Here’s the for. What follows is the against, that is, against this measure by the Nashville city government:
“English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County,Tennessee. Official actions which bind or commit the government shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, Boards and Commissions of the Metropolitan Government shall be conducted in English. The Metro Council may make specific exceptions to protect public health and safety. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law.”
It should, perhaps, be noted that English is already the official language of Tennessee. Just sayin’.
So the basic argument against English-only measures relates to hospitality and respect for the foreign-born. An English-only proposition would send a message to the world that we’re not really interested in making people feel at home in our country. That we don’t respect difference or sensitivity to other cultures. It tells people that we’re concerned with people assimilating, and not interested in broadening our horizons. In terms of many different faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) who have injunctions to treat the foreigner in a respectful way, it doesn’t exactly send a message of welcome.
English Only also tells the world that we’re not interested in their business. Tourism and enterprise will just have to talk American, y’all. Recruiting foreign investors? Only in Americanese, thank you very much.
Another side is financial. While you might argue that it would actually save taxpayer dollars by not requiring multiple tedious foreign-language versions of government documents, there would still be a considerable expense dealing with the many court battles that would inevitably ensue. Court battles in English, mind you.
Are we really wanting to send such a prejudiced, racist message to the rest of the world? How can we say “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Give us them, just make sure they don’t breathe too free…
The special election is on the 22nd.
(NB: I’m still on the fence about this one. What about you?)