At a time when bilingual education remains entrenched in the United States, two-thirds of Hispanics polled nonetheless support making English the official U. S. language. Most lawmakers have yet to get that message, with a few notable exceptions.
At the Eagle Forum Summit this past Thursday, Rep. Steve King of Iowa spoke on “an endeavor for me that goes back to 1996.” That endeavor is making English the official language of the United States.
“Throughout all of history, there is nothing more powerful and unifying than a common language.”
Rep. King, throughout the past decade, has done countless hours of research on the history of the English language as well as the history of official and common languages throughout the world.
“Wherever English went, freedom went with it,” Rep. King remarked. “English is the language of freedom,” he added.
Rep. King does not want to ban Spanish or other languages from being taught in our schools. He believes learning another language is a “plus.” Still, Rep. King wants to “preserve English as the national language.”
“We need to have an official language.” Rep. King attested to the fact that language is “a common known value in society.”
Rep. King illustrated this point by using the example of Israel. In 1954, they established Hebrew as the official language, so that all citizens would speak the same language.
Rep. King explained why such a bill such as his house resolution (HR 997), is important in today’s society.
“What we have today is an effort to divide us.”
He then told the story of his family’s immigration to America. His father’s family arrived in America and only spoke German. His grandmother made his father go to school and speak only in English. His father would then come home and teach English to his mother.
Rep. King also spoke about the Irish immigrants, including his mother’s family and their weaving into American society.
“If we can assimilate the Irish, we can assimilate anyone,” Rep. King said.
Rep. King then asked the question of “why would anyone want to vote in another language?” This is an especially pressing question, since to vote you must be a citizen and to be a citizen you must master comprehension of the spoken and written English language.
There have been some cases where a person requires a translator in the voting booth with them so they can vote, due to their inability to comprehend English.
“We should have equal opportunity for all people,” Rep. King argued.
Matthew Murphy is an intern at Accuracy in Academia.