Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Prime Example of Obama Utopianism

I think this video, found via YouTube is a prime example of the dangers of Utopian socialism and how criticism ignores solutions. Obama does note that in an ideal or perfect world, all of our children, even those who are currently illiterate and non fluent in one language would instead be fluent in two.

Notice how reality where immigrants are not learning English is simply glossed over for the idealized state, and of course a joke or two. I live in Southern California and it isn't hard at all to go into an ethnic enclave where all the stores and their signs are in a foreign language. This is true most of all in Spanish because here you can purchase newspapers, magazines, listen to radio and watch a dozen channels all in Spanish. I have encountered and had my teaching contemporaries complain about parents over the years where the entire family has gone through that particular school and the mother still shuffles up to the office after a dozen years unable to converse at all in English.

I don't have to deny or resent those language outlets. However I do have to note that when you can go to the store, church, school, government offices, and listen to news, music and entertainment all in a native language of Spanish it is not a foregone conclusion that you will pick up English. Even if you do manage to pick up conversational English that is also still no guarantee that you will master it to the point that you can conduct business, become an informed voter, or be able to obtain higher education in that language.

This is the reality. Throughout the United States we have millions of students who are never designated fluent English proficient even if born and educated here. It is clear this is because while opportunities might be limited in a foreign language, they are not non-existent. Yet we can gloss over all of this, ignore the limited futures of such people, ignore the fact that it might tear at the common fabric and bonds that should help bind us together because Obama can make a joke about all of us being the ugly American trying to operate in Europe. He can point at the idealized state of bilingualism and ignore the present reality.

The reality is that given a preference for a language you already know and new language, most will choose the easiest path. You offer this repeatedly and soon they simply stay in their rut. How is it that we can note Americans when not forced to by circumstance remain monolingual and somehow this would be different for someone else?

These points, this reality, they will be ignored by the Utopians. When your eyes are fixed on the ideal state, reality doesn't matter.

Millions currently pay for such idiotic beliefs and will continue to do so in the future. Becoming bilingual is not a foregone conclusion just because someone has immigrated here and the government need not take steps to force someone to adopt English, but they also do not need to accommodate the lack of English as well.