English as Official Language
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 2, 2018 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
After several attempts to pass a law declaring English Georgia’s official language, it finally passed in the 1996 session. Issues those days were pretty much the same as they are today, so I’ll quote the very wise Democrat Senator Steve Langford, who co-authored that 1996 bill and, during the debate, explained in three short sentences why English should be declared our official language.
His first point was: “If society is to thrive and communicate at an ‘optimum level,’ we must speak a common language.” Then, he said, “Society is recognizing so many cultures that few common interests remain.” I think he must’ve paused a few seconds, sighed, shrugged his shoulders and ended with this: “Language is the easiest interest to keep in common.”
That was 1996, but, evidently, he was aware that, already, many immigrants were avoiding America’s “melting pot” to create their own culture here. Today, 22 years later, the United States is suffering from English-resistance and massive fragmentation under full-blown multiculturalism.
Legalizing English as our declared state language was a good start in 1996, and it’s past time to do the same in the State Constitution. So, two bills have been introduced in the Senate to do just that. S.R. 587 and S.R. 613 do not infringe on anyone’s right to communicate in another language, but it does require English to be used in official state actions that bind or commit Georgia or appear to present official state views. That’s already Georgia law, but it needs to be declared in the State Constitution.Getting S.R. 587 or S.R. 613 passed in the General Assembly is only the beginning. Amending the constitution requires a majority of Georgia voters to ratify (agree with) the language of the proposed amendment. So, if either S.R. 587 or S.R. 613 passes the General Assembly, voters will be asked the following question on the November ballot: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that English is the official language of the State of Georgia?” If a majority of voters say YES, the Constitution of the State of Georgia will be amended as required in the resolution that passed the legislature.
Obviously, we must ask legislators to pass the English bill, but, ultimately, amending the constitution is in the hands of Georgia voters. Right now, you need to call Senate Rules Committee Chairman Mullis at 404 656-0057 and ask him to move the English bill out of committee and onto the Senate floor. That’s the first step. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.