Published: 21 July 2010 21 July 2010
So long as I am Village Mayor of Greenwich, NY, declaring English as the official language will never be put on a meeting agenda, let alone come up for a vote.
The United States is a nation of immigrants. Most, if not all, of the first wave of immigrants from a particular region or county, have faced discrimination and blatant bigotry. My father was raised in Lynn, Massachusetts, located just north of Boston, the heart of Irish America. Yet he could remember seeing signs in store windows in the 1920’s and ’30’s which read “Help Wanted. No Irish Need Apply”.
Louisiana and most of the south-central United States was purchased from France. Florida was first settled by the Spanish. Alaska was purchased from Russia. California and most of the southwest was Spanish, then Mexican territory. Vermont and Texas were once sovereign nations. If anthropologists are correct, Native Americans first arrived here via a land-bridge from Siberia.
The economic prosperity of the South was built on the slave trade. It was immigrants from eastern Europe that staffed the steel mills of PIttsburgh. Anyone who has ever listened to “Prairie Home Companion” knows of the pervasive Scandinavian influence in Minnesota and Wisconsin. One of the most important events in our nation’s history, the building of the Trans-Continental Railroad, was built on the backs of Irish and Chinese immigrants.
We are one nation, composed of people from all over the world. Those who propose a one-language America, are not only ignorant of our nation’s history, they are disingenuous regarding our nation’s future.
I can’t help but wonder how many of the local elected officials pushing this issue have visited Quebec and asked English-speaking Quebecois what it’s like to live where French is the only official language.