Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mayor vetoed Nashville's English only bill

Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell has got it right. On Monday, the mayor vetoed a measure that would have made English Nashville's official language.

Now most of you find favor with Nashville bill in question. But Purcell said the bill was mean-spirited, unnecessary, and most of all, unconstitutional.

I applaud Purcell's veto. On being mean-spirited, if that bill becomes law, it will say, "If you don't speak English, Nashville doesn't welcome you here!" It's a slap in the face to immigrants who doesn't speak or speaks little English. It is like saying you should move to Knoxville, or Chattanooga, or Huntsville Alabama when you are learning basic English. When you are proficient enough, Nashville will open your door.

With laws like that, I don't want to move back.

On being unnecessary, that is the absolute truth. Nashville sits in the middle of Tennessee, and I will bet 99.99...% of people of Nashville speaks English, and a vast majority has English as the only language they know. I have never been in Nashville (I drove through it once), but I have a friend who lives in Nashville, and he speaks only English, and he doesn't complain about the foreigners living there. I live in Oklahoma City, and the business I know speaks English. If it doesn't, it will go out of business, and OKC is more foreign than Nashville. In fact, I was born and live 6 years in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I can't speak Spanish. I speak more French than Spanish (although I took two years in high school and one semester in college in French). "Unnecessary" is an understatement.

And on being unconstitutional, I haven't read the Constitution of Tennessee, but I know the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution is the "supreme law of the land", and I know it very well. With 7 articles and 27 amendments, there is nothing to say about English, or another language to speak, and in Amendment 10, if there isn't specifically in there, it will leave it to the state. And I will bet the Tennessee doesn't have a language in there. Besides, Purcell's legal staff told him the bill violated both the U.S. and state constitution, plus it would be costly to defend in a court of law.

However, the proposed law would require Nashville government offices to publish all documents in English, and I don't know about that. To require private individuals and businesses to speak in English is wrong; it violates their freedom of speech and press, but with government, it will save the taxpayers paper and ink not to draft it into different languages, and that is a plus. But, Nashville would be mean to foreigners, like Purcell said. The best way is to make Nashville's government tiny, so that foreigners would go into the private sector for administrative things, and that business will speak any language it wants.

Mayor Purcell is a wise, wise man. He knows what would happen if the bill becomes law. Too bad he chose his profession.


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