Last Saturday's Chicago Tribune published a letter in the "Voice of the People" section entitled "The Benefits to Becoming Bilingual"--a direct reference to why we should all learn Spanish.
While I found the letter very well-written, I also found it infuriating. I sent this response to the editor of the Chicago Tribune today:
Regarding Missy Berry's well-written opinion in Saturday's "Voice of the People", I must respectfully and firmly disagree with just about every premise of her letter.
I do not feel threatened by anyone who speaks, looks, acts differently than myself....at least not in my country--the United States of America. I am very thankful for the great diversity of people that are found in this place--the freest nation in the history of humanity. But this is AMERICA...not Mexico, or Poland, or Zimbabwe, just to name a few foreign countries.
I am particularly not threatened by those Spanish-speakers who come here. I am more frustrated than threatened. And what is particularly frustrating to me, and to millions of my fellow citizens across this land is the unwillingness of many of the "Hispanics" "Latinos"--whatever they want to call themselves--to adapt this new country. I keep hearing some of the Hispanics say, "But in my country..."
If this isn't their country, what on earth are they doing here? No one goes somewhere for a 20-year visit.
Americans have every right to celebrate Independence Day because that is OUR national holiday. The Liberation of Poland, Mexico, or any other nation (outside of the USA) is not our national holiday, nor should it be.
As a military veteran, I am deeply disturbed by the fact that we Americans have become so "culturally diverse" and "openminded" that we forget we are Americans. I have no hyphenated patriotism...I am an American. It doesn't matter what the lineage is...what matters is that I am an American.
The benefits of people learning to speak the English language, should they decide to live here permanently (and having lived here for more than several months, I do believe that is their intentions) are manifold: Better chances for productive employment. Better chances for educational opportunities, and far better chances to climb the economic ladder.
The benefits of people learning to speak English here in the United States are also longlasting upon all who pay taxes to the local, state, and federal governments. Translating all those forms is expensive--and someone, somewhere has to pay the "fiddler" after the dancing is over. I pay my share. But I would have to pay less if we insisted that people adapt and assimilate into this country and to learn the prevailing language of commerce and society.
Wave the Flag of the United States, learn to speak English, and get on the path to becoming an American. No need to hyphenate your plans. Just do it.