Response to my email from Representative Abercrombie. I have hidden my last name and my address.
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 6:53 AM
Subject: Reply from Congressman Neil Abercrombie
March 19, 2007
Mr. Ray (name withheld)
(address withheld) Street
(city withheld) Hawaii XXXXX-XXXX
Dear Mr. (name withheld):
Thank you for contacting me with your views that English should become the official language of the United States. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
For more than 200 years, the United States has existed without an official language. This legacy endures because English is without question the dominant language in this country. To declare English as the official language of government is unnecessary, encourages a narrow view of the world and discriminates against citizens whose primary language is not English.
Further, the more important goal of our public policy should be to provide educational services to facilitate learning English rather than punishing those who use their native languages. Contrary to the intent of the English-only legislation, I believe we should be doing more to encourage all citizens to learn a second and even a third language. Not only is it important for younger generations to have a connection with their heritage, it is imperative that the students of today, especially in Hawaii, learn another language to effectively compete in the global marketplace. Declaring English as our one and only language would send exactly the wrong message to those in our global workforce who maintain their fluency in other languages for both economic and cultural reasons.
Instead of discouraging the use of languages other than English, we should be promoting multi-lingual individuals as an economic necessity.
I do believe that every American should learn and be proficient in the English language. However, as a nation of immigrants with a strong tradition of embracing ethnic diversity, and out of respect for the variety of cultures and languages within our country, I do not believe that a congressionally mandated national language standard is necessary. We are bound together not by an official language, but by shared values of freedom, democracy, and tolerance. Among the diverse cultures and people who call the United States home, it is those shared values that unite us and make us strong.
Although, we don't necessarily see eye to eye on this matter, I do respect your views. Again, mahalo for contacting me about this issue. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me in the future if I can be of any further assistance.
Member of Congress
Mahalo again for contacting me. As your Representative in the United States Congress, it is a privilege and an honor to serve you.
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