|"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."||Theodore Roosevelt, 1907|
The words of Roosevelt make as much sense today as they did a century ago. But believe me, Roosevelt would never win an election today with that common sense and logic. In short, the face of this nation has changed and unfortunately along the way, our values have changed as well.
I write often of the immigration issue, not because I am anti-immigration but because I am pro-American. If we allow small cultural changes to occur day-
by-day, we will soon not recognize the America that Roosevelt and others promised.
The irony of all this of course is that we permit it to happen in the first place. We make no attempts to mandate the future direction of this country and instead, we adapt and change to the altering culture. Some future generation - and not too far removed - will live in a society where the American culture of today is but a distant memory.
A Democrat-backed proposal in Florida was introduced this week that would make Spanish classes mandatory for elementary students there. Just like English and math, Spanish language classes would be required for beginning students. Bilingual books for all students are currently under discussion as well. Florida - like some Southwestern states and California - has a large Hispanic population.
Roosevelt knew what he was saying a century ago. When we lose our common language, we lose the culture of this great nation. Yet there are those in Florida who are now ready to abandon history and tradition and culture by making Spanish a mandatory language in our schools. History may not remember their names but their actions will long be remembered.
A Russian leader long ago said that America would not be destroyed by a single weapon but rather we would destroy ourselves. It's easy to make a comparison with a move to mandate a second language in this country.
I will support a move to mandatory Spanish when the public school system in Mexico mandates English for their students. Ditto for the dozens of Hispanic countries who send their people here daily to enjoy our way of life and our freedoms but refuse to adopt our common language as their own.