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MUNDANE DISTRACTIONS
Viva América! 
22nd-Sep-2006 01:55 am
So much to rant about, so little time. I'm going to avoid the obvious and go with something you MIGHT now know about.

The other day I'm sitting in my car and I see a familiar bumper sticker go by out of the corner of my eye, or at least I THOUGHT I did. I did a double take and what I thought was an "Army of One" bumper sticker actually said, "Yo Soy El Army". No, it was NOT a sarcastic bumper sticker, it was real, they are real and they are part of a recruitment program for the US Army. You can see a black and white picture of the bumper sticker here. I recommend you read the entire article in which that picture is used, which is here. It's quite an amusing read. Oh, and if you want to have a cool picture of the Army's Mexi-Hummer (my choice of words) you can get a great pic off the US Army's own website here.

So, what the heck is going on? People are pushing that the US National Anthem only be sung in English and we're a step shy of having English declared as the national language of the United States. Me, I'm cool with that because I'm sick and tired of applying for jobs and getting passed over (possibly) just because I don't speak Spanish too. Silly me, I thought I lived in the US, what the hell was I thinking?

Anyway, I can set my bitterness aside...for a bit in order to look at the REAL issue at hand. It's something we deal with every day yet don't actually give a care about, and that is the hypocrisy put forth by those who "run" our country (which is actually us but we let the people we hire tell us what to do). A large number of them want English to have the top rank of all languages in the US, but it seems that they may be willing to let some folks who prefer Spanish be a part of our Army. I mean, what could the harm be? It's not like our troops need effective communication on the battle field, right?

OK, maybe I'm jumping the gun here. Maybe the US Army has done this without a large scale awareness in those that make the important decisions about how our country operates. I mean, nobody really understood how FEMA worked last year and nothing bad came of that, right? Oh...right.

Hrmmm...how about a little investigation to try and prove to myself that what seems to be happening with the US Army is some kind of fluke?

Well folks allow me to share with you what I found. Welcome to your US Armed Services eeeeeen Español! Yes folks, you too can help your primarily Spanish speaking friends defend the country that loves English so much! Choose from:

Yes folks, welcome to America. Love it, or leave it. But if you're better with Spanish than English you don't have to leave as long as you're willing to take the chance of dying for the country trying to decrease (or expunge) the use of your preferred language within it's own borders.

Viva América!
Anger
Comments 
22nd-Sep-2006 11:20 am (UTC)
I thought for a moment that it was a really odd thing that the army(etc) advertised in Spanish, until I thought about it further. There's several reasons that they might want a lot of spanish-speakers to recruit.

1. They just need more people to die pointlessly for them (harsh but true) so it doesn't matter what language they speak. Cannon fodder without the cannons (or do they still use them?) Theoretically, when you die everyone speaks the same language: silence.
2. If there is ever a military coup OR a riot that needs controlled, then spanish-speakers will be necessary to control (try?) the areas of the US that are primarily spanish-speaking. Speaking from experience, it doesn't do a lick of good to tell someone to sit down if they can't understand what you're saying. >.>;;
3. People who won't learn english are lazy, therefore filling in pointless quotas.

I'll explain myself more clearly about number three, in case it's taken the wrong way. Learning a second language is not easy by any means. I'm struggling with it every day. But there are people who live for years and years or most of their lives in America and still don't bother to pick up any english beyond the words that cross over. This is nothing but laziness. I've lived in Japan for 2 years and hardly without studying, I've managed to pick up a basic grasp of the language. Yeah, I don't know a lot of vocabulary, but just by living in this country, the language starts to sound familiar and you begin to be able to pick out things. For people that just won't learn.... I say straight out that they're lazy and should get up off their asses and learn the common language. For their own sakes at the very least,. because it is more likely than not that without knowing the language, they are being misrepresented, laws are being passed that are not in their favor, and they are victims of discrimination. Of course, if this was me, (actually, it is in many many ways) I'd think that it would spur me on to want to learn the common language more quickly. You'd think, with the way that some people act, that knowing more than one language is a bad thing. I could never see having a second way to communicate with other people is bad..... the world certainly could do with a little more good communnication and a little less misunderstanding. Of course, this goes both ways-- I think that Americans should have a stronger education in foreign languages, especially widely-spoken ones like Spanish, but of course english-language education should remain the primary.

I could go on forever about languages. While I don't expect anyone to be able to become fluent quickly even if they live in the language every day, I do expect that people should become reasonably capable with it after a certain amount of time. Especially if that long period of time is more than a year. I've known quite a few people who have lived in Japan for more than a year and cannot say more than "sumimasen". One lady from Australia, actually, seriously that was it. I couldn't understand her at all, she had been here for so long and yet was so disconnected with the country. Sadly, it's the norm for foreigners rather than the median. x.x The same in America, I think.
23rd-Sep-2006 05:32 am (UTC)
Oh, you're right in my book. All you have to do is look around here (you know the area) and see how many business and organizations are trying to have bilingual staff as much as possible, or insist on it.

The harsh reality (as I see it) is that anyone who comes here through LEGAL means will likely have a certain level of speaking and comprehending the English language. I think most of these place are enabling those who are illegal and babying those who are trying to learn. There is no reason for them to learn if they're catered to, right? Wrong. They will be shut out of, and miss, important resources if they cannot utilize the primary language of the country.

You have a bit of "luck" in that Japan utilizes both Japanese and English, but the US just uses English, any use of other languages is specialized by area, business or organization.

Personally I think if people REALLY want to help people that want to be a part of the US, then they should push them to learn English. It's cool if they continue to use their original language, and I do hope they teach it to their children (a great job skill) but for survival in the US if you don't speak English don't be surprised when you get screwed over.
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