Back in 1907, Teddy Roosevelt was correct when he spoke about the significance of language and of being an American:
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.
While these words were said over a century ago, they are equally relevant in 2012. However, omnipresent political correctness today prevents us from endorsing these views. Here in the U.S., English has been the official language, yet we are sadly questioning its virtue.
Columnist Michael M. Bates summarizes the large role that language plays in our society – and, for that matter, any society:
Our common language is a basis for our cultural unity. For folks wishing to advance here, knowledge of it is essential. We do immigrants no favors by bending over backwards trying to accommodate them in their native language, hindering their adapting to a new culture.
No other country allows immigrants, foreigners, misfits and anti-government interests to dictate policy.
It was comical and somewhat ridiculous when many years ago the “trash collectors” became “sanitation engineers” and “undertakers” became “funeral directors.” Just recently, in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, turned the Christmas tree into “holiday tree” to appease atheists. It is getting more absurd every day. In the book “The Language Police” by Diane Ravitch, the author describes the deliberate distortions and omission of certain words required by our political leaders in education. Now it seems, we will have to abide by the thought police or the truth police.
The expression “politically correct” was born in the late 1900s. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary describes it as “language or behavior that deliberately tries to avoid offending particular groups of people.” We should obviously not aim to offend, but we need to be clear. Honesty and clarity are the only ways to convey the truth.
Young people are our future, we need to engage them in truth and facts, not deception.
In June 2011, Federal District Judge Fred Biery issued an order to stop a San Antonio school’s valedictorian from saying the word “prayer” as part of the graduation speech. He ordered the school district to remove the words “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program to be replaced with “opening remarks” and “closing remarks.” Fortunately, the ban was reversed, and the school administrators didn’t have to act as the speech police.
I just learned that a real estate office directed its agents not to use the phrase “within walking distance,” and to replace it with “nearby” so as not to offend those who may have trouble walking. Where has our sense of reality gone?
Political correctness is damaging our nation and freedom. We must present clarity and enforce our laws to better protect our country. This begins with guarding English as our language of identity.
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