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I never thought I'd say this, but I am grateful to the College Republicans at Boise State University. I would like to congratulate them for lifting the veneer of respectability off the state's immigration debate and exposing the bigotry, hatred, and ill will that motivates legislation like S1172, a bill that would make English Idaho's "official" language. Soon, I expect white will be named Idaho's official race, and blond-haired and blue-eyed our official phenotype. [Editor's note: S1172 passed the Idaho House of Representatives this afternoon, 46-20. Having passed the Senate previously, it will now go to Governor Butch Otter for signature.]

Boise State College Republicans Soil Their White Hats

I never thought I’d say this, but I am grateful to the College Republicans at Boise State University. I would like to congratulate them for lifting the veneer of respectability off the state’s immigration debate and exposing the bigotry, hatred, and ill will that motivates legislation like S1172, a bill that would make English Idaho’s “official” language. Soon, I expect that white will be named Idaho’s official race, and blond-haired and blue-eyed our official phenotype. [Editor’s note: S1172 passed the Idaho House of Representatives this afternoon, 46-20. Having passed the Senate previously, it will now go to Governor Butch Otter for signature.]

Think I’m over-stating the case? That I’ve fallen prey to crazed hyperbole? The BSU College Republicans are careful to state up front that they are not racist and that they don’t want to offend anyone. Really. And yet this announcement of a March 22nd speech by Robert Vasquez, one-time U. S. Senate candidate and Canyon County Commissioner, could have been written by the Ku Klux Klan. For Mr. Vasquez’s speech, entitled “America’s Illegal Alien Invasion,” the BSU College Republicans have created a bright and colorful advertisement that reads in part:

“Win a Dinner for two at Chapala’s Mexican Restaurant! Climb through the hole in the fence and enter your false ID documents into the food stamp drawing!”

Hateful? Racist? Ignorant, rude and offensive? Yes. Do the BSU College Republicans think that they’re being funny, that they’re a ragtag and bobtail group of latter-day Don Rickles? Probably. Unfortunately, the BSU College Republicans are about as funny as Michael Richards or Mel Gibson when he’s caught driving drunk.

As for Mr. Vasquez, the fact that he is himself of Mexican descent is no cover and no excuse. When Mr. Vasquez entered the 2004 race for the Idaho Senate, The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he made the announcement “at a Mexican restaurant that shares a building with the Idaho Migrant Council — one of his more vocal opponents. ‘My people — as I’m often accused of turning my back on them — my people are American. I’ve got an American flag hanging in my office, not the Mexican chicken-and-worm or whatever it is,’ Vasquez said in a swipe at the eagle-and-snake emblem on the Mexican flag.” Mr. Vasquez is not an enigma; he’s a disgrace. He seems to believe that his ancestry has provided him with a “Get Out of Jail Free” card when it comes to immigration. I hope that he’ll take a closer look at the company he’s chosen to keep. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

I don’t know how your family got here. Mine comprises a Euro-American hodgepodge. My mother’s family was founded by a remittance man from Scotland, a ne’er-do-well younger son who ran afoul of the law or put someone’s daughter in the pudding club and thus was paid by his family to emigrate to North Carolina with the promise that he’d never come back. This remittance man and his descendants displaced the Cherokee Indians; seized their land; took up tobacco farming; bought some African slaves to do all the work; and helped make the South what it is today — a land bedeviled by selective historical memory and shallow right-wing conservatism. Yee-haw!

My father’s family are first-generation immigrants. They came to the United States from Poland and the Ukraine by way of Canada. My grandparents’ first language was not English. Nor was their second. Altogether, they speak four languages, Ukrainian, Polish, French and, last but not least, English. When they moved to Detroit from Montreal, they were told by the United States’ immigration authorities to forget the first three languages and only teach their children English. And so they did. The result? A net loss of knowledge and culture for their children and grandchildren. Instead of being multilingual like his parents, my father speaks only English. I have spent a good deal of time and money trying to make up for this deficit by taking French, Russian, Spanish and a host of other languages in high school and college. What was simple and natural for my grandparents is an expensive accomplishment for me. What a shame, and what a waste.

The BSU College Republicans have done us the favor of telling us the truth about English as an “official” language and about the real nature of the current immigration debate. Once upon a time, George W. Bush spoke enthusiastically in favor of a guest worker program, and on February 16, 2001, he chose to make his first trip abroad as President a visit to Mexico for a one-day meeting then-President Vicente Fox. In the six years since, it is clear that Mr. Bush has been unable to reform the worst elements of his party. If this is how the youngest members of the GOP interpret compassionate conservatism, the future of the party is bleak. If you’re brown, if you’re poor, if your first language is not English, then you have no place in the Republican Party’s version of the United States.

About Joan Opyr

Though born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Joan Opyr has lived in Moscow, Idaho for the past twelve years. She recently came to the reluctant conclusion that, barring her writing an international bestseller or winning big on Powerball, she was here to stay. This revelation was something of a shock to her. Why would a die-hard Democrat want to live in what is perhaps the Reddest state in America? Because she's ornery, that's why. And that, Joan feels, is what makes her a true Idahoan, even if only by adoption.

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50 comments

  1. People speak of censorship as if it’s a good thing; deny someone’s voice rather than change the channel or turn the page. To deny someone their heritage is to tell them that their past, their history, their parents, grandparents, all their ancestors are insignificant, of lesser value than those passing that judgment. It saddens me to see such a beautiful State become a symbol of bigotry, hatred and viciousness.

    There is no need to pass a law to protect the language of Shakespeare. It needs no defense!

    English is a living language. It grows and changes with each generation, and in this cyber day and age, much quicker than that. To ignore, degrade or revile other languages and their input is an act of massive hubris. In Idaho now, I suppose, we may no longer use the word “ennui” but must settle for the less accurate “boredom”. And that’s exactly what will happen without change and growth and input. A language locked in a box will shrivel and die, along with the minds that trapped it there. The passage of this legislation takes us one more step toward the dead culture of ancient Rome, which also tolerated no outside influence.

    But at least Idaho, especially as voiced by Robert Vasquez, is honest in its narrow-mindedness and bigotry. I suppose that’s something.

