Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Third World In The First Person

Hi G---, Indeed, let the chips fall where they may! I agree! But … if we choose to ignore the detrimental effects of official multilingualism we must also realize it is possible to ignore things like Iraq, global warming and re-electing George Bush. People do some incredibly stupid things! (By the way, I think it’s a good idea to personally be a polyglot; speak several languages with fluency and celebrate our familial heritage with food, dance and other traditions. It’s just a lousy idea to try to accommodate all the differences officially … a nation needs to have national unity … a single voice, a common economic basis.) A short read of history does show that an “officially” multi-lingual nation grows weaker over time. In our country, instead of looking at how “the melting pot” worked at the beginning of the last century, we are being “tolerant” by accommodating a selected, large group of immigrants’ language. This segregates them rather than incorporating them. As long as they are speaking Spanish only, they will be marginalized and remain a kind of “subclass.” And they will be exploited. They will be our society’s latest “niggers” and “gypsies.” It will also hurt the rest of us by providing a class that will work for lower wages and substandard conditions. And this is what the new business mind works. Instead of raising the standards of the “Third World” it is easier to lower the standards of the First. In this way a level global market will be achieved. It’s a lot better to have 6 billion fairly poor potential customers rather than 280 million fairly affluent ones. And just maybe that’s okay. America is an arrogant, bloated empire. Maybe it should fall. After all, it won’t go away. The Roman Empire fell and Italy still remains a really nice place to visit. But what troubles me most, is that the present course is taking us toward a return to Feudalism. The rich are getting richer. Their power is increasing. What will the current crop of Lays, Wilsons and their ilk care about the well being of future generations? They’ll “have theirs.” They and their immediate heirs will be sitting in the castle quaffing great wine while the rest of us mire in the much. “They have no bread? Let them eat cake.” Let the chips fall! But I’m going to participate in the game! One of the keys to life is learning to be unattached and still not become isolated. “Put me in, Coach! I want to play!” I recently considered the word “tolerant.” We have to be “tolerant” of other people and cultures. Wait a minute! When I “tolerate” somebody that means I’m barely putting up with them! Perhaps it would be better to start using the word “celebrate” in the place we now use “tolerant.” We can celebrate others; truly take joy in having them with us, without trying to insinuate all aspects of their traditions into our national life. In the same way we celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan and the Central Elementary PTA Spring Festival, we can celebrate other languages, food, dance … all of it. But that doesn’t mean I want Christmas decorations in my bank year round, just as I don’t want to see only Spanish language signs in my local Bank of America branch (I had to go outside to find the English version of the current offered interest rates). On to the movies! I haven’t yet seen “Return of the Sith.” My daughter and I are trying to set a date to see it together. And I haven’t seen any of the Kevin Smith flicks you mention. What should I look for when I see them? I see that Aimee Mann is in town tonight! I’m going to wander down and see if there are any tickets available. She’s performing in the recently reopened, beautifully restored Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall (our walking street). I wished I’d known she was coming so I could get advance tickets (I did secure some Rolling Stones tickets for their October gig here … imagine, the Stones in little Charlottesville! … their tour manager lives here). Russ


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