Thinktrain has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Good thoughts from Garrigan on English-first

As happens more often than not, I agree with Liz and her ode to Councilman Eric Crafton in this week's Scene:

We do conduct our business in English and always have. Not once, as editor of a newspaper that makes frequent requests for public information—and roots around daily in the recesses of government offices for documents and other city goings-on—have we encountered an arrest record, a legal filing, a personnel file, an interview with a bureaucrat, or any other manifestation of municipal business in a non-English format. Well, except for the usual Metro-mangling of the English language—e.g., “let me have him to call you,” “you can quote me per beta,” or the classic plea for secrecy, “I need this to be unanimous.” (And there’s always the Metro Council favorite: “I have a qwerstion….”) ...
That said, you have accomplished wonders in uniting some of the city’s most fragmented factions. There could not be a more widely assorted, contradictory cast of characters who find your intention repulsive. The Scene and Bishop David Choby…on the same side? Liberadio! and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce? Bizpigs and African American clergy? The list of multifarious hand-holders who have come together for what may be the first and last time goes on and on—a testament to how spurious and ill-motivated your scheme truly is ...
Here you are, assuming that others who find themselves needing to learn a new language don’t have the same willingness and eagerness you did. It’s unfounded. No doubt when you were in Japan you tried to speak the language the best you could, but you probably needed a little sympathetic assistance from time to time—a stranger recognizing your effort, and reaching to meet you halfway. That’s all your mob of critics is saying.

Instead, by saying you’ll back the effort to put the measure on the August ballot, you’re assuming the worst of people in (or off) the same boat. And by trying to create a law where none is required, you’re diluting the good nature of Nashville’s citizens.

The last point here is the one that bugs me the most. This is a great place to live with a lot of kind-hearted people in it. We're consistently named the nation's friendliest city (although occasionally not to the homeless), and there are wonderful and amazing things taking place here as people continue to discover and explore Nashville. Yes, we have problems, but our ability to communicate in English is not one of them. How does this help us when we have bigger problems, including Dickerson Pike, to tackle?

No comments: