Common language a cornerstone by Karsten Rist

Karsten Rist, 7-11-1988, Miami Herald


To The Editor:
Sylvia Crespo-Tabak indicated in her July 2 letter that she is not in favor of the “official-English” amendment. Crespo-Tabak and I are citizens of the same country. For this reason it is important in principle that we be able to discuss matters that concern our common government or ballot questions on which we both may be voting.
Between us we have fluency in at least three languages. Should we use Spanish, which she might find convenient, or German, which would be convenient for me, or English, which both of us can handle? Our choice obviously should be English, particularly since this will also allow us to communicate with 240 million other Americans.
This does not restrict Crespo Tabak’s freedom and right to use whatever language she chooses with friends and family or to do business, or to listen to whatever radio station she prefers, or to bring up her children in whatever culture is important to her. The “official-English” amendment provides that Florida language be English – no more, no less.
When I came to the United States in 1957, I was impressed that in this country people who had come from all over the world were working and living together in relative harmony. In Europe, the very same kind of people had fought each other in war after war since the dawn of mankind. A common language is, no doubt, a cornerstone of this nation’s success. It is important that we keep it that way.
For these reasons, I signed the “Official English” petition – and I plan to vote for the amendment. Give me some good arguments, in English, for changing my mind.

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