  2. I had steam coming out my ears when I read this article. However, Joan brilliantly, succinctly, and economically expressed
    the response I had from the “English-only” story and the ugly comments by Robert Vasquez. And she wrote it much more effectively than I could have. Idaho politics and bigotry are sickening and embarrassing for me. Why do I live here? Because I know so many Idahoans whose views are completely opposite of those trumpeted by the BSU Republicans. What a shame that they have no positions of power and influence.

  3. Mari SanGiovanni

    Joan is not over-reacting here. This is merely the beginning: Give bigots an inch, and they burn a cross in a yard.

    (Feel free to throw that quote around, I wrote it myself in my OFFICIAL language.)

    Mari SanGiovanni

  4. Circle is to ball as square is to an arborvitae. Makes no sense.
    English as an official language = racism. Again, no sense.
    Your responses are simply political correctness that has run amok.

    This is a stretch of a magnitude not frequently seen by reasonable people. Peoples of all ethnicities speak English in the US. Peoples of all races, creeds, sexual orientations, and religions speak English. People are not harmed by their use of the English language in this country. We are long since past the era where any foreign language is forbidden in society. There is no Gestapo watching to see if you make a mistake which will cause you to disappear forever. Speak Spanish at home. Speak Chinese in the grocery store. Speak Thai at the park. Speak Tagalog at the ball game. Speak Swahili in the street. Who cares? No one. Not me. Not the government.

    Reducing paperwork and signage in a public place to a single language (coincidentally spoken by 95+% of the population) reduces duplicate personnel, duplicate paperwork, reduces the cost of government and therefore reduces the taxpayer burden. That’s the point of this bill. Simple. Reduce taxes.

    At what point does the normal and supported usage of the English language cause one to be racist? There is no connection between the use of a language and the discrimination of a people, and anyone who attempts to find anything different is toiling in false pretenses. I am at a loss how so many people can flail political correctness to this magnitude and expect it to be absorbed by any sane person with a sense of reasonableness or common sense.

  5. I have to disagree with the official race choice. It should be a NASCAR Nextel Cup event, and call it the Spud Sacker 500. They could sound the start of the race with a potatoe cannon.

    The ad was very offensive and those young repubs should spend a little time with those folks in the fields and see what they go through. Having an official language to some people is about standards and communication like driving on the right or left hand side of the road. A lot of confusion is created without such standards.

  6. Micah Cranney tells us that establishing English as the “official” language of Idaho is purely a cost-saving measure which couldn’t possibly exclude, marginalize, or offend anyone. Not racist, because there’s no connection between choosing an official language and discrimination. It’s purely a cost-saving measure.

    If we want to save money, why not end some of the lavish benefits enjoyed by agriculture in the state? Maybe hire some auditors to collect the millions of unpaid tax dollars currently written off each year? I can’t imagine what percentage of my tax dollars goes to bilingual signage–but I’d gladly double or triple it, without fear that my taxes would spiral out of control. Maybe we could cut legislators’ benefits instead?

    The only reason to make English the official language is to give English-speakers some measure of superiority over non-English speakers, and to make clear that although Idaho is pleased to exploit immigrant labor (both documented and undocumented), we certainly don’t want immigrants to feel welcome or included in our state.

    The College Republicans have been suckered by the National Republican Party, which funds and plans these little displays of xenophobia as a distraction from the mounting death toll in Iraq, the imminent invasion of Iran, and the gag-inducing odor of corruption rising from the Presidency. The handful of teen-agers who make up the BSU CRs are being pimped by cynical adults who don’t care happens to the students, the campus, or the state, as long as the press isn’t looking at the man behind the curtain. I’m sorry for them, because they’ll be left behind trying to explain why they aren’t racist, why they have a right to act irresponsibly and hurtfully, why they don’t have to be good citizens–and then, when their marginalization is complete, the Party won’t be there to salvage their degrees, their careers, or their futures. They’ll just be more collateral damage in the conservative march to the sea.

  7. Dear Mr. Vasquez,

    I would personally like to thank you for a reason to support my “American-ness”. I too was cursed and born brown. But my saviors were the American’s who adopted me. Fortunately for me, they listened to the conservative military advise; to mainstream me into the American culture as soon as possible; change my name, treat me like I was Caucasian and give me little contact with my brown culture to avoid cultural confusion later on. This last suggestion was very important. The only recollection of my culture growing up was half a coconut, a little log house on stilts and a wooden water buffalo, all kept secret and out of sight in our china cabinet. But wait, buffalo’s? Log Homes? Is this not like our wonderful American wild west? Coconut husk can be akin to corn husk can it not? Perhaps there is a reason in life to hold my head proud and stand tall after all.

    They say Eagle we say Smeagol don’t we Mr. Vasquez? Why let our browness get in the way of being Americans, a country founded on the fundimental principles of colonization in the name of freedom of religion and speech? A country where we are smart enough to be able to google how to screw in a light bulb. We are progressive; not changing the color of our skins, but the color of our thinking! Brillant! No one will see that coming.

    I wish you the best Mr. Vasquez in your future American endeavors. May you proudly carry your browness like a scarlet letter for all to see. As for me and my perfect English? I can only aspire to become the best American I know how to be, fading into the fabric of this fine country. But first, as an Asian woman? I have to wash it. I think I will be busy for a long long time.

    With Regards,
    Your Fellow Brown Countrywoman

  8. Greetings, all–

    Part of the issue here is not so much “English Only” as it is the people at whom the legislation is directed. The College Republicans didn’t run an ad in which they lampooned Asian peoples. “Leave the rice paddy and follow your massive extended family to Podunk Heights where you can open up your own Chinese buffet restaurant and keep renewing your green card!” Nor did the ad lampoon Eastern Europeans. “Come on, Slovaks! Bring your babushkas to the Promised Land and open up that laundry/deli!” It seems that a specific group of people–namely, Spanish speakers–are the targets of this legislation.

