Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Prop 103 Is An Insult to Arizona's Roots

I've had about all I can take from the U.S. Exceptionalist Brigade. Courtesy of their festering hate for all things un-American (read: white, European-based Americanism), Arizona voters will be met with several ballot initiatives on November 7th targeting a specific group of people. The jewel of their Burger King cardboard crown is Proposition 103
Proposition 103 would replace the existing provision of the Constitution of Arizona with a new provision establishing English as the official language of this state. Representatives of the state or a local government would be required to preserve, protect and enhance the role of English as the official language. Proposition 103 would require that all official actions of the government be conducted in English. Official actions include actions on behalf of the government that appear to present the position of the government or that bind the government. The proposition specifies situations in which state or local government could act in a language other than English, including:

1. When required by federal law or when necessary to preserve the right to petition the government.
2. In teaching languages other than English, or in using or preserving Native American languages.
3. In actions to protect the public health and safety, including law enforcement and emergency services, or to protect the rights of crime victims and criminal defendants.
4. Providing assistance to hearing impaired or illiterate persons.
5. In informal or nonbinding communications or translations among or between government officials and the public.
6. For actions necessary for tourism, commerce or international trade.
Proposition 103 would prohibit discrimination against a person because the person uses English in any public or private communication.

Proposition 103 also would allow a person who resides or does business in Arizona to enforce this new constitutional requirement in court. However, a person shall not file an action under this section unless the person has notified the attorney general of the alleged violation and the attorney general or other appropriate representative of government has not provided appropriate relief within a reasonable time under the circumstances. If the person is successful, they may be awarded costs and reasonable attorney fees.

(emphasis mine)
I highlighted #2 of the list provided by the Secretary of State because it occurred to me that it's bizarre that Mexicanos are not seen as Native Americans, even though we were here long before Manifest Destiny rode is trek of destruction and pestilence from sea to shining sea.

Why is that?

Proposition 103 is an unneeded form of idiocy that smacks of elitism and whispered racism. It comes from the U.S.-born citizen or lawmaker who refuses to see beyond February 14, 1912.

My tío who died a week ago today after suffering for months from cancer never lost his ability to speak both English and Spanish. He was able to code-switch until his last moments here despite the tumors that were growing in his brain.

For many of us, our very being is woven with the threads of different languages. Why are there efforts to stamp out that legacy? It makes no sense, unless you subscribe to the Sheriff Joe Arpaio method of tough love.

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