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Speak English Get Ahead

Speak English, Get Ahead

Making Sense, by Michael Reagan

It's no secret that in America knowing how to speak the English language is the basic requirement for success -- if you can't speak the language everybody else speaks, you are back at the Tower of Babel wondering what everybody around you is trying to say.

For any youngster starting out in life, knowing and speaking the common language is the first step in moving up the ladder. And in the United States, English is the common language, and has been from the beginning. The Constitutional debates were conducted solely in English. Only English is spoken in Congress and in the world of business, not only here in America, in most of the world.

Bill Cosby recently spoke about the vital necessity of youths learning and speaking English.

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English,' he complained. 'I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'why you ain't, where you is, what he drive, where he stay, where he work, who you be' ...And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.

'Everybody knows it's important to speak English - except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.'

Somebody ought to read those passages to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, preferably in English. It seems that Madame Pelosi has her heart set on forcing the Salvation Army to hire workers who can't speak English.

The lady from San Francisco, where English is presumably spoken, is set on forcing the Salvation Army and all other employers to embrace polyglot as their official hiring standard. Employers would be forced to hire workers who can't speak a word of the language all their customers understand and use -- English.

So strong is her intent in this matter that she has sought to block an amendment introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to shield the Salvation Army from an absurd requirement of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) that it must hire non-English speaking employees. His amendment passed the Senate by a 75 to 19 last month, and the House by a recent vote of 218 to 186.

"I cannot imagine that the framers of the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to say that it's discrimination for a shoe shop owner to say to his or her employee, 'I want you to be able to speak America's common language on the job,' " he told the Senate last Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mrs. Pelosi, however, caved in to a demand from the House's Hispanic Caucus that specified that the House will not vote on the bill funding the Justice and Commerce Departments unless the English-only protection language is dropped.

As the Journal observed, 'The late Albert Shanker, head of the American Federation of Teachers, once pointed out that public schools were established in this country largely 'to help mostly immigrant children learn the three R's and what it means to be an American, with the hope that they would go home and teach their parents the principles in the Constitution and the Declaration that unite us.''

The newspaper quoted Sen. Alexander as warning that this 'noble effort is in danger of being undermined: We have spent the last 40 years in our country celebrating diversity at the expense of unity. One way to create that unity is to value, not devalue, our common language, English."

Somebody please translate that for Mrs. Pelosi -- in English.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. Look for Mike's newest book, 'Twice Adopted.'E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.

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