Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thank you, Rudy Giuliani!

For giving me yet another reason not to vote for you. Not that I needed another reason, mind you, because I never intended to vote for him anyway. What did Rudy do this time? Bought a Philly cheesesteak. No, I'm not here to gripe because he ate meat and cheese, vegan that I am and all, but that he did so at a place called Gino's, owned by someone who seems to have a problem with people who don't speak English.

I first heard about this guy, actually, from a blog that I love to frequent called "the 'blog' of 'unnecessary' quotation marks." The readers of that blog almost always have some snarky/funny comments to make about submissions, and this one was no exception. Then today, on the same blog, I read about Guiliani's trip to Gino's, who has in his window a sign reading "This is America -- When Ordering 'Speak English'." Oh, Joe Vento also sports a Confederate flag tattoo and has several on his Harleys. Great guy. I guess he is unaware that the United States has no official language, English or otherwise. How about all of those Spanish speakers in Puerto Rico (part of the U.S.), or those who speak something other than English in U.S. territories. Or how about the Native American Indians, from whom we stole a whole lotta land? According to Wikipedia, there are over 50 native languages still spoken in the U.S. Not to mention three different types of Native sign language. Despite all of these language differences, the 2000 U.S. Census reported that only 0.8% of the population speaks no English at all; an overwhelming 97% report speaking English "well" or "very well." I guess those 0.8% of the people are just lining up in droves to order Philly cheesesteaks.

Want some more racist food for thought? And I quote: "He told a reporter that Mexicans carry disease into the U.S. because they 'play and drink out of the same water.'" Um. I am speechless here. Furthermore: "He defended himself against critics with a quick recourse to that last refuge of the demagogue: 'I say what everybody's thinking but is afraid to say.'" Really? Does everyone think that about Mexicans? Huh. Who knew. I guess this a-hole is a mind reader, too. Here's something that I'm thinking. Joe Vento, you're a racist a-hole. And Giuliani? That was just a really stupid move on his part. Why he would actually support someone like that is beyond me. Wait...oh yeah, maybe it's not.

Costa Rica's official language is Spanish, though lots of people speak English (from a few words to complete fluency). Here, it is seen as a benefit to be able to speak more than one language, unlike in the U.S., where it is often seen negatively, especially if your first language is Spanish. In Costa Rican schools, most children begin instruction in English starting in first grade. There are also quite a few very good private schools that are bilingual in French and German, as well as English. When strangers first meet our son, they are usually impressed with his English-speaking abilities, though that is about all we speak at home (unless we have Spanish-speaking relatives or friends over). Most people think, hey, that's great that he speaks English! Our son, at 3-1/2, understands Spanish just fine, and is finally starting to speak a bit more in Spanish. I know he will be fluent in Spanish by the time he's five, because most of his friends speak Spanish along with English. In fact, one of his friends speaks mostly French and Spanish, so the two of them tend to communicate in Spanish, sometimes in French, sometimes in English. How I wish I had learned Spanish, French, or any other second language at a young age! I wouldn't still be struggling with Spanish now. Esposo, for example, began learning English in first grade and is completely bilingual. So maybe Joe Vento is onto something: "everyone" is so closed-minded and ethno-/ego-centric that they don't want to make an attempt to communicate in another language or learn something new; their way is the best/only way. Maybe the Joe Ventos of the world feel so secure in their little, closed worlds, that they can't imagine why anyone else wouldn't want to live that way. I wonder if Joe Vento has ever stepped outside of the U.S.; or his own state, for that matter.

As far as "saying what everyone else thinks"? I actually think most people are a hell of a lot more intelligent than Joe Vento.

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