I like Pat Buchanan because he is mean and smart and a real-deal conservative. But I think he would be a terrible president and would never vote for him. Today on MSNBC, I got a reminder of why.
Buchanan was bloviating on this story, which pits the forces of good (English speakers) against the forces of evil (Spanish speakers) over what languages beach rules should be printed in. That this should be news even in Merrimack is remarkable, but it is astounding that it became national news.
It happened, of course, because guys like Buchanan are willing to go on national TV to express outrage that any language other than English should be heard between the unpatriotically named Rio Grande and the Great Lakes. Judging from the comments, many Merrimack readers, no matter how slipshod their own grasp of English, feel the same way.
As someone who has spent a fair chunk of time struggling with unfamiliar languages (German, French, Spanish, even a semester of Old English), I think I have learned a couple of things:
1. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to make political statements. So if your goal is to have people understand what the beach rules are, you should print the signs in a language they understand. If you have some other goal in mind, then maybe you need to think about why you have signs in the first place.
2. Yes, English is the language of success in America, but even the most diligent students of English are going to struggle for a few years. They deserve a break.
3. In German, the beach is masculine, the sign is neuter and the sea is feminine. Do I have to make you a sign?
P.S. The German equivalent of "That's Greek to me" is "Das kommt mir Spanisch vor," or "That's Spanish to me."