Everything I Like Causes Cancer

Where we've been convinced to write a new post on Dec. 2. Stay tuned!

This post was originally drafted in a reply email to Lydia. Her comment to my last post was the straw that broke this camel's back today. Thankfully, once drafted, I realized needed to say this to all of you, not just poor Lydia who was unknowingly in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'm talking about Proposition 1, the amendment to the Missouri Constitution which will make English the official language of all public meetings. I can only think that you didn't click the link in the last post or that you didn't really think this one through because it surprises me to no end that my readers, people I consider friends, would support an unnecessary constitutional amendment that at its core is exclusionary, intolerant and downright hateful. Really surprised. This country, which let's not forget was stolen from Native Americans by immigrants, was transformed by those very same immigrants into the country it is today. A vast majority of those people didn't speak English; the others came from England.

The reality of this is that the people seeking the constitutional amendment didn't have a valid reason for doing so - there has never been an instance in this state where an official public meeting was conducted in a language other than English nor has there ever been a need for translators. That said, the immigrant population in this state is growing and the white people in power are scared so they're passing laws which they think will keep them in a position of power. As I stated earlier today, it reeks of Nazi.


Immigrants are people who move to a new place to start new lives. They come here to pursue the American dream, just like your ancestors did. They buy houses, they open businesses, they feed our economy. And yet apparently 90% of this state can't tolerate that they might be different.

I call horseshit. I call horseshit on the amendment and anyone who can't see past the ends of their own noses. People who don't speak English (yet) are here, they aren't going anywhere, and they contribute. People who support these people will win in the end because they'll have opened their minds to diversity.

Horseshit! Horseshit! Horseshit!

I will say it all day. I will scream it from the rooftops. If that makes me uncool, so be it. Judgment made by an intolerant mind is meaningless to me anyway. Maybe you're all just surprised there's more to this pretty face than poop jokes. Maybe I'll be back to three readers tomorrow. But I'll know I stood by my tolerant convictions.

Just so you know, I'm disappointed in California, too.

58 comments:

Dr Zibbs said...

Gwen, I rarely talk politics on my blog but I feel so strongly about the English language issue. A common language is one of the few things that holds a nation together. History has proven that. Maybe we don't need an amendment but where does it end? Do you know what the costs are to have duel language signs, officials, etc? I've been waiting for a township to be sued because a Spanish speaking person died because there wasn't an interpreter present. Also, why stop at Spanish? Why not 30 different languages? I'm fine with businesses printing menus, signs or any type of collateral in any language they want but why should the government have to do this? Also, I'm tired of being labeled a racist because I think that a common language is a necessity for a country. It has nothing to do with Spanish speaking people. P.S. I love you.

Poobomber said...

I thought you were kidding about that proposition!

Well then, Missourah is one fucked up state if it has to slap the voting public with an insulting question like that at the ballots. "Hey, non-English people, get the fuck out" it might as well have said.

The funny thing is that North American English is the most hacked-together, bastardized, gobbledygook mutation of any language there is. And early in American history, the founding fathers seriously considered making German the official language as a slap to the English but English happened to be slightly more popular.

Look at Switzerland with it's 18 million official languages, they don't have a lot of problems. If most people speak a certain language, why not adopt THAT language? Or accommodate the majority of people?

God, language is like some sort of fucking biblical proclamation and people can't handle the idea that some other language is intruding on their own. People are no less American if they speak Spanish or French or Polynesian.

I just want to mention one last thing though, my ancestors didn't immigrate to this continent, they descended from the heavens, messiah style. We were sent to eliminate the Thetans.

Giggle Pixie said...

I respect everyone's opinions whether I agree with them or not. I tend to follow Dr. Zibbs' opinion in this particular matter, but I'm always open to new information and to change.

You can't get rid of me that easily! :-)

LYDIA said...

Me, being the little shit that I am, am mostly just happy that something I said started a discussion. But I do stand by what I said. Sorry if that upsets you. To each their own...

On another note, I am disappointed in California as well. I don't see why any two people who are lucky enough to find someone they could share their life with should not be able to marry.

Poobomber said...

Zibbsy: Multiple languages work fine in all sorts of countries, and I'd even go as far to say as it makes a country stronger when it can adapt to the needs of its constituents.

Even New Mexico is officially bilingual and I haven't heard of problems. (Mind you, I haven't NOT heard of any problems either.)

Up here in Canada where we have two official languages, it isn't a problem either. (Contrary to what people believe.) The people that speak multiple languages are the most enlightened people in the country.

