One Nation, Indivisable. . . or Is it?

Today is the 6th of May, 2008. For many Americans it is just another workday. For some it is the day after they celebrate their Mexican heritage. It is not the actual Independence Day for Mexico. Mexico declared its independence from Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. However, on May 5, 1862 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Pueblo, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City to stop the plans of Napoleon who wanted a local foot-hold to invade the United States. So in a way it was a sort-of re-asserting Mexico’s independence. I can say I am glad for the Mexican sacrifices (as well as those Union soldiers from Texas who were sent to help), and that the United States was spared fighting a long war with France during our Civil War years.

In recent years, Cinco De Mayo celebrations have brought controversy. Immigration policies, language policies, and trade policies in specific have been in the newspapers, on tv, and on the net. Being of Irish decent, and being a third-generation American (which means my Grandad was born in Ireland), I am not completely blind to the needs of new immigrants. As further proof that I am by no means against knowing multiple languages, by a strange coincidence, my first language was Spanish.

However, I am not in favor of changing the national language and hence, government interactions from English to any other language. A common language is important to a nation. In fact, one could argue it is the one constant among all nations throughout history. The United States has achieved the progress we now enjoy through sacrifice, freedom, faith, morals, and common ideals; all of which were communicated via English. The Magna Charta which is the foundation for many of our American documents on was in English. The Mayflower Compact was in English. The Declaration of Independence was in English. The United States Constitution was penned in English, even if it has been translated many times over. Every immigrant group that has assimilated and then prospered in America has had to learn English. In fact, other countries teach their children English so they may be able to more easily make deals with Americans.

We are a nation of laws, of people, and of common goals. Communication is essential to uphold this nation. While we have a shared history with Mexico and others, that does not and should not oblige us to change something so fundamental as language. If you are still not convinced, think about this English is named after England, a nation; Spanish is named after Spain, a nation; French is named after France, a nation; Russian is named after Russia, a nation; Swedish is named after Sweden, a nation; Greek is named after Greeece, a nation; etc. etc. etc.

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