    My great-grandparents immigrated from Poland. My great-grandmother never learned to speak English because she was from the Old Country, as my mom calls it, from a place where Eastern European Catholicism and hardscrabble androcentric peasantry dictated that women had little say in the household, no matter where in the world that household moved. My great-grandfather disallowed his wife to learn to speak English. And if she tried and he found out, she paid a price, usually administered with his fists. My mom, therefore, grew up speaking both Polish and English so that she could help with her grandmother’s insulin shots. And that proved immensely helpful in the largely Polish neighborhood of South Chicago, where she grew up. Many people there were, at the very least, bilingual, which helped the next immigrants so they could begin working on their dreams.

    So yes, English is important when you’re in an English-speaking country. But so, too, is the language of your birth and the heritage it encompasses because you want to pass traditions–religious, cultural, social–to your children. Most non-English speaking people who come to this country realize that it’s important to learn at least some of the language, especially if they intend to stay. I mean, I doubt Robert Vasquez would move to, say, Brazil and attempt to negotiate a better life for himself without learning at least SOME Portuguese. I certainly wouldn’t presume that I’d up and run away to live in Italy and refuse to learn Italian.

    The issue here is more than language. It’s economics, foreign and domestic policies, clashing cultures, and perceptions about available resources. What many people forget is that this country–including the vast expanse we call the American West–has always harbored non-English-speaking people. It’s no accident that places like San Francisco, for example, have a Chinatown. Or that part of the Colorado mountain town in which I grew up sports Greek and Italian neighborhoods, in which the older people spoke (and still speak) primarily the langauges of their home countries, with little English therein. Men who spoke Portuguese and Russian worked mines in Utah and Arizona. And most of the American West belonged to Mexico until 1846, making us half a nation of primarily Spanish speakers. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo drew arbitrary lines on a map in 1848, but it was people and politicians who attempted to enforce rules and borders based on claims of “difference” and “superiority.” This is historical rhetoric, drawing distinctions between “us” and “them,” between English-speaking and non-English-speaking. It’s not an easy issue. Nor is it an issue with an either-or answer, which is what Mr. Vasquez seems to expect that we will adopt. It’s not an issue that will be solved with racist stereotypes in ads or with name-calling and xenophobic, accusatory speech designed to shut down debate.

    Will “English Only” legislation cause non-English-speaking people to stop coming to this country? Probably not. Will a magic forcefield suddenly grace the Rio Grande, a barrier to passage from Mexico? No. Will all the non-English-speaking people in communities across the West suddenly disappear in the wake of this legislation? Doubtful. So what, then, will the legislation accomplish?

    Maybe a bit of money saved in the long run, no longer including instructions on official documents in languages other than English shortens that document and therefore, perhaps you save some money on toner. What else does it accomplish?

    It ensures that people who come here from other countries will have a hell of a hard time trying to negotiate the system, which will in turn put greater burdens on government institutions and things like hospitals and schools. So though proponents of such legislation might say that it’s a cost-saving measure, what could end up happening is that it actually proves more expensive in the long run because you ensure that people are locked out of the system and then become “burdens” in other ways. Homeless, for example, getting healthcare at local emergency rooms, which further strains funds. In other words, if proponents of “English only” legislation aren’t trying to somehow exclude non-English-speaking people from their communities, it behooves them, perhaps, to include in this legislation a system in place to provide teachers and classes at low costs to make sure that non-English-speakers can learn the language and thus begin to build new, more productive lives for themselves and their children and not become alienated from the community, which can lead to other issues.

    There’s a lot of baggage in this country with regard to forcing people to speak a langauge that isn’t their own to the exclusion of their native tongues. We’ve lost a lot of opportunities to build bridges between groups of people by forcing ideas about what is “right” and what is “good” and what is “American” on them. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad idea for people who come here to try to speak English and to work on learning the language. Nor do I think that one needs to give up one’s first language to do it in order to “assimilate.” I think you can speak two or more languages, including English, in this country and do just fine. I think you can meld your culture of origin with the vast panoply of what makes us “American” quite well together. So might it make more sense, perhaps, to help people with the language or to provide them a means to fully participate in their communities?

    At any rate, I sometimes wonder if my great-grandmother could have had a different kind of life if she learned more English. Maybe. Maybe not. There were other factors in her life that I don’t fully understand. What I do know is that most of the people in my mom’s world when she was growing up were at least bilingual, who used the languages of their birth to help newcomers get settled, and who used English to build inroads into the urban and rural settings around them, passing along English to the newer waves of immigrants, but not necessarily giving up the languages into which they were born, though many did give up those languages, and quite a few were forced to do so.

    So did it work? Telling all those people that they’d better learn English or else? Take a look around. Probably not. How effective, then, is legislation like this? With what it wants to accomplish, maybe not very. With sowing seeds that might grow into larger weeds and problems later…well, the last 150 years might provide greater insight into how effective exclusion laws really are.

    Regardless, I hope that the good people of Idaho remember their own distant roots, and how hard it can be to find welcome on the many roads of life. Perhaps offering a hand rather than a fist might go further in creating better solutions and better dialogues– en muchos lenguas, mis amigos y amigas. Todos tienen parte en esta país…¡Todos a la vez!

  9. I’m from Alabama, and lots of people think we need to learn English before we make it official in any way. On this fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, does it feel like we suffering from an invasion ourselves? I think some may have missed the point. How much money will be saved when those pesky multilinqual street signs come down? Whatever the amount, start multiplying it, and you’ll soon arrive at a figure of astounding porportions, which will equal the current total spent on the war in Iraq.

    What does one thing have to do with the other? Nothing, except both were promulgated by the Bush administration, and since we’re not talking logic, I can draw that parallel if I want.

    I wasn’t aware that the state of Idaho is going broke broadcasting its traffic directives and government missives in several languages. Leave it to those crafty Republicans to come up with such a simple cost-saving measure.

    While we’re mentioning background, a thing of profound importance in the South, my family is Irish, English, Scottish, and native American; sorry I can’t be more specific as to a particular tribe, but they are no longer in existence, their language long disappeared, as they were “assimilated” in the most efficient way possible: we killed all of them. So I may be part Creek, or part Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw; as a child, in my Alabama History book, I learned that those were the four major tribes once found in Alabama, until Andrew Jackson wiped them out, rounded them up, and headed them out along the Trail of Tears.

