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Let’s All Unite? Behind What?

When Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee explained why he voted to install English as the sole official language of the United States,

It unifies us to have a common language. It unifies us for us to know the rule of law and equal opportunity are common principles.

the fundamentalist Christian wire service OneNewsNow was all applause:

Lamar Alexander: English language ‘unifies’ nation

A Tennessee senator argues making English the official language of the United States would have “unifying” effect on the country.

Lost in the news media’s coverage of the so-called “comprehensive immigration reform” bill was that the Senate overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the measure that would make English the national language of the U.S. The amendment passed 64-33 just one day before the immigration bill stalled in the Senate.

The amendment, sponsored by Senator Jim Inhofe of (R-Oklahoma), declares that there is no affirmative right to receive services in languages other than English, except where required by federal law.

During a speech on the Senate floor, Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) dismissed critics who say encouraging people to speak English is divisive.

And so we see the return of the “divisiveness bad, unity good” assertion that has been so popular in recent years, from United We Stand bumper stickers to the media insider circle jerk known as Unity08. If we all just stand together, and stop disagreeing, and stop doing different things, and conform, and fall in line, and obey, everything will be all right. Exactly how or why mass conformity will lead to paradise is never explained.

The online poll OneNewsNow attaches to its article betrays its motivation behind an endorsement of Senator Alexander’s calls for “unity,” asking the following question:

Which of the following has the most unifying effect on the people of a country?

Military victory
Religious belief
Shared language
Cultural heritage
National tragedy

Golly, if we all just support whatever war our politicians have dragged us into, have the same religion, speak the same language, share the same preferences, have the same ideas, and wallow in feelings of suffering and fear, everything will be just grand!

But I have a funny feeling that the poll isn’t referring to military victory by the Albanians, or a common embrace of Buddhism, or everybody speaking Spanish, or celebrating Kwanzaa together, or holding rallies about deaths from bowel obstructions.

No. I think OneNewsNow has a very particular vision of unity in mind, one in which everyone falls behind them. Whenever anybody asks for unity, don’t let them stop with that. Unity always has an object; find out what it is.

1 comment to Let’s All Unite? Behind What?

  • ConcernedAboutUnity08

    It is interesting that Lamar Alexander is talking about “unity”. Doug Bailey and some of the other insiders in Unity08 are some of Lamar Alexanders biggest supporters (they have contributed financially to his campaigns and have worked for him).

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