While president, Teddy Roosevelt said, “We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language … and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.”

In 2012 the Board of County Commissioners adopted legislation recognizing English as the official language of Frederick County.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Young BoCC adopted legislation that I proposed during my term on the BoCC but could not secure the votes to adopt. Specifically, it was designed with the purpose of protecting taxpayers from paying for translating official county documents into languages other than English, with exceptions where there is a conflict with federal or state laws.

Naturally, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater, the conscience of Frederick County, has taken exception to this common-sense legislation and now seeks its repeal. According to Fitzwater, this legislation has had a negatively “profound impact” on the perception of our beloved county. Apparently we are the laughingstock of America. Never mind that 31 states in our Union have adopted English as their official language. It is we here in Frederick County who are backward thinking.

It’s OK to have a state bird, state sport, state beverage, etc., but not an official language — so much for the ties that bind.

U.S. military veterans are welcomed home to a grateful nation by volunteers with the USO. Today’s welcome mat equivalent of the USO for illegal immigrants, key word there being “illegal,” are liberal or “progressive” nanny-state Democrats such as Fitzwater. Instead of waving American flags as they arrive by the millions, it seems the progressives can’t wait to breathlessly exclaim, “Welcome, what can be done for you? Don’t understand my greeting? Well, let me get a taxpayer-funded translator here so you won’t be offended or feel slighted in any way.”

Enough of this pandering. I want every citizen to go full-bore Howard Beale (from the movie “Network”) on the council. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore. Is the identity we have as Americans no longer worth preserving? Must we succumb at every turn to political correctness?

This nation has willingly accepted more immigrants than all other nations in the world. There is room for even more, but coming here means becoming an American. To become American means you adopt our culture, obey our laws, learn some of our history and learn to read and write English.

Moving here does not, in any way, obligate existing taxpayers to pay to translate documents for your benefit. Not providing you translated documents does not mean you aren’t welcome; it means if it’s that important to you, then you should learn the language of your new country.

I sincerely hope there are four council members with backbones who reject repeal of our existing legislation, but I’m not holding my breath. In a prior column I wondered aloud about Fitzwater’s next piece of legislation and wrongly speculated it might deal with a dress code for the council. This would follow on the heels of her vital proposal dealing with a civility code for council members. Important work is clearly being done on our behalf.

Charles Jenkins, a former county commissioner and state delegate, writes from Middletown. Reach him at cajenkins8@gmail.com.

(54) comments

FrederickFan

If you sit in one place, you only have one point of view. When I am a guest, on business, or cash paying tourist in another county I very much appreciate the efforts of these other countries to promote multilingual communication.

This Frederick County english ordinance has no meaningful financial impact and is only symbolic. It is a symbol of narrow mindedness, ignorance, and fear. It serves no purpose but to imply these are Frederick County's values. They certainly are not mine, and I respect Councilwoman Fitzwater for trying to eliminate this negative symbol.

I continue to respect Charles Jenkins' courage to state his values publicly. But in this case I certainly do not admire those values.

b1sellers

well put FF - and I agree

Tigerzord

Without all the hub bub - I respect other cultures, diversity and traditions - I do also believe that if you move to the states, one should make every effort to learn the language - I mean why wouldn't you want to anyway! If I moved to France, I would want to learn French! I sympathize that there are some stumbling blocks and hurdles for some individuals, but I do know that there are so many free opportunities to learn the English language, churches, schools, community centers, etc..... Maybe some important words should be dual language such as for emergencies. Maybe we English speaking persons should be made to learn a second language to help those who do not so we can help non English speaking persons transition into our country. Just like many other countries who speak English very well.

vicdavy

[thumbup]

Dwasserba

Second generations speak like natives because they are natives.
My daughter was born in China and the head of the English Dept at UMD invited her to consider making English her major. In writing.
Time heals this rift over and over and over and it is the essence of The American Adventure. We arrive different from those preceding us and eventually blend in with the lunkheads and bozos who call this home.
God bless us, every one

elymus43

Maybe the next thing is going be to hire different language teachers in our schools???

bosco

The recent FNP poll regarding the English Only legislation/ordinance showed:

Keep It - 70.7%, Repeal It - 25.4%, Don't Know Enough About It 3.9%

vicdavy

It's Fredneck County,DUH!

hayduke2

Want to guess who responds to the topic ? This is not based in science.

bosco

And I'd bet a dollar to a donut that if the poll turned out that the majority of the poll said repeal it, the liberal socialists would be all over it saying, See, we told you so.

