Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tea-partyers Must Learn From the Plight of the American Indian

The above cartoon was written by someone named Lalo Alcaraz. I don't know what paper it appears in, I read it at Yahoo's comics page.

The inference of the comic is, I think, that the Tea Partyers have no right to whine and cry about "wanting their country back" because they're hypocrites - and because "they" stole this country from the Indians.

I submit that there should be a different interpretation. The plight of the American Indian - confined to reservations (now) by their own choosing, 80% unemployment on some reservations, alcoholism rife, and the loss of their particular patch of country (for various tribes of Indians were scattered throughout the North American continent) - is one that all Americans need to look at and understand.

Native Americans lost their land for one reason - they did not secure their borders. Caucasians - Spanish and French first, then the English, came in and took over - and they did it by force. The various Indian tribes hated each other and would not band together to fight off the enemy. So, they lost their country.

Now, is it hypocritical [as the cartoon tries to imply] for Americans today - perhaps ancestors of those original "illegal immigrants" - to be angry as they see their country, the country of the last 200 years, the United States of America, one that encompasses the entire country and has laws that encompass the entire country - being taken over by a new wave of illegal immigrants? Illegals who are taking over not by force, but by economic pressure and the forces of liberalism?

I submit that today's Americans - a melting pot of every region's people that has ever come here - have no reason to feel guilty for what their ancestors did 200 years ago, when life was extremely different to what it is today. (And when millions and millions of dollars have been paid out in re-payment of the land, if not the lifestyle, which is gone forever, and just needs to be accepted. Time to move on.)

But one lesson remains the same.

The Indians lost their culture, their language and their ways because they could not secure their borders. The "illegal immigrants" of that time, if you want to call them that, took that all away by force.

The culture and country that replaced it was one where everyone spoke English, immigrants who came here melted into the pot and also spoke English. (Yes, Asians and blacks who could not melt had hard times, but I'm trying to make a point here. At least the Asians learned how to speak English and we don't have an Asionics. And today they are very successful - although losing ground now that more and more Asians of the illegal variety are coming in....and we're getting gangs and so forth.

The culture of the United States, honed over 200 years, the language of the United States - English - all of it are in danger of being destroyed by a new invasion.

If we (Americans of all races, creeds and colors with perhaps two things holding us together - a knowledge of English and a belief that we should all stand on our own two feet and make our way in the world) do not want to see our culture destroyed, we need to stop illegal immigration now.

Don't misunderstand me. It only makes sense for people to want to come to the US, the greatest country in the world. Who could begrudge people that?

But it's all about economics. We're a bankrupt country as it is - we simply don't have the money to keep putting our own citizens on welfare, let alone illegal immigrants. At one point people were ashamed to be on welfare (much as women were ashamed to be unwed mothers [as opposed to divorced mothers]), now a majority of people go on welfare as a matter of course and don't bother to fight their way off it. And why should they, if that welfare will always be there - which is what the Democrats want. As for unwed mothers, nowadays that's a badge of honor. Not loveable enough to get married, but at least a guy wanted to sleep with me, and see, I have proof, here's my kid. Now, where's my welfare check?

Immigrants should come to this country legal, in batches so that they can be integrated into our culture.

Anything else is sheer lunacy, like continuing to pour water into a bucket that's already full.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FYI, It's Aq-kwigh-nus, not ack-kwee-nus

George Bush has long been mocked by people as someone who mispronounced the world nuclear. One must ask oneself, does he really misprounce it, or does he use the pronunciation of the region in which he was born and raised?

Different regions of a country (but since I live in the US I'll talk about the US) have different pronunciations for the same words.

For example, I'm a northerner living in Norfolk, Virgina, and I pronounce it Nor-folk -- the way it should be pronounced. But people who were born and bred here pronounce it Nor-fuck (please, childish minds, don't snigger over my use of the f-word there. It isn't the f-word, it's how they pronounce Norfolk.)

However, there are some words that, if you know the rules of grammar, can only be pronounced one way.

Such a word is corpsman. Yes, there's a P in it, and kids reading that word may be forgiven for pronouning that P. But they will be told (if their teachers are allowed to teach) that the p is silent and so the proper pronunciation is coreman. Indeed, I'm sure that as a kid I pronounced it corpse-man myself, until someone - probably my brother - corrected me and said, no, it's coreman.

Apparently, President Obama had no teacher and no brother to tell him how to pronounce that word. And so he ends up embarrasing himself (Of course, the Dems won't mention it, but the Republicans will never let it go, much as the opposite happened with Bush.)

But this brings up a larger issue, which is why my post is entitled FYI, It's Aq-kwigh-nus, not ack-kwee-nus.

We've just had first hand evidence of why it is important for someone who mispronounces a word to be corrected! That person may never use that word again, or he may be standing up in front of 10,000 people and mispronounce it in front of them and all the world.

I have a college-level education, but I acquired it on my own, by systematic reading in subjects that interested me. In my early 20s, I met a couple who were quite erudite. I visited their house once, looked over their library, and saw that they had books by Thomas Aquinas. Now, I had read much of this man, but I'd never heard his name pronounced, so I pronounced it Ack-kwee-nus.

My friend, a woman, corrected me. "Ac-kwigh-nus." Her husband immediately reproved her for correcting me - this despite the fact that it was just the three of us! I immediately said, "No, thanks for the correction. I'm glad to have learned the proper way to pronounce it."

Now, in my case, I've never again had the change to use the name Thomas Aquinas in conversation, but if I had, I know I wouldn't have mispronounced it.

Look, on the other hand, at the dicussions (if they can be called that) that go on in message boards. People mispelling words, using improper grammar, etc. Now, obviously, some people correct their grammar and spelling not in an effort to teach, but in an effort to put down...but that doesn't change the fact that people who spell incorrectly, or use the wrong grammar, should - gently - be corrected.

Otherwise, they may make the same mistake in a letter to a potential employer, for example. Now, that may be stretching it...the real reason they should be corrected is because people should know the right spelling, the right grammar. People in their twenties and upwards who do not know correct grammar and word usage should be ashamed of themselves, because it shows they have no interest in knowledge and increasing their knowledge - and we all of us need to increase our knowledge of the world, every day of our lives.

Now, some intelligent and articulate people are not good spellers. I grant you that. I don't understand how that can be... but I know that it is so. I've met several people who are not only well educated but smart enough to understand and apply what they've learned (the two don't necessarily go together), but they can't spell for toffee. But, they're smart enough to have a secretary or a spell-checker verify their work.

It is sad, therefore, that should someone mispronounce a word or mispell a word, people are not allowed to correct them, for fear of hurting their feelings. (Just for one example, teachers can't use red ink to correct papers anymore, it makes students feel bad! Students can't grade each other's papers any more... it makes a student feel bad if someone else knows he missed every single question. And rather than being spurred on to do better work in fture, better that he just not be humiliated to begin with, eh?)

Dumbing down of the world....