    What does that have to do with making English the official language in Idaho? About as much as the Potato Famine. Some people think the language of the King James version of the Bible must be preserved; so be it.

    In some higher disciplines, a proficiency in a foreign language is required, thus, I did not pursue a master’s in history because I could not read French, German, Latin, or any other language in which much of our past is written and preserved. In any case, I’d already read enough white man’s history that it took a long time to settle my stomach. Living through some of it is pretty difficult sometimes too.

  10. I was in the House of Representatives yesterday when the debate over the bill took place. The cost-savings were mentioned by only one legislator, in passing. Stories were told by many legislators of their heritage and the languages of their parents, since many in the House are in their late 60s. None of this had any effect – it wasn’t about that, or the cost savings.

    Boise Democrat Les Bock said that it was simply “a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” to many Idahoans. He told the parable of the Good Samaritan and talked about lifting people up, not pushing them down. He was admonished by the Speaker, Lawerence Denney, to “speak to the bill.”

  11. Also check out Red State Rebels’ Julie Fanselow’s story at http://tinyurl.com/27romz

  12. How long before the tech companies decide that this bigotry and xenophobia in Boise is too much? Albertsons, Micron, HP and a few others all hire for diversity. India, Asia Major, Asia Minor, South and Central America, all brought together to work together and learn from each other at these sites. How long before these big companies just pull out? How long before the intelligent liberals leave Idaho for greener fields of multicultural experience? How much in tax revenue will that cost the state in the long run?

    I weep at the destruction that the hard right is creating in Idaho. I feel sorry for the new hate that is being raised by extremists and at the same time I worry for my children, raised in a state where education is limited to English culture and an area of the US where technology and multiculturalism is feared.

    Many people make fun of the South, as if they are the most backwards of cultures. How long can we silence the voices that say Idaho is just as bad?

  13. Keely Emerine Mix

    Thanks, Joan, for calling the BSU Young Republicans exactly what they are: ignorant, race-baiting hatemongers. There is nothing at all funny about this story, but a point of irony is that a majority of young conservatives come by their politics via the Religious Right, believing that the GOP is the defender of “traditional values” that made America great. I would imagine the rate of regular Christian church attendance of young GOP’ers is fairly high, certainly higher than average among college students. Is this what American Christianity has come to — permitting if not promoting an ignorant and harsh nativism that allows the “haves” to feed off the labor of the “have nots” while reading the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and Paul’s stern warnings against disregarding the poor in their bonded leather NIV Student Bibles? May their devotion to “traditional values” perish in flames, that their commitment to the One who champions the plight of the poor would be refined. Until then, “shame” is not a strong enough word.

  14. Let’s focus on Leely’s statement, “ignorant, race-baiting hatemongers.”

    Do people remember the racist cartoons of Secretary of State Rice?

    Did anyone else see this LAT article: ‘But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”‘

    Does anyone remember Hillary Clinton’s Ghandi comment regarding gas station attendants….

    My point being is that the list is long for the left. Racism is not a political ideological reference point. Is is a failing of the soul and a revelation of self-interest.

  15. Canyon County Expat

    I thought I got away from all this stuff when I left Canyon County for the great liberal stretches of east Boise. Not so fast, they’ve invaded BSU. What with English Only in the Canyon County Courthouse (watch for mass chaos as soon as this kicks in, no one will know where to go) and the BSU Young Republicans, it’s enough to make a person resign their Proper Republican Credentials. Guess I’ll keep them so that I will know what they’re up to next. I can hardly wait.

  16. Since Mexican and American are terms that apply to WHERE people are born they are, strictly speaking not terms of race. I think the “offense” is more against ethnic or cultural differences; and, yes, it is offensive on so many levels that it is impossible to focus on just one of those areas. Except that this activity in the name of some in the “Party of Lincoln” would most surely have set Abe’s teeth on edge. For students who are supposedly positioned to question and to apply critical thinking skills to issue such an ill thought out public statement has to indicate a failure to learn on their part. Shame on them.

  17. There is not a single person who has to agree with what the BSU Republicans think or wrote or talk about. Why you ask?

    It’s due to that pesky freedom of speech you liberals like to use so much. Unless of course, it is the freedom to bear arms or some other freedom you don’t agree with, then its racism, bigotry, ignorance, partisan and so on.

    It is okay to abort children and kill human life for the sake of science, but don’t be seen disciplining your children or pets or talk about gun rights, because the liberals will come out of the woodwork for that. You can burn flags, crosses and practice satanic rituals wherever you want, but don’t erect a nativity scene or the ACLU will come to lock you up.

    Our founding fathers were extremist Christians. They wrote the declaration of independence in English and signed it in English. American Government was formed using the English language. It is our official language and it should be forever! Speak whatever language you want, but know English! That is all this is about!!! No, I will not pay for interpreters for you out of my hard-earned tax dollars. I do not expect other countries that I visit to do this for me. I prepare and plan accordingly. You should do the same and make responsible decisions. If you need help, I will help you. However, I will not take care of you because you don’t feel like taking care of yourself!

    Guess what? I find it offensive that human beings think its okay to abort children. I find it offensive that a FATHER cannot have his child if the woman does not want it, but if a GUY doesn’t want it and the woman does, he still has to pay for it and support it. I find it offensive that human beings think stem-cell research is no problem. I find it offensive that elected officials (mostly liberal) grant illegal aliens the right to collect social security and other benefits they never paid one dime in taxes for. I find it offensive that human beings (mostly liberals) want to remove God from everything, but then pray when they’re in a life or death situation.

    Lastly, I find it offensive that gays and lesbians push Pro-Gay and Pro-Lesbian propaganda at everyone and tell them that if they don’t accept it and the behavior that goes along with it, then they’re ignorant or just not with the times.

    All human beings are children of God, whether you choose to believe that or not. God gave us all free will to make our own choices and decisions. He will judge everyone, so I don’t need to.

    Joan Opyr – Just because something upsets you, doesn’t mean it is wrong!

