Monday, June 16, 2008

Kindergarten debating skills

Sunday's Gail Kerr column in the Tennessean was a surprise to me. I didn't expect her to fall into the 'make fun of it' camp at all. I'm not surprised she disagrees with the effort to make English the official language of Metro Nashville business but I never expected her to pound out this sort of rhetoric:

So the Korean man trying to enroll his child in school? Tough beans. The Hispanic woman calling the police because her husband is beating her? Too bad, so sad. And how about murderer Paul Dennis Reid, who sits on death row thanks to the testimony of a Spanish-speaking man? The lone witness almost bled to death in the Hermitage McDonalds as he played dead until Reid left. He crawled to a phone and dialed 911.
This is just the sort of emotional nonsense I've come to expect from most opponents but didn't expect from her. Where does it say that NO Metro employee can speak or write in a different language? Nowhere. The amendment says:
"English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions (those which bind or commit the government) shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be published only in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan government shall be conducted in English. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law." Voters shall be provided the two choices of FOR and AGAINST.
Where in the above does it say that a 911 operator cannot respond to an emergency in a language other than English? Since when does every utterance by a 911 operator or clerk on Bransford Avenue 'bind and commit' Metro? Let's talk about that and leave the kindergarten debating skills behind.

Further Kerr writes:
Apparently Crafton cares little about how his hometown is portrayed. Because he's at it again. He knows the council won't pass it.
The Council DID pass it. It was the former mayor who vetoed it. We're supposed to be more concerned about how we appear to outsiders than running an efficient and effective government? Caring about what our sophisticated and enlightened betters think is not the way to create and carry out good public policy. Being afraid of what they think is no way to ensure the best for the citizens of Nashville.

No comments: