Friday, August 26, 2005

I could add ten blogs a day to my list--average. Some days I could add 20. But there's a line between adding every blog I like and adding the blogs I REALLY like. Unfortunately, I have to stick with the latter.

Well, here's another one I REALLY like. The Gun Line.

In a recent post he mentions two things I've mulled over a lot. English as a second language and nuclear free zones.

The US is a huge melting pot. The best one in the world. I spent five years in Europe and liked the place and most of the people, but if you think Europeans are more accepting of other cultures and people than we are, I have some news for you. Josephine Baker notwithstanding, the Europeans could teach us a great deal about xenophobia.

Having said that, we have a tremendous number of people in this country who speak one variation or another of Spanish as their first language. That's ok, to a point. I'm going to get myself in huge trouble here, but I'm on a roll. It's ok, to a point. We have the richest culture of any nation on the planet exactly because so many people come here and bring their cultures and languages with them. Vast numbers of Spanish-speaking people live here and serve in the Armed Forces. I applaud them for that, but they tend to stick together and speak to each other exclusively in Spanish. First of all, it sets them apart from everyone--there's no assimilation, no sharing. It's them and everyone else.

Now, here's the big one. I remember years ago watching a documentary about an airliner that went down. One of the difficulties in investigating what went wrong was that in the last minutes the cockpit crew reverted to their native language--Afrikaans. The international language of all civil aircraft is English. It's not my fault, it's just the way it is. And I don't blame the crew one bit. If I was a pilot and the international language was whatever, I'd probably lapse into English at the very end. In fact, it probably wouldn't be printable.

Now imagine a tank crew. A round hits the tank. Blood, guts and feathers everywhere. At this critical moment, under unbelievable stress, is our hero going to communicate with his crew in English, or is he going to lapse into the language he uses the majority of the time?

Case in point, when I was in basic training, a woman froze on the grenade range. In her terror she utterly lost her capability to speak English. I happened to be there at the time and ended up accompanying a drill sergeant to work with her as I spoke Spanish. It came to a good end, obviously, but it would have been a whole lot easier if she was more immersed in English.

I'm not picking on Hispanics and definitely not suggesting that they abandon their culture upon entering the US. It's exactly the amalgum of so many culures that makes the US the great place that it is.

But I'm suggesting that English as a uniting language isn't such a bad idea.

As far as Nuclear Free Zones, sometimes they're funny, sometimes they're not. They're funny when people post signs declaring X location a "Nuclear Free Zone". Sort of like all of the schools that spread signs around their perimeters declaring the school to be a "Drug Free Zone". Yeah, that sign will keep them off of the property. You know how scary signs can be...

They're not funny when communities such as Takoma Park declare themselves to be a "nuclear free zone", and that includes participating in evacuations. Whether or not it's likely that DC will be subjected to a nuclear attack is beside the point. Takoma Park, which sits astride evacuation corridors from DC, has announced that should DC be evacuated, they can't evacuate through Takoma Park. Well, first, I'd like to see them stop it, should it ever occur. And second, what an incredible abdication of responsibility. You'd like to see you friends fried before you'd allow them to head for safety via your neighborhood? What a bunch of yo yo's.

The left is far, far more frightening than Cowboy George.

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