The following communication came to us by email. No name or contact information was provided other than the email address. Some of the content is objectionable. But out of a desire to include other voices we decided to publish this as part of our Signs of Age series. Words and phrases in italics are the writer's. Ed.
To the editor:
Your website claims to have something to do with truth. OK. Here’s some truth for you. I am seventy-four years old, and I have had some time in my life to collect some truth.
Maybe some of your readers can tell me about why I have to listen to goddamn Spanish all the time when I call some corporation. “Oprima dos.” “Oprima estrella.” To hell with them. I don't understand. Was our goddamn United States Constitution written in Spanish? Does our legal system work in Spanish? Is our nation’s business in Washington, D.C conducted in Spanish? No. Is the answer no. NOT YET. English only!
And when I go to my goddamn bank to use the ATM, the first screen I see says “Bienvenidos.” Before I read anything in English. And then something about “tarjeta,” and I guess that must mean “card” like “ATM card.” Why not say “card”? What’s all this about tarjeta? Where am I? What country? Excuse me, I am confused. Is there a dirt road behind me? Some peon wearing a sombrero leaning against a wall? A little tamale stand on the dirt road? No! Because that kind of little dirt road would not have an ATM. People come to this country to use our ATMs and to have paved roads and get enough food to eat and have good jobs.
And you know what I say to that? And this might surprise you. “Welcome to our country. I hope you get a good job, a job that some lazy son of a bitch American won’t do. Now learn English.” That’s all. You might not believe I said that about welcome to our country. And maybe you don’t believe this either: I don’t care how you get here. I mean it too. I don’t blame them trying to feed their family. Ours is a goddamn rich country. The richest in the world. You think I blame them for coming here? You’re crazy if you believe that. I am not one of those people who says that we should bring in the goddamn Green Berets to keep out illegals. I don’t think we should spend all kinds of money to build a fence on the border either. People want to work in the U.S.? Welcome to my country. Now learn English.
But there are some more rules besides that basic one, which is learn English.
One day I went into my bank; it was Cinco de Mayo Day, fifth of May, big Mexican celebration. All the tellers at my bank are Latina, or at least seem to be, and I heard one of them say to another Latina teller something about, “You know I don’t really know about Cinco de Mayo, and I really should. I should know more about my culture.”
Now, I didn’t say this; and I’m sorry that I didn’t, but I should have said, “Excuse me, Miss, which culture are you talking about? The culture your family left that was not providing for you, not allowing you to eat or this culture, my culture, the rich culture of the United States of America that has given you and your family jobs? And a good diet; you look very healthy.”
She should have been fired. She handles a bunch of George Washingtons and Abraham Lincolns and maybe a few Ben Franklins every day in her job at my bank. I don’t think that we have a piece of United States currency with an engraving of General Zaragosa or Perfirio Diaz. Not yet at least. So until we do, she’d better be talking about the culture of the United States of America when she talks about “our culture,” or she can get her Latina butt back to Mexico. That’s another rule. One culture.
All this confusion about culture has come about because of the goddamn multicultural bullshit of the academics that started thirty years ago. Yes, and what I mean by bullshit is that some cultures are just superior to other cultures and we need to stop this multicultural bullshit. Because all cultures are not equal. And don’t give me any bullshit about the goddamn Indians either. Everybody is always whining about the goddamn American Indians and what a great culture they had and their spiritual earth-religion and what great ecologists they were, how they were wonderful environmentalists. Sure they were. Stripping the land and moving on. Driving herds of animals over cliffs and moving on. Maybe we should have an Indian Culture Day too.
People can’t think straight anymore. The goddamn educational TV station here has all kinds of people on that will help you think straight. Sure they do; big help. They send me requests for donations all the time. I donate to the classical station in town so I’m on the sucker list for culture. And this PBS station has, let’s see, Dr. Wayne Dyer and his woo-woo spiritual bullshit and Suze Orman with her big teeth and a Gomer named Huell Howser with a show called California Gold. “Gollleee, look at that stump! How long has that stump been there! Why, I’ve never seen a stump like that stump! How you get a stump like that? Cut down a tree? Big old tree? Cut it down? And that will get you a stump like that stump? Golleeee.” Educational television.
Sure, I’ll make a donation to my PBS station. KCET.
And if you want to consider why we are going to hell consider PBS stations presenting shows on Feng Shui. You heard me. The ancient Chinese art of arranging your house so that you get the best energy, called chi. Got that? Sure, I’ll donate. The same people who gave us lead poisoning and killed our dogs. The Chinese. Very bright people. Where do I sign? Let’s talk about their culture for a while. Maybe Huell can help. “How you pronounce that? Fing Shu-eee? No? Fung shway? Really? Fung shway? I wonder why. It’s spelled fing shu-eeee and pronounced fung shway. Isn’t it? Isn’t it? What’s that fung stuff do? What? You mean that if I arrange my furniture in a certain way I’ll get money? And if I arrange my furniture a certain way my, uh, personal relationships will improve? Gollleee.”
Sure, Huell, as long as your chi is right. As long as your kitchen table is the right color and you have a Blue Rhinoceros Tassel for Protection hanging somewhere, maybe above your unused bookcase. Huell Howser on KCET. Educational television.
And that’s the truth. You want truth? I just told you some truth. Let’s see if you publish it. I’m not giving you my name and you’d better not print my email address either. Too many goddamn nuts out there. Just sign me,
An English-speaking Citizen of the U.S.A.
14 December 2007