A state lawmaker wants to establish English as the official language of Wisconsin.
Our identity as a nation is in trouble. So says Wisconsin Rapids Democrat Marlin Schneider. He says the necessity of a common language in a society goes back to the early biblical era when Babel was cursed by taking away its common language.
"The populous was thrown into confusion so that all social and economic interaction was paralyzed, and the society and the community seized to function. The culture was shattered by the elimination of the shared and familiar language.
While Schneider says it's important to celebrate the various cultures in our country, including preserving their languages, he points out that all the goals and objectives of new immigrants are dependent upon becoming conversant in the common language of the United States .
"This must be accomplished in order to secure decent employment, to function as a knowledgeable consumer, to obtain a public education, to converse with government officials, and to become active and involved members of their new community and responsible citizens."
While testifying at the Committee of Jobs and the Economy at the state capitol last week (Wednesday) Schneider cites the importance of being able to communicate with one another, especially in critical emergency situations. Schneider stresses, this is not an attack on immigrants or people of other cultures.
"Immigrants have added immeasurably to our culture, but we must be careful to make sure that we do not become our own tower of Babel in the name of political correctness."
The majority of other states have English as their official language, and bills are pending in a dozen more. Committee member Representative Barbara Toles believes this measure is not necessary, and says she has "a real problem with this bill."
Schneider says, "A common language is the glue that holds a culture together."