We’ve all read the bumper sticker, “If you can read this thank a teacher. If you can read it in English thank a soldier.” This idea and common belief probably deserves a closer look.
What do soldiers protect? A language? Religion? “Freedom?” Oil? The list goes on and on. This statement speaks to a popular form of “American values.” And, is probably worthy of further thought.
Preserving culture and language is an interesting discussion. Arguments could be made either way. In a world that values tradition, preservation of language is necessary. In a utilitarian world functioning in a multi-lingual environment is inefficient, and divisive.
What is my position? Manners. My parents had a mediocre grasp on manners in society. My grand parents were experts on the subject. I am glad to have been taught it is impolite to whisper to someone in front of others. It is also, impolite in a room full of people for a few to speak a different language in front of them.
We have all walked into a room in the workplace and then two people immediately lower their voices to a whisper. It likely has nothing to do with the person that just walked in. The conversation could range from discussions about Dr appointments to birthday presents. The conversation is clearly none of our business in the first place, but the behavior however warranted still instills some level discomfort to the adjacent audience.
When people start using all the “speak English or go home rhetoric,” in some cases they maybe racists or bigots. The majority are probably just people unable to articulate their cultural value of manners and its necessity. Another one of our sentiments is, the belief that soldiers are here to preserve our values. I dont see the problem with reminding others manners is one of our "American values."