Habla ingles?

Oh here I go, getting political again. My apologies. But I saw something on the news this past week that pissed me off.

A barbecue restaurant in Oliver Springs has decided to use their sign for political statements instead of advertising the latest dinner special. The sign reads, “We believe in God. Speak English. Love our country. If not, leave.”

Give me your tired, your poor, but only if they speak English...

Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, what really ticked me off about this jerk, Tom Evans, was his statement to the camera as he stood in front of his sign, “We’ve got the greatest country in the world. All these people come from somewhere else. We didn’t ask them to come. And it’s not singling out Latinos or anybody. If you don’t like it here, just leave. Don’t change our country.”

Well gee, Mr. Evans. I’m sure the Native Americans didn’t ask our European ancestors to come into their country and change it either.

Evans continued, “If you come to America, you should be American.”

…huh?

I do agree that those seeking to live in the United States need to seek legal avenues in order to do so. But just because someone immigrates to the U.S. doesn’t mean they’re automatically integrated into American culture and language.

That comment made me really incensed for my mom, who has lived here for nearly 41 years, never been in trouble with the law, worked diligently in her job and paid her taxes… and she is not an American citizen. She doesn’t have to be an American citizen if she does not want to. She is here legally. She loves America. But she doesn’t have to be a citizen.

Evans also said, “I’m tired of picking up a can of something and having to read my side.”

Aw, I’m so sorry that you have to take 5 seconds out of your day to find the English bit on the side of a box or to press 1 on the telephone. It must be such a hardship.

Maybe it’s just me. But seeing things written in English and in Spanish (and occasionally French) does not bother me. I like languages. I challenge myself sometimes to read the Spanish side on a product to see if I can understand it, even though I never took Spanish in school. I rather wish I had.

I have to wonder if Mr. Evans is one of those people who would complain bitterly if he traveled outside of America and nothing was written in English. I know I was quite pleasantly surprised to see how much English there was in Japan. I think I would have been lost if the Japanese hadn’t been so welcoming.

The beauty of America is that we don’t have a national language. It should show that we’re a country who welcomes people of all nationalities, whether as residents or as visitors. But it seems like our culture is becoming more and more xenophobic, to the point of near-rabid hatred to anything or anyone who is different.

I think it would be in the best interest for those moving here to learn English, but that takes time and resources and English isn’t the easiest language to learn. It’s not instant potatoes. Folks still have to be able to live and function and if having instructions to a product written in two different languages on the packaging makes life a little easier for those who have taken this giant leap of faith by moving to a foreign country, then I don’t mind a bit.

I thought we were supposed to love our neighbors, not belittle and scorn them.

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1 Comment

Filed under incredulous, politics

One response to “Habla ingles?

  1. Yes, yes and yes. I have this conversation all the time with my dad – but as far as he’s concerned once HIS family got here, no one else should have been allowed in.

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