Jul 042007

Paul Greenberg writes:

I’m all for the wonderful mosaic of cultures in this country – social, religious, linguistic, culinary and every other kind in this country of countries. Each contributes something to the way we all see things, think about things. We learn from each other. But here there is room for only one, indivisible, unhyphenated civic culture. A civic and civil culture that gives us a common tongue to argue in, and common ground to stand on.

Note that having English as the one official language of this country, the language used for government work, would be quite compatible with our being more of a multi-lingual society. It would be quite compatible with kids learning more languages in school, and perhaps ought to be accompanied by such if it were ever to be made official policy. It’s no threat to our having a multitude of cultures and languages — unless all aspects of our cultures and private lives become government business. If that’s the case, then government is too big.

This was in Paul Greenberg’s recent article on immigration reform : Me, Ma, and Ben Franklin. So was Greenberg for the recent immigration bill or against it? He explains in the introductory paragraph to the article in which the above quote appeared.

I didn’t much like the immigration bill that just stalled in the U.S. Senate. In fact, I disliked it. Intensely. And I was for it. You can imagine how the folks who were against it felt about the bill.