With my eyes rolled upward to demonstrate the stupidity of it all, I let out a disgusting snort when the news media recently reported Donald Trump eagerly supports legislation that favors immigrants who speak English.
Gosh, there you have it. Such legislation would keep out Klingons and me—that is, if I weren’t already here, mind you.
You see, I’m a mumbler. My wife often asks: “What did you say?” My friends: “Huh?” People I’ve just met gaze quizzically at me as if I’m speaking, well, Klingon.
Chances are extremely excellent that I’d be nixed at the immigration office when asked what language I speak. “Engblurmumblelish,” I’d mumble.
A Klingon would reply, “qaStaH nuq jay’?” Which in English is the equivalent of barking out, “What the *$@expletive delete%* is going on?” Well, that’s if the Klingon is stubbornly contrary and refuses to reply in anything but his own native language. In actuality, Klingons speak perfect English.
Not familiar with Klingons? Click here to learn about them. Click here to find out about their language.
Introduced by conservative Republican U.S. senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, the legislation would cut immigration in half by changing the system for legal residency, or green cards. The new focus in this legislation, named the RAISE Act, would be on applicants who can financially support themselves and their families, have skills that contribute to our economy, and speak English.
The president and authors of the legislation have failed—either on purpose or through lack of vision—to take into account an important point: Humans have the ability to do great things. We can go to the moon and beyond. We visit ocean depths. We invented rapid global communication. And a measure of no less greatness: People who adopt a new motherland can actually learn her language.
I have to wonder if Mr. Trump himself would be let into the U.S. under the proposed legislation. Don’t believe me? Read his convoluted tweets. Are they really English? And, as far as his speaking English? Listen to the president’s spoken words, his inability to complete a sentence, his contrived words with no meaning, his verbal wanderings, misuse of verbs and subjects, nonsensical messages…well, the list goes on.
To be fair, however, I have to admit that Mr. Trump’s mangling of our verbal and written language is more representative of what’s happening in our society than one might like. In short, grammatically correct English is on the way out. How often do we hear people make such statements as “Me and Joe went to the movies” and “He don’t know nothing”? (Uh, just in case, please note that it should be “Joe and I…” and “He doesn’t know anything….”)
Do Klingons speak English better than Donald Trump? Take the short poll below.
And the written language? Oh, ye gads. Let me give a small example of what I’ve witnessed. I taught a magazine writing class for college seniors and graduate students for a couple of years. Each semester I had to give remedial grammar lessons. A plural verb goes with a plural subject…a singular noun takes a singular pronoun…and so on and so forth. Many of these supposedly highly educated students had no idea how to craft a grammatically correct sentence.
Anyway, at this very spot, I would like to make a graceful transition to a related topic by writing, “Well, now, all kidding aside….” Unfortunately, I wasn’t kidding about the above observations.
The proposed legislation smacks not only of racism but also of economic ignorance. The U.S. is beset by an aging population and low fertility rates—two trends that economists say severely limit our society’s innovation and economic growth. By restricting immigration, we dull our economic edge.
The legislation also would close the spigot on a stream of workers—both in the high-tech and lower-skilled areas—that America needs to fill big gaps in our labor force. Ask yourself how many vegetables, really, will end up in our grocery stores if we impose an English-only rule on the folks doing the backbreaking harvesting.
Thanks to immigration, businesses are created and improvements are made, leading to more jobs in our country. Boosting economic growth is an issue that should be supported by all of the congress—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. With this thought in mind, I encourage you to contact your congressional representatives to voice opposition to the legislation.
If that doesn’t work, tell them, “wo’ batlhvaD.” After all, as this Klingon saying goes, we’re on the same team, aren’t we?
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