Whew, America dodged a bullet: English is finally going to become the national language.
Backers of the Senate Republican proposal, approved Thursday by 63-34, said that it was equivalent to establishing an official national anthem or motto and that it would simply affirm the pre- eminence of English without overturning laws or rules on bilingualism.
"We're free to say what we want, speak what we want, but it is our national language," said Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.
Democrats led by Ken Salazar (D-CO, one of three Hispanic senators) might have poisoned the bill by adding an amendment proclaiming English the "common and unifying" language of the US. That sounds good to the layman, but official-English hawks consider it a watering-down of the bill.
This is easy to laugh at, but it could easily turn into a boondoggle. States and municipalities have quietly been adding bilingual ballots, signs, and official forms to their portfolios for decades. Would an English-only law scupper these forms? Would it make it illegal for, say, clinics in east Los Angeles to issue health information in Spanish? I'd be amazed if the Lamar Alexanders of the world have even thought on this.