Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Press one to oppose official English

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At the RightWisconsin site (subscription required) this week, I explain my opposition to making English Wisconsin’s official language. Here’s an excerpt:

What does Jacque hope to accomplish with this bill other than annoying minorities? The bill will not affect the lives of anyone who does speak English. If the bill passes both legislative chambers and is signed into law by Governor Scott Walker (that’s a lot of ifs), everyone will still have to “press one for English” at the ATM. We’ll still have to “press one for English” when we try to pay a bill over the phone.
I don’t care if English is the official language or not. I’ll still have to just point at the menu when I’m in my favorite Chinese, Mexican or Italian restaurants. Heck, if I forget my reading glasses, it’s all Greek to me.
There is no compelling need for Jacque’s bill. Are people suddenly being handed forms in Spanish at the DMV when they only speak English? Are they getting their property tax bills mailed to them only in Mandarin Chinese? Has Governor Scott Walker taken to only making speeches in Polish? Are the city names suddenly only readable in French, or are they still good American names like Fond Du Lac?
Perhaps somebody should remind supporters of this bill that Wisconsin’s constitution was written in three languages: English, Norwegian and German. Good thing Wisconsin doesn’t require state elected officers to be proficient in all three of our constitutional languages.
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