  18. Thanks Thomas. That gave me quite a chuckle. I think you and the BSU Republicans are perfect spokesmen for the cause. There is probably a job for you at Fox News. And thanks for the education. I did not know but often suspected that Unitarians were extremists. I’m looking at my copy of the Declaration of Independence, why did those freaks substitute an f for an s in all those words? It says something about holding certain truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. They must have meant only white English speaking citizens of the USA.

  19. And for goodness sake, don’t tell Thomas Theisen that Jefferson was an early Unitarian and Humanist. He will have to renounce his citizenship or something.

  20. Sisyphus – I never said I agreed with the BSU Republicans and their statement. That was an assumption. Speak whatever language you want, but know English!!! It is as simple as that.

    All men are created equal, as we are all children of God.

    But, you should sneak into Mexico as an illegal immigrant, ask to speak to their government and express to them that they should adopt your language and principles into their country. See where THAT gets you!

    Were our founding fathers extremists? Let’s see, they told England to go pound sand and sailed across the ocean to an unkown land. They fought wars over it. There were revolts over a beverage tax on tea and so on. Some people might see these things as a little extreme, but I could be wrong. Give me liberty or give me death—not a little extreme at all.

    I know it bothers you that there is one conservative station still left on the air (Fox News), but you have three liberal ones (ABC, CBS and NBC), so what is the problem?

    Steve – Why didn’t you list any of the other founding fathers? Could it be because most of them did believe in God?

    Look at all of the facts, don’t just pick and choose what suits your point.

  21. Personally, I say we give him death.

  22. Now that I think about it, I think they did.

    Irwin that comment works on so many different levels I’d write more but I can’t stop laughing.

  23. Actually, Thomas, most of the founding fathers were Deists. That is, neither Christian or any other denomination. They believed in a Creator, but they gave that Creator very little information.

    You probably have a subscription to Bryan Fischers lie-fest, don’t you? Where he claimed that Thomas Jefferson signed into effect the Christian clause in the Pennsylvania State Constitution? Well, it’s a lie.

    As for who else were prominant Deists? Paine and Ethan Allen were two others and many others held beliefs in the general direction of the Deists.

    Separation of church and state, my man. If you don’t understand that amount of weight that 200 years of Supreme Court decisions have put towards secularisation, then you just don’t get it.

    And I can tell you’ve never travelled overseas. I’ve been to so many countries that don’t speak English as a first language, and yet they have all supplied translators and information in English. Signs throughout airports, customs and major businesses have an English translation with them. Of course, living in the tiny little world you live in, you wouldn’t understand that.

    As well, no being familiar with all the forms of racism around the world as well as here in the US, you can’t see the bigotry, xenophobia and racism inherent in what happened at BSU or with the English Only declaration. Your shallow experiences have left no room for new information or compassion. I’m sorry for you. Maybe you can still grow, but you need to get the 200lb chip off your shoulder first.

  24. This will be my last comment.

    Jay – I do not agree with what the flyer said. There, I said it.

    I just think it is amazing that a comment like that offends you, but killing an innocent life in a mother’s womb doesn’t, as I’m fairly certain you are pro-choice.

    As for our country, I think we are a melting pot. We are a blend of almost every culture in the world. No-one is saying that people cannot study their culture (BET, Black History Month, etc.) or practice their culture or speak their language. I have no problem with that.

    Last time I checked, anytime I make a call to a customer service line I have to press 1 for English and that doesn’t bother me. I also read instructions that come packaged in merchandise and they usually have multiple languages listed. I am not opposed to creating that type of environment. However, I feel that our country’s primary language is English and people should know how to communicate in that language.

    You should work in retail where Spanish speaking people come in with their children to buy merchandise, because they can’t speak English. You have to try to explain things to an eight year old child who then has to translate it to their parents and hope it is done so effectively so that they understand all of the terms and conditions.

    You should visit a department on a campus fairly close where the entire department is female (most of these women are admitted lesbians) and if a man applies the application is thrown in the garbage. I am not employed by this university, but I work with them and know that it happens and have heard comments to support it.

    You should visit some bank branches in Utah. One in particular, a friend of ours who is Christian is outcast, because most of the bank employees are Mormon. They stop by her house several times a week to try and convince her and her husband to convert.

    All of you keep mentioning Thomas Jefferson and that he was a Unitarian and Humanist. He called the Indians savages and worked diligently to exterminate them completely off the face of the earth. Do a little research on the subject.

    My sister is in the military. She has lived in the United States, Japan, Korea and currently lives in Germany. I have yet to travel overseas, but she has and we have talked about a variety of different cultures and how they handle language barriers.

    All the things you talk about also happen to white Americans whose ancestors are from Europe and various other places. You can talk about separation of church and state all you want, but our money still has “In God We Trust” stamped on it. Is that a coincidence?

    But, I want to make you happy, so I will say what you want to hear:
    The Irish were oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them
    The Chinese were/are oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them
    The Indians were/are oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them
    The Hispanics were/are oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them (forget the fact that some broke the laws that govern this country when they entered illegally)
    Women were/are oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them
    Blacks were/are oppressed, so give them money and create special privileges for them

    And by giving them money and creating special privileges for them, you are not creating within them low personal expectations, hurting them or enabling dependency while practicing hypocrisy at all.

    Unionize – Everyone is the same. No-one works harder than anyone else, so pay them all equally.
    Universal Health Care – Everyone eats and exercises the same and takes care of themselves the same, so everyone should pay the same

    40% taxes across the board. You are too stupid to take care of yourself, so the government will take care of you and your children.

    Cups that are filled with HOT coffee need labels, “This is hot, don’t burn your mouth.”

    Garbage bags need little warnings that state, “Do not put this over your head.”

    Do not question a suspicious person that is trying to get on a plane, because that is racial profiling.

    That is what this country needs!

    “There is no greater unequal, then the equal treatment of unequal.” I use this quote as a reference to talents, abilities and effort, not in reference to age, sex, religion or nationality as I’m sure you would’ve assumed!

  25. Thomas, as I said before and as I’ll conclude this discussion: You just don’t get it. You don’t understand liberalism, you don’t understand the concept of “a fair go”. You don’t see racism because you don’t have the empathy to help understand how others feel, what their needs are.

