Friday, December 22, 2006

And people complain about political correctness run amock?

You may have heard about a massive wind storm that hit Seattle last week. It knocked our power and Internet access out for 6 days, and my in-laws still don't have power more than a week later.

While a few people died from flooding and trees falling onto their homes - quite tragic under any circumstances - the largest single cause of deaths appears to have been from carbon monoxide poisoning, from people moving generators or grills indoors. This is particularly tragic because it is so obviously preventable. After all, when the wind is blowing, you can't necessarily stop a tree from falling on you, but you sure as heck don't have to bring a generator or grill inside.

Anyhow, responding to this, our major daily, the Seattle Times, published big bold front-page headlines a few days ago in about 6 different languages warning about what a bad idea it was to bring these fuel-burning devices indoors. Great public service announcement.

Would you believe that the Times actually got letters from people protesting the fact that they published this in a bunch of languages other than English? I understand the goal of having people that move here learn to speak English; heck, I've blogged on this very topic. But let's get some perspective, folks. Which is more important: (a) keeping people alive by giving them some very basic information in a form that they can understand, or (b) advancing your ideology about "English Only?"

Whether or not English is or should be our official language, the facts on the ground are that many people don't speak it or read it, and suggesting that they should not be presented with potentially life-saving information is simply a disgusting elevation of ideology over humanity. Let's save the English-only debate for non-life-threatening issues, OK?

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