Via Steven, who is guest-blogging at NiT, we are brought the story of Newt Gingrich, who is a giant ass, addressing the National Federation of Republican Women, saying to them:
The American people believe English should be the official… language of the government. … We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto
I want to just second Steven’s point, which is when Newt Fucking Gingrich is running around calling the language Jorge Luis Borges wrote in a ghetto language, we have clearly reached a point of some kind of insanity.
That’s point one.
Point two, it takes some large cojones to say– when we’ve just been reminded that the income gap here in the U.S. has doubled since 1980 –that English is the language of prosperity. Really? Well, English is the only fucking language I’m fluent in so bring on some of that prosperity. Lord knows that I and the other English-only speaker in my house could use a little of it.
But three, fuck that classist bullshit. Yes, it sucks to be poor and yes, literally living in the ghetto is not an ideal living situation. But god damn. Name for me one American art form that doesn’t have its roots in poverty, that wasn’t born out of poor people’s desire to illuminate their experience.
And then we can start listing the things that poor people have contributed to this culture and compare them.
Most of us are poor. Why do we continue to metaphorically suck the dick of the rich? Really, let’s be honest. We’re not going to be rich. Back to that NYTimes article:
Mr. Greenstein’s organization will release a report today showing that for Americans in the middle, the share of income taken by federal taxes has been essentially unchanged across four decades. By comparison, it has fallen by half for those at the very top of the income ladder.
Because the incomes of those at the top have grown so much more than those below them, their share of total income tax revenue has risen despite the reduced rates.
Why do we put up with this shit?
I suspect it’s because we all believe that, if we behave ourselves and work hard, that someday, we’ll be filthy rich, too. We work against what’s in our best interest now because we have this bizarro belief that soon enough, we’ll be among our “real” peers, those rich folks.
We’re such dumb fucks. And the Republicans are geniuses when it comes to this, holding out the hope to working class and lower middle class whites that, if only we keep those brown and black folks in line, some day there will be room enough for us among the well-to-do.
How else to explain how Gingrich could get up in front of a bunch of folks and start disparaging the ghetto and talking about English as a language of prosperity, when so many of us who speak only English are struggling from day to day to make ends meet, and be met with cheers, as if what he says makes any sense or has any relationship to reality?
Thirteen percent of us live below the poverty level. Only ten percent of us make $100,000 or more and most of us (roughly 80%) make $60,000 or less. Around half of us make less than $32,500.
English as the language of prosperity. He should have been laughed off the stage. Instead, they applauded him. I guess because it’s more important to make sure that brown people are punished* for being brown than it is for us to speak honestly about where we are as a nation.
*Seriously, some day we’re going to have to have an interesting discussion about how the distinction between libertarians and Republicans seems to come down to libertarians’ unwillingness to run around making sure that various “bad” people are suffering enough.