DeDeuceCoupe32

I blame the Federal Gov. for calling spanish speaking immigrants illegal in the first place, which created this one of many controversies. The USA needs Mexican workers and the USA thrives on Mexicos drugs too. This whole LEGAL, ILLEGAL thing is highly overrated. The US should make a deal with Mexico. Every worker must bring a pound of pot into the US when entering. I blame the Federal Gov. for making marijuana illegal.This whole legal, illegal thing is highly overrated.

vicdavy

[beam][thumbup]

DickD

The illegal "thing" is not overrated in my mind. You violate the law and come here illegally, you have no rights. That does not mean we need an English language only ordinance.

jerseygrl42

have to agree with charles on this issue, there is NO need for taxpayers to support multi languages in this country or county and we became a great country as we assimilated millions of folks who came here to fulfill their dreams....in ENGLISH.....why is it any different today than it was when the legal immigrants were from Germany, Italy, Poland and the like .....this idea is a waste of much needed resources and lets move on to important issues like our school system , and infra structure which is deteriorating right before our eyes.

vicdavy

You forgot to mention that Germans,Italians and Poles are white,so that's OK?

DickD

Let's not leave out the Irish! They had no choice, they could die in ditches as the King of England gave their land to the Scotch-Irish. Or they could come to the U.S. If they came to a U.S. port, it cost 4 or 5 pounds. Slave ships could not come to the U.S. they could go to Canada and it only cost 80 shillings to go to Canada. My Irish ancestors went to Canada first. (The 1806 law prohibited slave ships to the U.S.) This is because the Irish land owners would pay their way to get rid of them. It was cheaper to pay 80 shillings than pay to pay taxes to the King of England for tenant farmers

DickD

jerseygirl, the answer to your question is simple, there were no quota laws in the early 1800's, so they just came here. It wasn't until the 1920's that quotas were set to keep out the Chinese. There were immigration laws. During colonial times independent colonies created their immigration laws. The first law governing the naturalization of foreigners was the Naturalization Act of 1790.

hayduke2

Your personal attack on Ms. Fitzwater is shameful and shows your own bias. You claim that this "law" was to protect taxpayers from the cost of translating documents into other languages. If that is the true reason, why not simply charge a minimal fee for any such request. You can try to hide behind the overused "protect the taxpayer" mantra but your vehemence and personal attacks say otherwise.

You know what, I'm mad as hell too and refuse to accept fear mongering and political extremism as the new norm. By the way, there are council members with backbone - they just happen to show independent thinking and actions.

vicdavy

Some interesting Historical Facts about the American Imperialism of the early 19th Century will reveal that what is now California,Colorado,New Mexico ,Arizona,Nevada and other areas were invaded and stolen from Mexico!

DickD

Yup, finders keepers. lol

DickD

Chuck, your usual right wing, Tea Party nonsense! You make me understand why I am a liberal and why I do not want any more of your type as politicians.

vicdavy

Chuck, Since you use Teddy to give credibility to your column,how about this quote.
"It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of Corporate Funds directly or indirectly for political purposes;it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced.". Then there is promotion of National Healthcare in 1912. How about those ideas,Chuck? BTW,he was a Republican,when being a Republican was not being a self serving Xenophobe!

Rick Blatchford

Hey Chuck, How ya been? As usual, the long knives are out with demeaning insults. One day, MAYBE, these bomb throwers will come out of the closet and reveal their true identities. Maybe.

BlueDawn666

Rick are you Chuck's pinch hitter, trying to clean up his mess? Well you are not doing a very good job of it and I would suggest that since Chuck is such a man that he clean-up his own messes. C'mom it took a forgotten man to write a column like that how about you let that poor forgotten man speak for himself.

He does have some 'splaining to do here.

Rick Blatchford

Never met the man. He's not all wrong.

DickD

Tell us something he is right on.

BlueDawn666

This is a disgusting column and you are a disgusting person

It’s OK to have a state bird, state sport, state beverage, etc., but not an official language — so much for the ties that bind...so having an official language is what would bind us together as a state? Are you serious, what you are really saying is that it will keep those brown-skinned people away from here and away from you. Hate to tell you this but those brown-skinned people are not going anywhere and they will continue to grow in numbers, they are going to take over us white-people in numbers very soon. Nothing you can do to stop that.

What you should be doing is learning a little Spanish because one of these days you are going to find yourself in a situation where you are the only English speaker and you will be screwed..LOL

An English only ordinance is not going to stop the brown-skinned people all it does is show people's true colors when they advocate for it. Much like this column shows your true colors. You are a racist and probably didn't even realize it, you should go back and read your words again.

Also do go condescending Ms, Jessica, with these words:
Naturally, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater, the conscience of Frederick County, has taken exception to this common-sense legislation and now seeks its repeal.

Not only are you a xenophobic bigot but a misogynistic sexist as well.

"Democrats such as Fitzwater. Instead of waving American flags as they arrive by the millions, it seems the progressives can’t wait to breathlessly exclaim, “Welcome, what can be done for you? Don’t understand my greeting? Well, let me get a taxpayer-funded translator here so you won’t be offended or feel slighted in any way.”

