24 October 2009

because as we all know, you have to speak the lingo

in my country, you speak English

Except we don't have those kind of laws. Right? Apparently we do. Or at least, in the fictional universe of some cops, we have very expansive requirements to speak (not even merely to read as some would have us do) in English. I think I shall have to speak in Russian if I get pulled over and see if the полиция can follow along.

Still though, when did we pass a federal law requiring commercial traffic to speak English? The supposed explanation I see from law enforcement is that they have to be able to read road signs and converse with police about basic things. It seems more or less like a method to either 1) tax Mexican/Hispanic immigrants extra by issuing fines for having accented speech or 2) continue our lazy American tradition of pretending to have a superior culture that doesn't require people who police it to be able to converse across a now common language barrier. As in: taking some basic Spanish classes in order to be a cop. Most of our signs are designed to be handled by even our illiterate moron citizens who we still issue licenses and there are rarely local driving requirements that so demand English-only conversational abilities as to navigate our streets. Seeing as the alphabet and especially the written numbers are similar, that the street signs mostly in English, and there are plenty of Spanglish words already in both English or Spanish, I'm not that worried that a trucker wouldn't be able to tell how to get around by obeying the traffic laws. Much less a local. Much less with GPS being widely available (and presumably more widely used by commercial drivers who have obvious market incentives to its purchase).

Of course, given that I'm still unimpressed by the Obama administration's decision to nix the pilot program that allowed for Mexican truckers to haul Mexican freight rather than imposing a tax on all of us that required the loads to be removed at the border and loaded onto trucks of American drivers for some reason, maybe I'm just un-American generally.
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