The Carroll County Commissioners are introducing an ordinance on September 27th to make English the official language of Carroll. It’s a shameful waste of time and talent for our local politicians to engage a matter which will have little tangible results but is being done solely by them to mount their wing-nutty soap boxes to address only a small part of the County population, that being other wing nuts. Bigoted wing-nuts.
Unfortunately, the adoption of such a law will taint the image of Carroll County across the state, an image that already isn’t exactly one of welcoming tolerance. It will also stain the reputations of those who live and work in Carroll.
This proposed new law has not been raised because the Commissioners are concerned with immigrant Russians, Israelis or Italians moving into the County and starting their own ghettos. It is what it is – twenty-first century racism exhibiting its less-than-sublime intolerance of people who don’t share their bright white color.
I was fortunate to have benefitted from a good education that tried to teach me both French and Latin. Much of the Latin stuck but I only speak enough French to get me by when ordering dinner in Quebec. The Latin comes in handy whenever, well, er, whenever I read ancient transcripts.
I have never had to fear for my life or the lives of my family because of prevalent crime, poverty or civil war; so I have never had the desire to emigrate from America to live in another country that offered better opportunity and a safe haven. If I had been born into those circumstances I would surely first extricate myself from those conditions driving me to emigrate and then maybe worry about learning a new language so I could reach my goal of thriving in my new country. I did emigrate from Baltimore County to Carroll forty years ago because I though it a nice place to bring my family and run a business from. Now I find it just becoming an ugly place that fosters hate.
America is a country of Aliens. With the exception of the First Americans, we all emigrated from someplace else. Fortunately, the Iroquois and Cherokees weren’t demanding Green Cards from the first white settlers.
During the great exodus from Europe and Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries all but the Anglo Saxons among us came here and were met with bigotry and a nasty hatred against them because of their color, dialect, brogue, language or culture. Over time, most immigrants came to realize that success would come to them as new Americans only if they learned English but not all accept it as their first language as there are still distinct enclaves here where English is the second language to Russian, Spanish, Italian and oh yes, Chinese. Most pointedly, the immigrant population that was forced to come here into slavery, the African Americans, managed to learn English without the benefit of much help from the whites who lived well off their backs.
Today, the same basic rule of success applies to those who arrive here – if you want to pick apples, dig trenches, clean toilets and mow grass you can probably get by with just your native language and I believe you are welcome here because we need that work to be done. But if you have come here to be a part of the bounty of America and be successful, you will learn English. I’m fine with that.
What many of us in Carroll don’t like is a bunch of racist local politicians speaking for us about what language that they want to mandate. None of them were elected to address this issue – it was not discussed during any of their campaigns. If the five Carroll Commissioners feel so strongly about the matter they should allow a free discussion of the issue by putting it on a referendum ballot – not some stealthy, slip it in on the agenda tactic to get it done quickly. Let’s have a good airing of the matter by everyone affected by it; not some 30 day rush to make a political statement that in the end will tarnish the image of the County and those who live and operate businesses there.
Haven Shoemaker says he wants the new law because he is tired of having to press the number 2 on his phone so he can wait in English. That's a pretty stupid response from a lawyer because if he read the ordinance he drafted he would realize it doesn't do anything about his personal phone blight. He should try to write a law that makes it illegal in Carroll County to have to press 2 to speak English if that's the problem he really thinks is worth of a new law. Instead we have a mumble jumble that is nothing more than a statement about the bigotry of the County Commissioners and the racism within County Government. The number of non-Caucasian employees on the County payroll is the proof in that pudding.