May 30 2006

Bush’s Won’t Support Official-English Bill

Published by at May 30, 2006 1:21 am under Bilingualism

The Senate’s vote to make English the “national” language of the United States is largely symbolic, and even that is not likely to pass into law. Certainly not as long as George W. Bush is President of the United States.

What Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.) proposed has been tried before, and then, as now, political demagoguery got in the way.

It was August 1, 1996, and the now-infamous former California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham had authored a bill to make English the “official” language of the nation. The ensuing discussion—about such things as citizenship and the melting pot—was loud and raucous—but even so, the bill passed 259-169.

This bill had teeth in it. It would have required most official documents to be printed in English and would have allowed (but not required) states to stop using bilingual ballots. The bill also contained logical exceptions for such items as public safety warnings and to ensure that criminals could be informed of charges against them in their native languages.

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