24 April, 2000
Measure the value of a common language–this ability to communicate–and you will measure the value of a thread to a tapestry. Common language is a thread running through the magnificent tapestry of American society. It holds together the diversity of families and cultures in a common picture: diverse, colorful, yet unified and complimentary. Without the thread of common language, the tapestry that once portrayed a unified community will split and fall leaving one section here, another portion there, and yet another piece to be untangled by the house cat on its morning patrol of the Great Hall.
In the United States, English is by far the most widely used language, and, for hundreds of years, it has been the common bond that connects immigrants of all descent and grants them the title they have cherished so dearly–“American”. They value this title because it is a title that does not call for them to forsake all culture of their past but to gain a new culture and build one nation that spans the continent and not split it into sixty nations the size of Georgia. This unification is being weakened by the influx of non-English-speaking immigrants who no longer take measures or retain the desire to become American in language. Some of them are content to settle in areas where their native tongue is spoken not only in the homes but in the entire community allowing English to become an unnecessary luxury. This is perhaps convenient in their mind because they do not have to learn a new language, but it contributes to the division of this nation of immigrants. In 1983, Senator Walter Huddleston noted that open acceptance of English has allowed citizens and immigrants “to discuss our differences, to argue about our problems, and to compromise on solutions” while developing “a stable and cohesive society” (114). Many immigrants come to the United States to work and to build better lives for themselves. It must be realized that quality of life does not come from living at a certain location nor from working a certain job. One aspect of a quality life is unity with other human beings. Unity occurs when people not only work together but find ways to communicate with each other about their feelings, their plans, and their dreams. Continue reading