Did I hear any complaints when our soon to be FORMER president was on the campaign trail in the southwest trying to attract Hispanic votes to his cause? Not too much... This is just another wedge issue conservatives are trying to keep alive...


How is this anywhere associated with a race card? It's more of a matter of basic common sense. I'm of German descent - fluent in German and French along with English. I'm not INSISTING anyone speak German just for those of us who are German. Nor are my friends who speak Italian and Hindi (Hindi is the official language of India) expecting anyone to speak their language.

In order to communicate with one another, every country has a main or official language. Otherwise, if we had to show respect for all non English languages - I'd have to learn at least Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Turkish, mandarin Chinese, and Swahili to communicate with my friends.

Just how many languages are you willing to learn to not offend any ethnic group in the United States?


Mr. Curley did not mention anything about "Teddy's stuff about the lesser races...." Race Card, that was you.

It is kind of like a nervous tic with you isn't it?

Call me what you like I have been called far worse by far better.


How is stating a fact playing any type of card.

If I call you the "idiot you are is that playing the "Idiot Card"?


Race Card plays the race card, again.


Read some of Teddy's stuff about the lesser races and his feeling about the need for American Imperialism and that america should build an empire while you're at it.

About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright