Those who are baffled by the U.S. Senate’s sudden interest in making English the national language shouldn’t be.

After all, the Senate of the United States of America has of late averted the looming Social Security train wreck, carved a path to victory in Iraq, cemented our road to eternal economic prosperity and full employment and devised a government free of corrupting influences.

Having accomplished all that, it was obviously time for the august senators to turn their attention to how people express themselves. English is obviously the first choice of a majority of the Senate, even though many politicians, including more than a few presidents, sometimes have trouble effectively expressing themselves in this language.

But, by God, the Senate was bound and determined to pass something that resembles an endorsement of English as an official language. So, last Thursday it passed a resolution that approaches that goal.

It’s a good thing Yogi Berra is alive to see this, but we wonder what the impact on the Southwest would be if this purely symbolic action were taken to it is logical conclusion. We’re sure the good citizens of Amarillo will cheerfully change the name of their Panhandle city to Yellow and reidentify the nearby Palo Duro canyon as Hard Stick. We’re equally certain that those series of popular March events in Texas now known as rodeos will not suffer attendance once they become known as competitions involving livestock.

Let’s start practicing a new Texas chant, “Remember the Cottonwood,” and recall a famous armed confrontation in Tombstone, Ariz., as the “Gunfight at the OK cattle pen.”

Out in California, the entertainment mecca known as The Angels will have a devil of a time living up to its new name, but then it struggled with the old one. And that famous city in the north will hereafter be St. Francis and the state capital will become Sacrament. In fact, the whole state might have to change its name, since California was named by Spaniards.

In their zeal to engage in cultural warfare, the Senators are acting just like their French counterparts, who are ever vigilant in their search for English corruption of their language, and act swiftly — and often comically — to repel the invasion of Le Burger Kings. What role models for the Senate. And what a performance last week.

Austin American Statesman



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