Here’s yer bill…Loving your neighbor by speaking English only…

Kay B. wants us to look at the bill making English the official language of Nashville, instead of just yak about it..

Here ’tis. The first part is, as she says, bringing us into compliance with an already existing state law (which basically makes this redundant, but never mind that). I’ve bolded the offensive part of the bill.


Section 1. Chapter 1.04 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is hereby amended by adding the following new section 1.04.070:

“1.04.070. English the official language of the metropolitan government.

A. English is hereby established as the official language of the metropolitan government.
B. All communications, publications, and telephone answering systems of metropolitan government boards, commissions, departments and agencies shall be in English only.”

It’s that ENGLISH ONLY part that offends. In today’s op-ed Guest Commentary, Councilman Crafton (sponsor of the bill) states that:

‘…people are not integrating into society by trying to speak English and..people are tired of trying to be helpful and accommodating, only to see their generosity buried under an avalanche of even more demands for services”

Where, exactly is this avalanche? Crafton states that the bill will be amended to exempt emergency and health services. I haven’t seen the amendments, but that is a good start. Why not just make English the official language, raise the flag and go from there?

Crafton is exactly right that people are at a disadvantage here if they don’t speak English. There are plenty of economic and other incentives to learn the language. Let’s help those folks learn the language. No one is requiring any privately owned business to provide advertising, brochures or customer service in anything other than English. I suspect that some business have figured out that they will make more money if they accomodate non-English speaking people, but that is their (business) choice.

One of the great beauties and wonders of the English language is that it is organic, co-optive and constantly evolving. One of the reasons I love Nashville is that it known for hospitality, along with the city’s evolution into an international community. Why create divisions and boundaries?

Crafton et al, can talk all they want to about how they are lending a helping hand, but let’s be honest…what problem are they really trying to solve? What is the real motivation for this bill? Did anyone in the Hispanic, Kurdish, or Laotian community call up the councilman and ask for this bill?


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