    And as for your attempt to slap me in the face with abortion in a discussion that has nothing to do with it? Shame on you for creating a worthless strawman to deflect from your inability to have a full on discussion when you are on the defensive.

    Does is bother you that a majority of posters here believe that Vasquez and the BSU College Republicans committed a racist act? Are you surprised that liberals in this town are trying to defend BSU and it’s secular/homogenious students from a reputation that is doesn’t deserve?

    You’re a hardcore republican, standing up for your beliefs that America is a white, christian, English speaking country and everyone else better just get that right, then you can all get along with one another. Unfortunately, thats not true and hopefully it never will be.

  26. LOL. Twenty years of Rush Limbaugh summed up in a couple paragraphs. I think there is plenty of racial profiling right there Thomas. Funny how you assert your international experience in your first comment and admit to the lack of it in the last comment. I’d say it was you that needs to bone up on your education and experience. But again you make a fine example of what Joan refers to as the worst elements of the party. Joan, he’s baiting you.

    Thomas, in all seriousness the implementing of English only standards quite clearly ensconces intolerance in our public policy. Ridiculing of a culture, language, race or nationality by a political party sends a xenophobic and intolerant message and furthers the shame this country has experienced in the last six years. As a country of immigrants it imbues this shame with a woeful sense of irony and dishonors the memory of our immigant forebears who didn’t need a law to tell them they had to learn English.

  27. I’m sorry, this will be my last comment.

    Jay – You pass judgment, but you know nothing about me.

    My father was an alcoholic who used to beat my mom and molest my sisters. As the youngest child, I got to watch it happen. I tried to stop it once as a smaller child and got picked up by neck and thrown across the room. Images still haunt me to this day.

    He developed quite a reputation during his youth and throughout his life. Guess what? We grew up in a smaller town and I have the same name, so guess what happened to me when teachers saw Thomas Theisen on their student list.

    I know what it is like to be judged and to go through hard times. But, I refuse to use it as an excuse or expect special treatment because of it.

    If you let people stand up on their own two feet and do it on their own, then you give them the greatest gift in the world. That gift is a sense of accomplishment and self worth.

    Hispanics are smart people, they don’t need your help! Certainly, they are not naive enough to label the entire University because of one flyer.

    Give them a little credit and GET OVER IT!!!

    You have no concept of “a fair go.” Providing special privileges to certain groups of people and not others is not fair. In fact, it is what minorities fought over for years. But, do you think they are going to complain about receiving such benefits?

    Do we have a level playing field in this country? Minorities have awards shows, television stations, college assistance programs and the list goes on and on.

    The average white person does not have a college fund that requires your skin to be white in order to be eligible.

    So, overall, I think the playing field is pretty fair today.

    Finally, if you want peace and equality, then stop segregating everyone. America is a melting pot and we are all Americans with ancestors and cultures and so forth.

    If you legally live in this country, you are an American. You are not a Mexican-American, African-American, German-American, English-American and so on. That is segregation and separation. Be an American! Know where you’ve been, know what you’re doing and know where you’re going.

    People don’t need your pity and your sympathy, they just need opportunity. That is why people continue to migrate to this great country!!!

  28. Real quick.

    Sisyphus – I never said I have international experience.

    I said that I do not expect other countries to do this for me. I prepare and plan accordingly.

    I am planning a trip to Germany to visit my sister and I have been studying German. Preparing and Planning as I do not expect Germany to adapt to my language barrier while I am there.

    Pretty simple!

  29. I repost a comment I made several weeks ago here and at RSR:

    What’s the difference between and ignorant conservative and an ignorant liberal? The liberal is embarrassed by it.

  30. No worries there Thomas. In my experience over there I found that most Germans speak English. But by all means give it a whirl it should enrich your experience. And congratulations on broadening your horizons. I had two years of college German before I went and I had German high school students politely request that I stop butchering their language and speak English. Get off the military base as often as you can, they are little Americas. And speking of broadening your horizons, please engage as many Germans or other foreign nationals as you can on what they think of President Bush. Before they string you up ask them about Clinton or Kennedy. It might earn you a reprieve.

    You know Craig you can’t credibly disavow the dichotomy in the same breath you engage in it. Your credibility is further weakened by your citation to right wing disinformation organizations. Then to top it off you engage in the falacious argument that if one liberal supports man boy love all liberals support man boy love. I know the point you’re trying to make but in so doing you miss Irwin’s point at the same time you exemplify it.

  31. Sisyphus – Thanks for the input. I appreciate the positive dialogue.

    I must say however, that I disagree with your assessment. Craig said that very unashamed liberals (he did not say all) march.

    Also, he stated that life isn’t simple enough to separate into two groups and assume you are on the higher ground.

    Furthermore, I think you can accept the fact that you view the things we watch and read as right-wing dis-information. At the same time, you watch and read things that we may or may not view as left-wing dis-information. Be fair.

    We are coming from two different sides of the fence. That is good. However, do not assume that what you read is undeniable fact and what we read is dis-information.

    You may feel that way because you do not agree with it, not because it is not true. The article he copied is right on. If you disagree, go to the NAMBLA website and see for yourself. It is terrible.

    This is great debate, but try to stay a little more positive like you have in your last comment and avoid the name calling. It doesn’t serve a purpose as we hardly know one another.

    After all, we started this whole thing due to the fact that you thought certain comments made by the BSU Republicans were racist and offensive and you wanted to stop that. Isn’t name calling just as hurtful and along the same lines?

    Thanks!

  32. Who said anything about stopping their speech? What liberals are doing are trying to make sure that people understand the true intentions of the BSU College Republicans. Stopping their speech is a long ways away from what is happening. You may like to play the victim all the time, Thomas, but it’s not happening here. The liberals are only speaking their minds, making it known that such commentary is extremely divisive and something for which the authors should apologize for. No one has censored anything, yet. Divisive speech, however, can call for drastic measures by people such as the BSU Dean or other people in authoritarian functions, and thats nothing anyone wants. Draconian rules are never useful in a situation that calls for a more reasoned response.

