Multicultural County, FL ā€” As the Republican road show moved west, its two stars left Florida, having agreed only that if you can’t vote in English, you shouldn’t vote at all. Besides showing a desire to rid our democracy of millions of pesky voters, and reject existing law, this served as further proof that the main choice Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich offer Republican primary voters is a poke in the eye with a sharp stick or a poke in the other eye with a sharp stick.

Apart from the anti-democracy mean-spirited thing, whatever happened to self-interest? You would think these two would want to cut down on the number of people they have to apologize for their “gaffes” to, by having as many people as possible who aren’t fluent in English eligible to vote.

In any case, why, of all the issues compromising our quality of life is getting down to one language supposed to be a good thing? What a dull place a Yiddish-free New York would be — meshuge. Or a New Orleans that can’t laissez les bon temps rouler. Or a South Florida without the music of Spanish, not to mention Kanjobal, Kreyol.

Currently the Kreyol class I am taking has among its students a woman married to a Haitian man, a health worker, and a real estate agent. We could all just say we don’t care what these Haitian Kreyol speaking people in our midst are talking about, but aside from how nice it is to meet people halfway, we would miss some nice turns of phrase. When you ask a friend S’ak pase? (how’re you doing?) a common answer is M’ap boule (literally “I’m burning,” but actually, according to the teacher, more like “I’m making it through the fire”) or M’ap kenbe (“I’m maintaining”). You emphasize things by repeating them a lot, as in “Mesi anpil, anpil, anpil, anpil” — Thank you very, very, very, very much.

And if you say, see you tomorrow, you add “sidyevle” (if God wishes), a reminder not to take life and plans for granted.

Which brings me back to the English-only ballot and the two hate-mongers who found that to be their point of agreement while visiting our great state. I’ll be happy to see the last of them, sidyevle.


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