LYDIA said...

P.S. If I decided to move to a foreign speaking country, I am sure I would be expected to learn the language. Why should we be any different? I don't think there is anything wrong with learning.

LYDIA said...

P.S. If I decided to move to a foreign speaking country, I am sure I would be expected to learn the language. Why should we be any different? I don't think there is anything wrong with learning.

Deutlich said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

Falwless said...

Don't even get me started on Prop 8 in CA. I'm so pissed off.

Falwless said...

And, just to be hated more, I agree with you 100% on the language thing...

Gwen said...

Lydia, Lydia, Lydia. I suspect you'd rely on your new countrymen to help you learn their language and customs, don't you? All I'm suggesting is that we do the same.

Sandi said...

I'm disappointed in CA, too. Its amazing how many different version of prejudice Americans will tolerate, but hopefully we won't tolerate them for very long.

Dr Zibbs said...

Why can't anyone answer my question? How many languages should the US government be required to accept by hiring staff and printing all materials in those languages? Or if there is a Spanish speaking person at a particular police department, why shouldn't there be a Chinese speaking person? Or one of the many Chinese languages? Nobody will ever answer this.

Dr Zibbs said...

And if it means anything, I had tacos for lunch.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Zibbs, I would say that the answer to your question is to have that material/support where it is needed. If there is a high number of Chinese immigrants in an area it makes sense to have someone who speaks Chinese working at the police station. Ditto leaflets and instructions.

As a former immigrant in a non-English speaking country, even while I was happily learning the language I was still grateful for ATMs with English options, Earthquake information leaflets in English and multilingual instructions for buying train tickets at major stations.

And I think Gwen's major point is that the Proposition is not necessary; nothing was ever going to change the main language of meetings being English. Its purpose is nothing more than reminding local immigrants of their place, and seems very mean spirited.

LYDIA said...

Gwen: I am more than happy to help them learn English :) And to learn a little bit of Spanish, or whatever along the way. I guess because my work employs mostly Spanish speaking people, I feel a little more strongly than most about this topic. The majority of people I come across have no desire to learn English - and seem quite frustrated that I don't understand their language. I guess I just feel like they should not be angry with me because I don't speak fluent Spanish.

Zibbs: You have a very good point!

Poobomber said...

DZ: As I see it now, there's more of a problem NOT catering to constituents with only one language than catering to two languages. How can it afford NOT to accept both languages for very much longer?

It doesn't matter who was there first, it matters what achieves the best functionality.

So the answer would be two in places where Spanish-only speaking people make up a huge population.

If a million Chinese people all of a sudden moved to North Dakota, then of course it should adopt Mandarin or Cantonese or the most popular language. It doesn't make functional sense not to! In fact, it would be a disaster if it DIDN'T!

No one place will ever be perfect and be able to accommodate EVERY language, but if America doesn't go with the flow, it's going to be a big mess.

Other people are right though, people should endeavor to learn English if they can't already. And English only-speaking people should endeavor to learn Spanish too, if they're surrounded by Spanish speaking people.

If it doesn't WANT to change, then it should revisit its immigration policies.

LYDIA said...

Imaginary Reviewer: I have not meant to be mean spirited at all by saying how I feel about this subject. I don't mind signs, ATM's, menus, telephone options, etc. to be written in Spanish as well as English - but I would just hope that people who come to live here atleast try to learn English. That's all.

Whiskeymarie said...

I'm fine with not being liked, so I'm not one bit afraid to day that I am totally 100% with you on this. It smacks of exclusionism.

HORSESHIT!

I'm also so disappointed in California I may have to boycott their wine.

Whiskeymarie said...

Oh, and I love you. I'll make out with you to prove it if you want.

I still love you too, Zibbs, for whatever that's worth. I'll send you a nice fruitcake at christmas to prove it.

Sass said...

I've read all the comments, and there's not much I can add. The one thing I think is that by putting a question like this on the ballot, it says to the Spanish speaking citizens (or whatever language) that we don't really welcome you here.

In a nation that "celebrates" diversity, we tend to actually only celebrate the diverse people who want to conform. That makes no sense, but I know what I'm trying to say, damn it.

As far as California goes, I can't comprehend how a gay couple being in love and wanting to declare that commitment is a bad thing. I don't understand that. A couple meets, falls in love, wants to make it official, I celebrate that. Whomever they are.

Falwless said...

Here's my issue. This is largely a symbolic resolution and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

Why not a resolution to expand adult literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes? All over this great country community colleges and other ESL providers are overwhelmed with consistently overcrowded classes and long waitlists. It's obvious demand far exceeds supply. Even the Department of Education has admitted as much.

