Arriving home, I emptied the mail box. There, among the usual inane offerings of the advertising industry, was an official looking communication from something called the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
After announcing in large letters at the top of the page that “THIS IS NOT A BILL” the letter goes on to recite that 20 services for which I am supposed to have made claim, have been denied by Medicare and that I may be billed for $1,824.00. All of which is detailed in eight pages of printed forms.
What really got my attention, however, was not the eight page letter about my denied claims, but an unnumbered, extra page titled “Nondiscrimination Notice.
It avers that the CMMS does not exclude or deny benefits or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, or age.
It then proceeds to repeat this comforting news in fifteen different languages including Arabic, Farsi, Kreyol and Tagalog, telling all and sundry that they have a right to get help and information in their own language at no cost and that they may talk to an interpreter by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
In almost every session of Congress one or more bills and/or proposed constitutional amendments are introduced for the purpose of declaring that English is the official language of the United States.
They are consistently opposed by the ACLU and with equal consistency they are never brought up for a vote. This despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the American people support the idea that English should be declared the official language of the nation and in fact, thirty-three of the States have laws making English their official language.
Of course, English is the de facto language throughout the United States, even in Illinois, where the official State language is “American.”
Making English official certainly wouldn’t prevent people from speaking in other languages. Much of the charm of our great nation comes from the diverse languages and customs of our people.
But the idea of an official language in which laws are written, courts are convened, taxes computed, benefits defined, and elections conducted is so obviously necessary and practical that it is hard to fathom why anyone would oppose it.
The mischief of the CMMS memo it simply that the government is requiring its agencies to be multi lingual. That idea is not only expensive and cumbersome, it contributes to the isolation of non English speaking Americans and reinforces the idea that we are a divided nation.
Let’s face it; citizens are presumed to know the law. The corollary of that axiom is that the government has the obligation to promulgate the law; that is, to tell the people - who are expected to obey the law - precisely what the law says.
For more than 200 years, English has been the defacto language used by the federal government. Unfortunately, as the CMMS memo demonstrates, even that status is now being challenged. Where does it stop? If people have the right to read about Medicare in their native language, should they not also have the right to read the tax laws in the same manner? And every other one of the myriad statutes and regulations published by the United States of America?
That idea, of course is absurd, preposterous, ridiculous. The Affordable Care Act, for example, consists of 365,086 English words and the rules and regulations it has spawned amount to an additional eleven million words. To publish 15 translations of those words would be an enormous and expensive task.
That would be only the beginning. Wouldn’t citizens be entitled to insist that litigation growing out of the law be conducted in their native tongue?
Unfortunately, words like expensive, foolish and impractical do not sit well with the activist Left. The same people who annually debunk making English the official language of the United States can be expected to support legislation requiring the national government to be multi-lingual.