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 email@example.com.