English Only Gingrich/How Not to Argue

A CNN story quotes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as comparing bilingual education to “ghetto talk” and calling for an end to the practice of having American ballots available in different languages. He further states that the American people believe that English should be the official language of the US government and that bilingualism poses dangers to “the fabric of our nation.”

Now I’m confused. I thought it was gayness that was posing a danger to the fabric of our nation. How much “fabric” are we talking about?

Peter Zamora, co-chair of the Washington based Hispanic Education Coalition, responded in in the typical manner of victim mentality:

“The tone of his comments were very hateful. Spanish is spoken by many individuals who do not live in the ghetto.”

Ok jackass, if you’re only arguing against the “tone”, you’re basically conceding the argument, objecting only to his form rather than his content. Whose side are you on?? Rather, why not directly challenge his premises? Ask this: What harm is presently being caused by multilingual ballots? How exactly is our fabric torn by bilingualism? Moreover, since the French preceded the US in mandating their own language to be used in signs, offers, and presentations, won’t Gingrich’s ideas make us more like the despised French than like the Founding Fathers who, in their eminent wisdom, decided NOT to designate a national language for this country? Since when does Newt’s jingoism get to take precedence over the First Amendment?

Personally I prefer to conduct my communications and transactions in English as it is the only language in which I enjoy any proficiency (my Spanish is so-so and the only phrase I can say in Tagolog is excuse me but you’re standing on my foot). The prevalence of Spanish tends to annoy me but I don’t see fit to respond with government mandates, I respond by answering all Spanish speakers in English (unless they’re very old in which case I defer to people when their wrinkles pass a hard number and begin blurring into the “exponential” territory).

In fact recently one of my uncles (who speaks English and Spanish equally well) responded to my English parry with a riposte of “You need to learn some Spanish”. That answer galls me for the same reason that Gingrich does: Do not presume to tell me how to speak (and think). As it stands my position is consistent. I will not capitulate to the linguistic intolerance of either side. CAPISCE???

Anyway, my point is that when somebody initiates what you see as a bad argument, do not respond that it’s “offensive”, “hateful”, or “a slap in the face”. That doesn’t directly address the argument in question, nobody cares (or should care) if your stupid little feelings are hurt, you just end up looking like a wussy little Emo and you are doing nothing for you cause. Either refute the other person’s argument or shut up pretending to speak for people. Thank you.

3 Responses to “English Only Gingrich/How Not to Argue”

  1. Phelps says:

    True Story: There used to be this attorney in Dallas who was well known for not being a very good attorney, but for being an attorney who got a lot of work.

    One day, he is conducting voir dire, which is where you ask the jury panel questions to see who is going to get onto the jury. You can be struck for cause (you have a good excuse) and each attorney has a certain number they can strike because they just want to.

    The attorney is going down the list, and he looks up from his notes and says in the worst accent, “Bway-nose dee-ass, Seen-your Gone-zal-ass.”

    Mr. Gonzalez looks him dead in the eye, and says, “I was born here in Texas, my father was born here, and his father was born here. I speak better English than you and I don’t need you talking to me in bad Spanish.”

    The attorney looked down at his notes, made a mark, and said, “Ahh-dee-oss, Seen-your Gone-zal-ass.”

  2. Dan Stowell says:

    I don’t think I like your tone!Let’s go have that beer.

  3. L says:

    Mexi as my witness/whipless/witless,
    I prefer to speak 3 or 4 languages (poorly) and all at the same time. I like to do this at the bar, attempting to translate it all into sign while holding a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other. The poor fellow who made the mistake of sitting next to me boggles at the horrible french/spanish/latin/english spewing out of my mouth and wonders why I keep flailing about. In fact, the only language I speak fluently is drunklish and it doesn’t really matter who understands me then because my boobs will fall out of my shirt shortly anyway. I move that the new national language should be changed to drunklish since none of us understand eachother anyway even when we are all speaking the same language.

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