Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can you see the glaciers? Isn't it just magnificent? I don't think there's scenery like this anywhere else in the United States!
It took nearly five hours to fly from Anchorage to Salt Lake City, and they showed a movie to help pass the time. It was supposed to be set in Scotland but to my bemusement, everyone in the movie was speaking Spanish. What's going on? I asked the cabin attendant. She told me to switch channels. Channel One is English, Channel Two is Spanish.
This gave me pause.
A hundred years ago, my grandparents came to the United States of America from Russia, Poland and Germany. They all ended up in the Lower East Side of New York, with barely a word of English between them. They learned, though. They had to. They'd come to America because they wanted to be Americans, and Americans spoke English.
They were working 6-day weeks and 12-hour days just to stay alive, and there were no ESL classes, back then. If you asked them, they'd probably have said if they had a choice, they'd rather not have to learn a new language on top of everything else. But nobody asked, and they had no choice. So they learned.
But being an American is more than just speaking English, you'll protest. It's not the language that holds us togeher. Rather, it's our set of unique, shared values.
I agree, totally. But I'm wondering how people go about sharing their values if they don't also share a language with which to enunciate those values. Do you suppose dogs have this problem? Do Shih Tzus speak Shih Tzu and Cocker Spaniels speak Cocker Spaniel? Somehow, I don't think so.
It's no easy thing, being human. Dogs probably think it's our punishment for being bad dogs in a former life!


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

What a great point about language! Woof!

10:35 AM


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