American Elephants


We want you to speak English… by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, Obama’s comments to an Hispanic audience about speaking English were widely discussed. The context of Obama’s remarks seemed to be that there is something negative about demanding that immigrants learn English. Here is what Obama said:

You know, I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about “We need to have English — only.”They want to pass a law, “We want English — only.”

Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.

Obama’s assumption that all immigrants learn English is incorrect. Many do not take advantage of English classes on offer. But that is not the point. English is the language of commerce in this country, and people who cannot speak English correctly are handicapped in the job market, and in their financial dealings.

But there is a far more important point, made particularly by Daniel Boorstin.

No nation ever believed more firmly that its political life was based on a perfect theory. It was given to us by our first settlers and the Founding Fathers, and is continually embodied in the American experience. We celebrate the United States as the Land of the Free. We believe in American Independence, American equality, American liberty and American democracy; in sum, the American Way of Life. And it is embodied in this special land. The American Myth tells the story of ordinary people moving into an extraordinary land, and in overcoming the challenges of the frontier, they were changed, transformed. The ordeal in the wilderness created the American — free-thinking, optimistic, tough, open and self-reliant.

What we ask of new immigrants is that they become Americans, accept our history as theirs, our values and our way of life. We give no special honors to those who have been here longer. The American whose ancestors came with the Winthrop fleet, or across the land bridge from Siberia or through Ellis Island share the very same American way of life as the newest citizen from El Salvador or Ethiopia.

They must stop being citizens of Mexico or Britain or El Salvador and become Americans. Equal Americans. And part of that is speaking the American language. Not for our convenience as Obama suggests in The Audacity of Hope:

And, if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments….When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.

But as a necessary part of becoming an American, they must learn our common language, for we want them to become full participants in American life.

Obama is thinking (again) of foreigners’ impressions of America. How tacky of us not to speak several languages as our European betters do. But Europeans can travel a few miles and be in another country where another language is spoken. Many Americans learn a foreign language in school, yet never have the experience of having to speak it, and it soon fades away.

English is best learned in school by immersion, not by treating English as a “second language”. Liberal ideas of “multiculturalism” are naïvely intended to celebrate all cultures as equal. Helping new immigrants to remain apart, living in their own neighborhood, speaking their old language, observing their old customs may seem kind. The problems that Europeans are having with immigrants who do not assimilate, and who want to impose their old customs and laws on their new country, are a direct result of misguided and meaningless “multiculturalism”.

The United States has done a surprising job of assimilating newcomers. We are, after all, a nation of immigrants. What is astonishing is the intensity of patriotism among new citizens created by this simple fact.

We must understand, when the left pushes “multiculturalism”, that it has nothing to do with cultures, and everything to do with politics. Americans know this instinctively. 83% say getting immigrants to speak English is a higher priority than creating a “bilingual” America.



Nutroot Schadenfreude by American Elephant

Democrats have finally capitulated, after years of lies and demagoguery, to President Bush’s and Republican’s view of FISA laws and presidential authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps in the interests of national security. The 69-28 vote wasn’t even close. Obama’s promised filibuster didn’t materialize. Indeed, he voted for it.

But why did it pass so overwhelmingly when Democrats have been so hysterical over it? How is it possible that president Bush could win when his approval ratings are so low, you ask?

Because Democrats were pandering to their deranged base, they put the nation through all this division and animus for political expediency, and because in the end, President Bush was right, Republicans were right, Democrats were wrong, and they knew it all along.

Naturally, there is much wailing, rending of clothes, pulling of hair, and gnashing of teeth among the MoveOn and Dailykos types.

To which all I can say is: NEENER NEENER NEENER!!!!!



Pelosi Betrays Democrats Lies on Gas by American Elephant

I wasn’t even aware of Pelosi’s call to open up the Strategic Oil Reserves for political expediency until I read it on Significant Pursuit. But I wanted to point out that Renaissance Guy has it exactly right — Pelosi’s call for the President to open the reserves because the extra oil will reduce gas prices, while intended to shift blame to Bush and the Republicans, directly refutes the entire Democrat argument that more oil won’t bring prices down. You can read his post here.

The truth is that Democrats have had their way on energy, whether in the majority or the minority, since at least the Carter administration. For most of that time, they have controlled at least one, if not both, chambers of congress and have been able to block more domestic energy production that way. When Republicans took control in 1994, Clinton blocked it with his veto pen. Republicans have pressed the issue every year since Bush has been in office only to be blocked by Democrat filibusters in congress and their demonizing and demagoguery to the public. Remember how they smeared Vice President Cheney for daring to consult the people who produce the nation’s energy when devising a national energy policy? Democrats would have us meet only with Greenpeace and the Earth Liberation Front.

As a result, while the population and energy needs of America have increased dramatically, our domestic energy supply has remained virtually unchanged for decades. THAT is entirely why we are now, “dependent on foreign oil.” The saying has become so cliche, I worry that people forget the reasons.

I heard Bill O’Reilly the other day claim that Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame in his his sanctimonious, “look how independent I am” tone. I wanted to reach through the radio and throttle him. But at least I remembered why I don’t listen to his show.

The fact is Republicans have supported alternative energy, they have supported wind, biofuel (ugh), and solar — they have even supported conservation efforts — but they also understand that none of those are capable, nor will they be capable any time even relatively soon of meeting our energy needs. They recognize that we need to increase oil production, increase refinery capacity, reduce “boutique” fuels and standardize the gasoline blends, increase clean coal, natural gas and especially nuclear energy.

Democrats on the other hand, have blocked virtually everything BUT wind, solar and conservation. They won’t allow new refineries, they block nuclear plants, they block oil production and even want to tear down the hydro-electric dams that power most of the Northwest to “save” the same salmon they eat probably at least once a week. The same salmon undoubtedly served in the congressional lunchroom alder-smoked or herb crusted with fresh lemon and capers. They filibustered the Republican energy bill when they were in the minority, and their so-called “energy” bill passed now that they are in the minority. You will notice prices have continued to increase — more rapidly if anything — not decreased since.

No, contrary to Bill O’Reilly’s claims, our increased dependence on foreign energy is entirely and solely the Democrats fault. One need look no further than the congressional record for the proof.

So, it is very welcome indeed that Nancy Pelosi is finally admitting that her party has been lying to the people all these years, and admitting that increasing the oil supply will lower prices. Just think of all the damage to the economy and to people that could have been avoided if they hadn’t been lying all this time.

(chart h/t: Michelle Malkin)




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