There are millions of non-English speakers who are more than willing and eager to learn the language. Yet we continue to devote a paltry amount of resources to adult literacy and ESL classes.

Tell me how this resolution, in any way, seeks to address the issue, rather than just being a completely ridiculous gesture of intolerance and disenfranchisement.

Dr Zibbs said...

(standing with my with right arm around Lydia. Her doe-like eyes eagerly waiting to hear what I'm about to say) - "I'm with Lydia on all her points."
And I'm with everyone else on the BS in California. I'm all for the English Speaking gays living together. I am.

Dr Zibbs said...

Falwless - the only reason you're saying that is because you're from North Carolina and the faster they speak English the faster they'll hear your demands of "Hurry up" as you're yelling at them in the tobacco fields. Rembember when you told me that word for word? Oh that was a funny night.

LYDIA said...

Fawless: You bring up a great point as well. I am all for a resolution that would help those who are eager and willing (and those not-so-eager and willing) to learn the language.

Zibbs: You make me laugh! Thanks for protecting me :)

Falwless said...

Zibbs - I was drunk. P.S. I love how you keep constantly referring to me and my family as hillbillies. We're from SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA...

Although, I must admit, my dad is a total effing redneck. Gun arsenal, NRA decal, shooting range in the backyard. It's terrible. I'm close to disowning him.

words words words said...

What Zibbs said. It's about pragmatism and legal liability. And it's especially about schools. Teachers have a hard enough time as it is.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Wow, I totally respect people who can stand up for what they believe and discuss their differences rationally. I don't have a damn thing to say on the language thing, but I'm hoping Proposition 8 will be overturned on appeal in California. Everyone loves you, Gwen, your fiestiness makes you even more sexy!

Dr Zibbs said...

Words, Words , Words - thanks for showing up to agree with me. It's hard for someone like me to really express myself. By "like me", I mean someone with a very small arsenal of..of..of...WORDS. Hey, now I know where you got your name.

Counslr said...

Here here!

Not sure what "Here here!" means, but I've heard people say it.

McGone said...

Was there a Proposition I forgot to vote for about this whole "Whiskeymarie and Gwen make out" thing?

Dr Zibbs said...

McGone, you've got me thinking that something is going on. I haven't heard from Gwen since Whiskey Marie said she's make out with her. Let me just open this closet here and see what...OH MY..Oh yeah...No..um...don't mind me I'll just...You want me to join in? ..Well I...OK

And Cut!

Mo said...

I agree with Falwless and Imaginary Reviewer--this isn't going to have an enormous impact on the daily political doings around here, since English will always be the default, but it will certainly inspire a lack of confidence in anyone who speaks English as a second language that their government gives a damn about ensuring them equal access to the process.

And as for the extra costs, come on, even a cheapo hair dryer includes instructions in a handful of languages, and we're not talking about printing every leaflet and brochure in every language known to humankind--only as the situation dictates, as Falwless pointed out.

In my old neighborhood in Chicago, there was a very large Mandarin-speaking population, and given this group's presence in the community-- they ran and/or patronized local businesses, sent their kids to school there, etc--it would have been downright wrong to ignore their language requirements when conducting politics.

And shame on California! >:(
(That was my stern face.)

Whiskeymarie said...

Gwen and I are totally making out- she thinks I'm a man anyways. (Shhh...no one tell her I just have a very deep voice and the hairy knuckles are a genetic thing.)

Renaissance Woman said...

Gwen I agree with you. I don't ever remember a meeting being held in any other language and I don't think that it was necessary to document something that scream exclusion. I agree that if people are going to move here and live the American dream than eventually they need to speak the language. But asking voters to make sure that any meeting will be held in English is stupid.

As for California...it is so disappointing that we can make such a step forward on the President but not on full equality.

Scope said...

I guess I come down on the pragmatic side in the whole "official English: debate. I think all public meetings should be held, "AT LEAST in English" but not "EXCLUSIVELY in English" if there is a legitimate reason. But, I'm also not a fan of hiring a ton of interpreters to sit around waiting for the one Inuktitut speaker to need help with a permit. Maybe funding tied to participation in an expanded ESL program or something. I'd rather my taxes go to help the person in need rather than getting someone on the government payroll / pension plan. And if those million Chinese people do move to North Dakota, just send Michael Phelps and his mad Rosetta Stone skillz up there to do the translation for them. FAST.

Now where did I put that Babel fish?

