Flexibility and multiplicity are the names of the games played out in today’s arenas of economic growth and global competition. Still a whole contingency of Americans (mostly United States citizens — since Spanish-speaking Mexicans and French-speaking Canadians believe they are also part of the North American continent) have fallen way behind the greater global people-to-people communication movement.

In simple language, English isn’t the only way to talk anymore.

More than 880 million people speak Mandarin, at least 332 million speak Spanish and 322 million speak English. Close behind are 206 million people who speak an Arabic dialect.

It’s true, on our side of the world and north of the equator, English has been the common language that has made it possible for all races, creeds and cultures to meld together into a singular force known as the U.S. There is no doubt, our ability to communicate through a common language has brought our nation to the apex of global domination economically, politically and socially.

But now the very source of our strength, our common language, is being used as a divisive, contentious political tool aimed at constructing linguistic barriers that will hinder rather than promote our competitive edge.

Bigoted, narrow-minded people who constantly bend the ear of arrogant self-serving legislators are once again proposing broad legislation that would declare English as the “official language of Oklahoma” and require all government business be conducted in English.

Apparently, it is not enough that English is the language spoken by the majority of our residents.

Those who would quash the essence of diversity by outlawing other languages do not understand the role of the native tongue in sustaining culture and self-esteem. Forced assimilation can only destroy trust and the willingness to find common ground.

The United States has dominated the world’s economic progress for a long time. But, times are changing and we have to change along with them.

A law that restricts or discourages Oklahoma citizens from learning or tolerating new languages, and old languages, should be recognized for what it really is— legalized bigotry and stupidity.

Republican Representative George Faught should read the writing on the wall. (Oh, maybe he can’t. It’s not in English. And, that scares him.)

Faught has admitted the target of his bigotry is not Oklahoma’s Native American tribes — although they would be affected. He’s more concerned about the Mexican immigrants.

Oklahoma (by the way, not an English word) has 37 federally recognized Indian tribes, most with their own languages. These Native Americans have assimilated over the years, without the force of laws.

On the other hand, Mexican immigrants, many of who are just now first and second generation residents of Oklahoma, have just begun the process of blending into a new way of life.

Assimilation takes time.

If the bill passes bilingual driver’s license tests and other state government documents could not be printed in Spanish.

This is wrong. To deny services and information to those who are beginning a new life in a new country is a sure way to segregate, label and suppress.

Oklahoma lawmakers need to know — Faught’s English spin will not be tolerated.