Are you saying Ms. Fitzwater is not a loyal America because she wants to be inclusive instead of exclusive, is our nation not one big melting pot of cultures and ethnicity's, last time I checked it was. You Charles have no clue about the country you live in and you just can't stand the fact that Ms. Fitzwater is basically thumbing her nose at your stupid English only ordinance and telling you where to stick it. Lot of anger in that column.

b1sellers

Good points BD. I agree.

melbell75

I do as well. He's so busy insulting people, he has lost sight of what he is even talking about. I'm from a border state and the only two confirmed illegals I have met were a German nanny and an Irish soccer coach, although it is absolutely true that you see many places where presumed undocumented workers congregate and are easily employed as day laborers. Those parking lots empty quickly. Our society takes advantage of these people's desperation and willingness to work and insults them in turn. Nothing changes. Non Spanish speaking immigrant communities have been through this as well, and we apparently are incapable of learning from our past.

DickD

You can go down to Home Depot's parking lot on the Golden Mile and see 15 to 50 looking for work every day. Sheriff Jenkins doesn't need to go to Texas to find illegal immigrants, but do you see and deputies there?

DickD

Bluedawn, you could have left it at; "This is a disgusting column and you are a disgusting person."

MAVRICKinc7

Are YOU playing hall monitor again? Why shouldn't we allow BlueDawn to speak her mind instead of being reduced to a sound bite and scrited message? She obviously decided to get closer to the truth than you are willing to.

DickD

She did speak her mind, I am just helping her out and I don't care if you don't like it.

gary4books

By the way, one does not become an American by moving from Mexico to the USA. They are both in America. Popular usage indicates that the USA is the only America. But the map does not agree.

Rick Blatchford

Gary, This argument is one of semantics, and adds nothing meaningful. However you wish to twist it, "Mexicans" are not "Americans." They have never referred to themselves as such. Only the PC people try that one. [wink]

DickD

Well, they did own California and Texas, before we took it from them.

Dwasserba

When I started studying Spanish in 1989, we learned that South of the border we are called "Norteamericanos." I got the impression that Latinos aren't all that hung up on who lives where otherwise as far as the Americas go. We're the only ones referring to ourselves as "the" Americans. Amusing or offensive? We were advised to learn to identify ourselves as Northamericans. It was only two extra syllables and more geographically precise.

DickD

Yeah, I have to agree, that is more semantics than anything else. Mexicans call themselves Mexican, Canadians call themselves Canadian.

DickD

America is not a country, the United States of America is a country. Mexico is a country. Yes, both are in N. America.

Dwasserba

[thumbup]

gary4books

Progressives may line up to welcome our guest workers, but they are here because we need their work and those who hire them make sure they can get here. I have seen buses lined up in Laredo, Texas to haul them. If we did not make a profit off them, they would not be here. So we might as well be friendly.

How do you want to be treated when you go to other countries?

Be nice.

Rick Blatchford

Gary, When I go to other countries, I fully expect to be treated in a polite, welcoming manner. There is, however, a distinguishing fact that must not be ignored. When I go to other countries, I enter legally, they know I'm there, and they know when I leave, AND I say thank you when I leave. Quite a difference from those you choose to welcome who not only provide some contribution BUT are also a drain on economic resources. Take the blinders off![wink]

vicdavy

Rick, when you go to other countries do you speak their language? Probably not,because a large percentage of Europeans speak English!

Rick Blatchford

Hey vic. There you go again. No, I do not speak their language. I'm just there for a short stay. Now here's one for you. What does speaking any language have to do with entering a country illegally? I'm havin' a real problem with the connection. Ya got one????? [wink]

vicdavy

American are Linguistically Challenged. I guess Ignorant and Superior to other countries,Ya Think? 'American Except-Me-Ism" in action.

melbell75

This has absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigrants. Chuck Jenkins and you both should stick to the topic at hand.

vicdavy

It has everything to do with Xenophobia,melbell!

melbell75

Absolutely. http://fredericklocalyokel.com/2015/06/23/english-only-ordinance-wharblgarbl/

DickD

Rick there is one part I agree with, anyone entering our country illegally has no rights. They have no rights because they came here illegally. That does not mean all immigrants are here illegally and we should not be polite to them and help them with language difficulties.

Dwasserba

It would have been nice if our forebears hadn't had to sign legal documents and otherwise operate day to day within language constraints they didn't fully grasp. There were misunderstandings. Some of my family's history involves a lawsuit over a farm believed to have been owned that was abandoned in favor of starting over again. As if there hadn't already been enough adventure and challenge.
Why can't we just offer better than that and see it as progress.

DickD

Yes, the right wing, Tea Party members that are farming in Alabama and Georgia are complaining because they cannot get cheap labor.

fjulia

I really wish the FNP would gently send you away. Your opinions and beliefs were always prejudiced and offensive (when on BOCC and now). You are a throwback to the old and should leave gracefully. However, you will not because this is the only outlet you have now to voice your pandering and harmful statements. Just go away!

DickD

Let's face it, Chuck is a jerk!

hayduke2

[thumbup]

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