As for the California marriage thing, I don't care. And by, "I don't care" I mean, "I'm not gay. I don't live in California. And if I don't know you, your personal life is NONE OF MY GOD DAMN BUSINESS." But, it's "marriage" not "gay marriage." Fair is fair. As long as it carries ALL the same rights, privileges, obligations, penalties and other horseshit that go with it for the rest of us, I'm cool. But if you cherry pick what applies, then you can't call it "marriage." Just like you can't call a 25 mile run a "marathon."

Great! Now I'm thinking about that candy bar again.

Jon said...

I'm with you on this one. But for what it's worth, I'm still on board for the poop jokes.

Scope said...

And Gwen, I agree that everyone should learn a little Spanish, or you'll end up like Mike here.

(Not that I can speak Spanish…)

Baby Ice Dog said...

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who continue to talk about legislation concerning this issue. Why must we create laws to make English the "official" language? Conversely, why must we create laws requiring second languages be taught in our schools to accommodate immigrants? 100 years ago, non English speaking immigrants learned quickly they had to learn the language to assimilate into American society and to try to capture the "American dream." Let's scrap all the laws and let societal pressures dictate the outcome. I guarantee those who feel disinclined to learn the language will. There are many charitable and service organizations that can help immigrants learn the language. Enacting laws on either side of the issue creates an atmosphere that causes fear and resentment to whatever group of people that are on the opposite side of the issue.

words words words said...

I guess having an official language is the one thing lefties don't want to copy from Europe ;)

Dr Zibbs said...

Since I added several comments to this post I'm now declaring that it's OK for me to do some advertising so here goes: Does everyone realize that a very revealing photograph is about to be exposed at my blog? It's true.

Falwless said...

You're such a leech, Zibbs. God I love you.

Baby Ice Dog said...

To words words words: Didn't our ancestors come here to escape Europe?

One branch of my family were Mennonites who left Switzerland then Germany to escape state and church sponsored persecution. They learned English without laws telling them they must. Lets not coddle our modern day immigrants, but lets not enact laws to make them conform either.

McGone said...

43 comments?!?!

¡Dios mio!

McGone said...

Sorry, that was in slightly poor taste.

McGone said...

Eh, probably not that poor of taste after all. Anyway, it's 46 now.

Gwen said...

McGone: HAHAHAHAAA!!! How do you make that upside down exclamation point? Do you have a Spanish keyboard? Is this that extra cost business Zibbs was going on about earlier?

Dr Zibbs said...

Gwen - I'm right here so stop talking about me.

Some Guy said...

Man, Google Reader really failed me on this one! I don't know why this post didn't pop up on mine until now. All the arguments have been made. For what it's worth, Gwen, I'm with you and all the other super-awesome people that agree with us!

Suck it, Zibbs & Co.

Just kidding. We're all entitled to our opinions, no matter how wrong they are.

RW said...

baby ice dog introduces an interesting question; what is the motivation behind having such a law? I don't see a rational argument for it yet.

Bob Stein said...

The image of you screaming sailorspeak from any rooftop for any interesting reason is pretty totally cool.

Courtesy of freetranslation.com:
mierda de caballo
merda di cavallo
merde de cheval
Spielen Sie Scheiße
Paarddrol
hestdritt
ばかなこと
马粪

Bob Stein said...

¿Gwen, which ulterior motive would be more distasteful to you, that I'm here to hit on you, or here to spam my stuff?

Anyway the answer to the upside-down exclamation mark is (on PC's and ¡¡with NumLock-on!!), Alt-1-7-3 or Alt-0-1-6-1

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your last couple of posts. Interesting discussions! Les

MelO said...

¿Qué Pasa?

MelO said...

teeee heeee hee hee hee

Anonymous said...

Boy am I late. Gwen, You are a lady of quality and substance.

Any law that is exclusionary was, is and will always be bad.

pistols at dawn said...

I miss poop jokes. But if I wanted to support things that are nothing more than empty slogans in legal form, I'd have gotten married. Is Missouri under attack from Tagalog-speaking Filipinos? No? Then how about we focus on actual problems instead?

mike said...

Wow, Gwen, that's a lot of comments. Mucho Commentos.

I happen to feel very strongly that people here (or in any country) should learn to speak, read, and write the language of where they live. Not adapting is what creates cities having a "China Town" like Boston, or entire extended families who can't press one for English.

That being said, I also believe that it is a person's own right to speak whatever the heck he or she wants. Who is the government to tell people how to talk? I would have voted against it also. It is a slippery slope towards censorship.

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