I received an email not long ago with a supposed speech by Theodore Roosevelt. While not actually one of his speeches (it was a letter) and not written while he was president, it was true. Here is the content of the email:
‘In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.’
The actual letter, held by the Library of Congress, can be viewed here. Personally, I feel that Roosevelt is correct. One of the major problems I see in the country today are immigrants, who come to this country and refuse to assimilate into American culture.
Roosevelt had this to say about language:
“Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it. Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back. He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here. He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend upon his knowing English and observing American standards. The employer cannot be permitted to regard him only as an industrial asset.
What do you think? Should those refusing to learn American English be sent packing? If not, what justification can you offer for not requiring English?
Another pet peeve of mine was also mentioned by Roosevelt:
Col. Roosevelt said he came to St. Louis to speak on Americanism; to speak of and condemn the use of the hyphen “whenever it represents an effort to form political parties along racial lines or to bring pressure to bear on parties and politicians, not for American purposes, but in the interest of some group of voters of a certain national origin or of the country from which they or their fathers came.”
One hundred years later, we have the same problem. So called “African-Americans,” “Mexican-Americans,” “Hispanic-Americans” and so forth. These groups are not formed for the betterment of America but rather their own self interests. Granted, folks can call themselves anything they wish but those calling themselves hyphenated Americans should be ostracized and if not citizens, sent packing. Let’s face it, if their mother country was so great, why did they leave? Do you agree?