Thursday, July 10, 2008

Post No. 26: Did I Miss Something Here – So to Speak?

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

I’m neither particularly bright nor sophisticated. I often miss things that others consider obvious. Presumptive Democrat Party nominee Barack Obama suggested yesterday that American parents encourage their children to study Spanish as a second language. For our purposes at this point, let’s assume that you read nothing further in the paper or online, or that you listened no further to any news broadcasts, as to the circumstances surrounding his statement, or the context in which it was uttered. What would you have reasonably thought was the underlying motivation for his statement?

During the 1960’s, the study of a second language was a requirement in many secondary schools. By the time that I completed my first two years of college, I had six years of French under my belt. French made the transition to Spanish far easier when I lived in California. During the 1990s, various businesspeople, out of a desire to acquire business from Japanese firms, took Japanese immersion courses. Before traveling to Brazil and Italy, I studied conversational Portuguese and Italian in preparation for the trips. Probably of most relevance to this discussion is the fact that while teaching adult students seeking their GEDs at a local community college, I frequently recommended that they encourage their children to study Mandarin Chinese in light of the rising importance of China in the world.

Consequently, when I first heard of Senator Obama’s suggestion that parents encourage their children to study Spanish, I assumed that it was a positive suggestion, and perhaps benign at worst. Silly me. I naively thought that learning to communicate, with a significant segment of our Nation’s citizens and a major segment of the people living in this hemisphere, was a good thing. Silly me, again. By the end of yesterday, the media outlets were full of talking heads framing the Senator’s comments as those of an individual who supported illegal immigration, and necessarily opposed the effort to make English the official language of the United States.

Somebody please explain to me how any responsible, self-respecting commentator, or elected representative, could make such an argument. Is denigrating this man that important? Are the stakes that high? What message is conveyed to the youth of our Nation? We most certainly have an immigration problem. We most certainly need to figure out a way to ensure the assimilation and integration of other cultures into our “melting pot.” However, quite frankly, this appears to be the wrong vehicle to highlight our legitimate concerns about these issues. Do they regard us, the listening and voting public, as fools willing to accept any framed argument asserted against any candidate? Let’s hope that those of us listening to this crap maintain the ability to apply a little common sense.

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

6 comments:

  1. You have touched upon one of my least favorite things about American education: ignorance. Everyone should learn a second language. I don't care which one it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You’re absolutely right. I was ‘taken-a-back’ also when I heard the ‘Obama supports illegal immigration!” It’s beyond a common sense issue- its insult to our intelligence! The whole thing has gotten to a point of absurdity.

    NEXT WEEK: OBAMA CAUGHT ON TAPE SCRATCHING ASS IN PUBLIC. EXPERTS STATE PROOF THAT OBAMA SHOWS SIGNS OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE ABOUT TO ERUPT. WARRANT SOON ISSUED FOR OBAMA’S ARREST!

    What’s really frightening is that they (and you know who I mean) think the American public is that stupid and is going to buy it. I find myself thinking sometimes -maybe it’s me. Maybe- I’m wrong. Maybe I live in a more cloistered world than I know. Maybe people really are that stupid. Why would the do it otherwise?

    Glad to know that you live in my cloistered shell too, Reginald.

    Oh well. The sideshow goes on, huh?
    Vikki

    ReplyDelete
  3. as I mentioned at the coffee shop, I think the setting and the specifically focusing on Spanish, wasn't the best call.

    thanks for stopping by with the song and sending some of your generation. On another blog, I invited people to stop by but I warned them they may need to be a little graying. I'm glad you got it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Every bit helps. Thank you for responding to my post.
    “It’s Your Turn” sounds amazing. Children need to be motivated and
    need to know that they can obtain their goal.
    When “It’s Your Turn” starts touring will you please send me a list
    of what states and city “It’s Your Turn” will be visiting. I would
    love to attend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Unfortunately this is what passes for politics as usual these days. Basically the parties are not all that different in their fundamental positions (primarily they differ in the means, rather than the goal.)

    It's become easier to try to find or manufacture some flaw in the opposing candidate, rather than debate their position. A true debate would open both candidates up to scrutiny that they would prefer to avoid.

    ReplyDelete
  6. as I mentioned at the coffee shop, I think the setting and the specifically focusing on Spanish, wasn't the best call.

    thanks for stopping by with the song and sending some of your generation. On another blog, I invited people to stop by but I warned them they may need to be a little graying. I'm glad you got it.

    ReplyDelete

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