Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We Speak American Here

Barack Obama recently commented that it would be beneficial for children to learn foreign languages. He said he wished he was fluent in a language other than English.

He said: "I agree that immigrants should learn English....But instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English -- they'll learn English -- you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language.''

I wholeheartedly agree! When I was in Japan, the children were taught English at a young age so they were fluent in both English and Japanese. I hobbled along as best I could - pointing and grunting like an idiot.

In fact, I took three years of Spanish and somehow managed to get through college without having to take another language course. It's pretty pitiful, actually. I can ask where the disco and bathroom are in Spanish (very useful). I can say hello, goodbye, and thank you. I can sing Vamos a la Playa (Let's go to the beach - although I've probably spelled it incorrectly.) I can also recite phrases from the Taco Bell menu - chalupa, quesadilla. Yep, I'm ready for globalization!

I think Obama makes a pretty reasonable point. Education is good. Speaking different languages is beneficial. We should want our children to be equipped for success. This seems so innocuous, I can't imagine anyone feeling differently.

I guess I underestimate the amount of ignorance in this country.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Education!

Mitt Romney said: "I do think that, frankly, Barack Obama looks towards Europe for a lot of his inspiration....I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America."

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said, "This is a country that should speak English."

How is learning a foreign language un-American? Are we suddenly going to be annexed by Mexico if we teach kids Spanish? Will Quebec take over if students learn French?

My friend John is fluent in Mandarin. I've always thought he was ordering tofu for lunch, but is he secretly a terrorist? I'm betting yes!

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