The many languages of NJ sample ballots
If you're a citizen of this country, you have the right to vote. I won't take that away from anyone. Yet I was still taken aback when I saw this sample ballot from Piscataway. It's a reminder of what a melting pot we live in here in the Garden State. If you have above a certain number of people living within a district who don't speak or read English, you have to print things like sample ballots with those alternative language options. Piscataway is part of District 17 which also has Franklin, Milltown, North Brunswick and New Brunswick. As such you have a lot of people who only read Spanish.
It also offers this third language, and I hate to be ignorant but I'm just not sure what this is. I'm guessing Arabic, but I could certainly be wrong.
This ballot follows the law. Government documents such as this, from a district with a significant enough population that can't read English, must be written in more than one language. I don't want to take away anyone's right to vote who is a United States citizen. As I said, New Jersey is a melting pot. However, the better thing to do when joining a melting pot is to actually melt. To assimilate. To learn the common language. America is still a predominantly English speaking country. We have no official language, but it certainly is the de facto language.
A law that would make English the official language of the United States would mean money and staff would not have to be spent on extra long forms or a redundancy of forms. It would mean you couldn't necessarily count on taking your written New Jersey driver's test in your native language. (The street signs here certainly are in English, right?) But it would also mean cries of racism and intolerance. I'm not sure it is worth the battle.
The sad thing is, it shouldn't be a battle. It shouldn't be an issue. People immigrating here from all over the globe should make it a top priority to learn the common language. If you come here only for the money and don't want anything to do with our language, don't want anything to do with communicating with those outside of your enclave, don't want anything to do with our culture or customs, then you're not really here for the American experience. If you come here for 10 years and can't speak a word of English, I consider you only a carpetbagger and not a true American in spirit. If you're reading this, I'm not talking about you.
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