To the Chicago Tribune

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 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.


Lowell Brannen said...

I say AMEN to that! Thank you for sending your response to the editor of the Chicago Tribune.

ruthrap said...

my, my, Phil...aren't you a bit adamant about who this country belongs to..have a bit of compassion for a people who came here to have a bit more than they had in their own country and are willing to work really hard to give their families a better life...some of them work so hard they find it hard to find time to learn the it not so much their language that bothers not knowing what they are saying?

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

What bothers me is the fact that these people come to this country in the first place with NO INTENTION of learning English...with NO INTENTION of becoming legal citizens...and with NO INTENTION of supporting this country.

I could care less what they are saying...but they can say it SOMEWHERE ELSE!

ruthrap said...

I find it hard to believe that a man who professes such a belief in God and speaks so much of church would be so concerned about people of other nationalities residing in the U.S. and not speaking English..are we not all God's children? matter what color and what language we speak or of what country we call our home...we are all equal in a sense, that everything we own is because God allows us to own it....and that we should be willing to share with the less fortunate of the this not what Christ would teach us? What flag is waving is of no concern to the Creator...nor is He concerned about how well adapted and assimilated His children are as to their environment..all He requires is that we worship Him.

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

It's this simple:

If you want to come live in America permanently, then start the process of "adapting" to America. Learn to speak English. Start the citizenship process. Teach your children and your family what it means to be American. Buy yourself a USA flag, and wave it proudly.

If you can't do those things, why are you living here in the first place?

No one begged you to come to this country. We are glad you are here. But if you can't "adapt" then maybe, more than likely, you shouldn't be here.

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

What's even better is the CHICAGO TRIBUNE published this letter on Saturday, October 6, 2007 in the "Voice of the People" section.

Laura said...

I would agree with you, Phil. When most people move to any country, be it Germany, England, Poland, or Mexico, they learn to adapt. I don't recall Poland or Germany starting to publish everything (governmnet documents, signs, directions, etc) in English, nor does England post everything in German, French, Russian, or any other language in order for tourists or aliens (legal or illegal) to read. Europe doesn't seem to have this problem, mainly because they have lived near other countries for so long and teach their children several languages from elementary school on. If you plan to move to another country, you learn to adapt. It is not a loss of your identity, but it is a way to make the transition easier.

God does love all His children, no matter what flag we raise and celebrate. However, God does not change to fit in with our ideals; we must change to fit His. We have to conform to His ideal, not vice versa. If we want to be like Him (as immigrants want to be Americans for the freedom), we don't get to pick and choose the commandments or ideas we follow. We follow all of them. We should apply the same standards here, and we've become too lax in this, as Americans and as Christians.