    As well, NAMBLA has every right to free speech. It doesn’t have a right to harm others, however. It’s members are not liberal nor conservative and both sides have come out strongly against child abuse, sexual or otherwise. What you want, however, are draconian rules against someone that has written things you disagree with, and thats where the line needs to be drawn. It has long been determined that they are only using their first amendment rights. But please stop trying to create straw men out of groups you don’t like, it’s not adding to this argument in the least.

  33. Unable to read much, Thomas?

    And stop with the strawmen, already. Both abortion and NAMBLA are straw men in this conversation, adding little but deflecting from the original debate.

    What crime has NAMBLA committed? If you know of one, report it, please. Unfortunately, they have the right to free speech as much as you do or the BSU College Republicans.

    As for what I said: “Divisive speech, however, can call for drastic measures by people such as the BSU Dean or other people in authoritarian functions, and thats nothing anyone wants. Draconian rules are never useful in a situation that calls for a more reasoned response.”

    Is that not clear enough? I’m not asking for censorship, but given the situation less rational minds may come to the conclusion that that is what it is going to take. Already all fliers have to go through the Dean, and that to me isn’t freedom of speech. I don’t want the College Republicans to not be able to print things, but they better be aware that they are going to catch major amounts of flak and have a large membership drop when things like this happen.

    Your cries of “my father beat me” do nothing for this conversation as well. It’s demanding that people feel sorry for you, your persecution, your trials. Your debate skills make you appear weak, actually. I’m just asking that you stick to the topics and quit asking why Wookies lived on Endor.

  34. Jay, you wrote, “I’m just asking that you stick to the topics and quit asking why Wookies lived on Endor.” I think the answer to the question and the departure from the topic is exemplified with this statement that you failed to address, “What’s the difference between an ignorant conservative and an ignorant liberal? The liberal is embarrassed by it.”

  35. Why would I justify such a simplistic view by addressing it? Its meaningless and very indeterministic. Emotions such as shame don’t necessarily come from empathy. Empathy, in this case, is needed to determine the level of “racism” displayed by the BSU College Republicans. Empathy towards those that were disparaged as well as empathy towards those that don’t see it as racist, such as the Republicans that so swiftly ran to the defense of the College Republicans. The dehumanizing language that the College Republicans used were indications of the level of bigotry, racism and intolerance that is an unfortunate part of the Republican party. From Tom Tancredo to Bill Sali to Dubya, they appear to lack the empathy to understand the plight of the Mexican immigrants, illegal or not.

    As an example, Bryan Fischer recently talked about some English speaking children that were “kicked off the bus” to make room for non-English speaking immigrants (he didn’t couch it in terms of “immigrant” however). After doing a small amount of research it was readily apparent that there was only a mistake in informing their parents that the normal bus would have to switch to taking the non-English speaking students to a special school set up for refugees where they were taking English classes. It wasn’t an attack on the English speaking students, as Bryan had tried to spin the story, but just a mix up in informing the parents of the change.

    Why the need to lie about it? Or is it just laziness and a willingness to want to be a martyr? The same here, where it’s apparent that the charges of racism are pretty well founded, yet there are so many that want to spin it away from that. The simplest solution to this whole mess would have been an honest and heartfelt apology by the BSU College Republicans. The whole thing would have blown over by now. Instead, they continue to stick by their words and are dragging out the worst in our society to defend them.

  36. Jay – who are you?

    I don’t like to speak about my past. It is nobody’s business and it only made me stronger. I mentioned it only because I was accused of not knowing anything about struggles and that I can’t empathize with people because I live in my own little world.

    My point was that I don’t use it as an excuse to fail. I don’t use it as a crutch, which you obviously missed. I don’t make excuses. Everything I do is based on my own free will to think and act. In fact, I can’t stand it when people blame their behavior on past experiences. We all make decisions and choices every day. How have you not gotten that? Are you inept?

    Furthermore, I can talk about whatever I want. You do not control what topics are involved in this conversation.

    You forget yourself, feeling sorry/crusading for everyone, creating low expectations and sugar-coating the world is your job.

    No-one needs to feel sorry for me. I feel great! And, I’ll compare W2’s with you anytime you want, pal!!!

    Lastly, I’m rubber, your glue you liar liar pants on fire.

  37. Jay the reason to address that statement would have been in the same perspective that you attacked Thomas. Selective chastising commentators for falling off the rails raises the spectre of bias.

    You wrote, “The dehumanizing language that the College Republicans used were indications of the level of bigotry, racism and intolerance that is an unfortunate part of the Republican party. ”

    I find much “ist” and “ism” in practically all categorical finger pointing. As I wrote above:

    “Do people remember the racist cartoons of Secretary of State Rice?

    Did anyone else see this LAT article: ‘But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”‘

    Does anyone remember Hillary Clinton’s Ghandi comment regarding gas station attendants….

    My point being is that the list is long for the left. Racism is not a political ideological reference point. Is is a failing of the soul and a revelation of self-interest.”

  38. Jay

    Abortion is wrong and it offends me. I want an apology.
    Bill Clinton had an affair while married in the oval office and it offended me. I want an apology.
    Same-Sex marriage is wrong and it offends me. I want an apology.
    Ted Kennedy sent a girl to her death and then tried to cover it up. He is not in prison. That offends me. I want an apology.

    I don’t like the way my wife buttered my toast this morning. It offended me. I want an apology.

    That is how ridiculous you sound.

  39. Craig,
    Given that the party that is currently in favor of building a useless fence, in favor of raids that destroy families, in favor of Minutemen that talk of how much better things would be if they could just shoot a few Mexicans and in favor of laws that create a subclass that could be exploited, legally, isn’t the Democrats, I’m not sure you really have much to so broadly label Democrats as racist. The LAT article was racist. Hillary made a racist insensitive remark. I choose to not support them, and I would encourage others to do the same if no apology for their remarks is forthcoming or been given.

    The list is so long on elimationist rhetoric, gun threats and over the top rhetoric that dehumanizes illegal immigration to a mere bunch of words rather than solutions is not the Democratic party. While individuals within the party do make racist remarks, as a whole the Democratic party is more welcoming to diversity, is more aware of the glass ceilings that exist for minorities and are incredibly aware of how racist many Americans continue to be.

