Here’s a guy that really misses the point of a debate. In New Jersey’s Home News Tribune, columnist Roger Hernandez is asking why everyone is so hot and bothered about English Only legislation and claims that Spanish being spoken… well, everywhere… should be no problem for anyone. In fact, he claims that it isn’t really happening that much, anyway, so fear about it is unfounded. But, his view on the matter misses the point that it is government forcing the Spanish language via lawsuits and government intervention on the nation that English Only supporters are trying to oppose, not just the evolutions of society itself.
Writing about Lamar Alexander’s proposed legislation, the Protecting English in the Workplace Act of 2007, and using that as his springboard to lambast the English Only trend, Hernandez scoffs at anyone interested in protecting our national character via protecting English.
Alexander (a sensible moderate Republican, once upon a time) and the right-wing blogosphere are framing it as a fight to preserve our supposedly vulnerable linguistic unity.
But, after recounting the efforts to protect English, Hernandez goes off track, attacking the English Only idea from the entirely wrong direction.
It is true that the common language of the United States is English, and that it is difficult to succeed without learning it. The problem is that both questions stem from the false premise that immigrants are tearing apart the national fabric with their refusal to speak English.
Not completely, Mr. Hernandez. “The problem is” that government is being used by criminal immigrant’s “rights” activists who are attempting to sue their desires into law by constant lawsuit abuse intended to make us all bend over backwards for people who are breaking our nation’s laws on a daily basis.
He sees that claim, but dismisses it entirely without further discussion.
Supporters of Alexander’s bill pretend that unless it is passed, a torrent of EEOC lawsuits will force employers to hire people who don’t speak English — which is utter nonsense.
There is no “pretending,” Mr. Hernandez, and no, it isn’t “utter nonsense.” The law has been misused for activism in dozens of other areas since the 1960’s, why should we assume that it won’t be so abused in this case?
Then he goes on to make an assumption of his own that is “nonsense.”
What Alexander’s bill does is enable employers to prohibit employees from uttering words in languages other than English, even in private conversations with no relation to workplace safety or the conduct of business.
If a company that offers service to a primarily Spanish speaking clientele forces their employees to only speak English, they will lose their business so it is entirely doubtful that such cases will be very widespread. And if a company does ignore the needs of their client base so flagrantly, they WILL lose their businesses so a “solution” is quick at hand to ally Mr. Hernandez’s fears that Spanish will somehow be outlawed. Also this bill does NOT require employers to force all their employees to speak English. No, this bill does not force anyone to do anything but prevent them from eliminating English from the work palce.
On the other hand, if the matter was left to Hernandez’ unconcern, it soon would be a requirement for employers to have Spanish speakers in every office and company across America just as every city and state government office is required to print their forms in Spanish and have Spanish speakers on hand. Not only would such a requirement unnecessarily add to the costs of business, but it will, indeed, add to our cultural balkanization and a breakdown of our society.