    While the two sides are so diametrically opposed, there can be no compromise, there can be no real discussion and there will continue to be no solution.

  40. Some would say that the Democratic party is more exploitive of diversity and maintaining groups in their separate places. One exception is Barack Obama. Not right, not left, but straight ahead. He actually uses inclusive rhetoric. Then comes Hillary and her devisive comments that divide rich from poor, men against women, black from white, haves from have nots, right-wing conspiracies… all for the purpose of keeping constituencies overheated and knee-jerking in her direction without thinking.

  41. Craig, I think we can both agree on the fact that Hillary will do whatever it takes to win the nomination, including exploiting race. Her type are on the way out of the Democratic party, I hope. With the grassroots campaigns ramping up and exposing the types of Democrats that arn’t good for the party, its one vote at a time. As long as the netroots continues to be so powerful with the Democratic party, we’ll slowly winnow out those that use race as only an election technique while turning their backs on minority constituencies.

    Unfortunately I don’t see the same thing happening on the Republican side. Tom Tancredo is an excellent example.

  42. Jay, Arnold is the new face of the Republican party. His example will be followed by successful, up and coming republicans. Romeny is somewhat of his type as is Giuliani.

  43. Not that this is the place to discuss it, but I feel that Arnold is far too liberal for the majority of the party. His acceptance of immigration, his environmental agenda, and his acceptance by mainstream liberals in California won’t go over well across the nation.

    And thats coming from someone that was really worried about him getting elected. I respect him and I think he’s actually doing a great job with the worlds 3rd largest GDP. As for Romney and Giuliani? They flip too much. Guiliani, in particular, has issues that won’t make him electable by the fence sitters, mainly his Firefighter issue. That will be the anchor that drags him down. The fact that he has had 3 marriages and the circumstances of the 2nd will also weigh against him with the heavily religious.

  44. If the religious left tries to exploit Giulani’s three marriages shouldn’t they feel shame for their ignorance of the Kennedy afliction of men in power and their needs as satyrs? ;^P

  45. You know, the old Kennedy argument is …. old. It’s clear to anyone who can breathe that the Kennedy men were philanderers, have substance abuse problems, etc. Democrats don’t bring that up and emphasize it, any more than R’s say “George W. is an alcoholic” because why call attention to it? Each party has its scoundrels, and each party tries, without outright denial, to de-emphasize it, spin it. That behavior is not exclusive to any party. I don’t know a Democrat who DOESN’T feel shame and chagrin about the Kennedys – the smashing of the idyllic dream of Camelot, as a good memory, was very hard on D’s. They’re not in denial, they just don’t want to talk about it. It’s painful.

    You know, in Idaho the Republicans just elected a governor who is a convicted drunk driver and man who lived with his current wife out of wedlock for years before marrying her just before the election. They appear to have forgiven him.

  46. Jill, forget about Teddy, what about Bubba, he’s contemporary.

  47. New Neighbor From California

    I think that Idaho should take a progressive stand and declare that English is NOT the official language of the state of Idaho.

    I also think that Progressives in this state should encourage cities and churches to become sanctuaries for immigrants. We had good luck in California with this, and were even able to reduce and eliminate enforcement of certain laws that were highly discriminatory and resulted in disproportionate arrests or citations of immigrants. Maywood stopped having drunk driving blockades because immigrants were far more likely to be stopped than non-immigrants, and it became clear that there was something in the method used to enforce the law that was inherently discriminatory. We were also able to stop building code and zoning enforcement in several towns, such as East Palo Alto, when it became clear that immigrants were disproportionately cited because of cultural patterns that resulted in extended families living in one dwelling and running afoul of arbitrary definitions of what was a “family”. The arbitrariness and cultural discrimination inherent in zoning laws became clear to council members when it was pointed out that a mother could live in a house with her nine children – but that three couples with one child each where the spouses in one couple were siblings with a spouse in another couple could not do so – even though fewer people would be living in the house.

    I also think that schools should teach students in the language of preference, and that includes universities. California has dealt effectively with the initial shortage of teachers who are native speakers of languages other than English with a new program that brings teachers from Mexico into the public schools, and waives certain requirements, mainly pertaining to fluency in English, in order to assure every child of an education without loss of culture.

  48. New Neighbor From California

    1) Thomas Jefferson was a deist, not a Unitarian.

    2) One of the problems is that high tech is leaving California because of an unwillingness to accomodate cultural diversity other than Asian, African, or European. In addition to efforts to evade taxes intended to help lower income immigrants and citizens alike obtain education and health care; high technology places a premium on “fitting in” to a white, middle class defined social role.

    The reality is that Hispanic and African-American applicants are not generally welcomed in high technology unless they speak standard English; neither are whites who have accents that cause discomfort in management.

    As a woman software engineer, all of my colleagues spoke English as well as their L1. My managers disapproved several of my hiring decisions because they felt that the applicants needed “better language skills” – as if the average engineer whose L1 is English could compile their own resume. B^)

  49. Anonymous New Neighbor From California

    Another note.

    I can hardly wait for all the immigrants from Mexico to become citizens. They are leaders in progressive causes: gun control, health care, social safety net, and every other issue.

    Once they are in, dinosaurs like Larry Craig and the rest of the Republican Party will cease to exist.

    They are also very realistic. In discussing gun control, my personal cause, a Latina woman asked me why we don’t just outlaw the darn things and send the police door to door to pick them up – they do that in Mexico, and as she pointed out, if you don’t have anything to hide, why would you have a problem with it?

  50. Sorry I have come so late to the party: I found this post while searching for something unrelated on Google.

    As a former BSU student I’m glad to see that Ms. Opyr has shown the College Republicans’ true colors by calling them all “hateful,” “racist,” “ignorant,” “rude,” “offensive” “bigots” because she disagrees with them. Way to show the College Republicans how to be more tolerant!

    Perhaps Ms. Opyr should have spent less time searching for slurs in her thesaurus and rather spent the time looking up the word “irony” in her dictionary.