- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Language important factor in unifying the nation

Balint Vazsonyi's Oct. 30 Commentary column, "Taboos we can't afford," is to be commended. Mr. Vazsonyi sheds light on one of the most important threads in the blanket of patriotism that has wrapped the United States since September 11.

This is, of course, our official language or lack of one. Many Americans would be surprised to learn that English is not the official language of the United States. Understanding English does more than enable one to send a letter at the post office or order a meal at a restaurant. Understanding English in our country encourages citizenship and unity and discourages segregation both linguistic and ethnic.

In this country of immigrants, we cherish the customs and traditions of the many cultures this nation comprises. Yet there remains a great necessity for a unifying factor the ability to communicate with one another.

We are not asking immigrants to check their language at the border, but simply to enhance the American experience by learning one of its most basic elements. If September 11 showed this country nothing else, it is that we have the capability to come together despite our different backgrounds.

Since its infancy, America has provided its citizens with several symbolic bonds Old Glory, the bald eagle, the Star-Spangled Banner and the Declaration of Independence. Let's add English to this proud tradition.


MAURO E. MUJICA

Chairman of the board and CEO

U.S. ENGLISH

Washington

No excuse for delay in air safety legislation

Regrettably, much of the bipartisanship that Congress displayed in the days following the attack on America has begun to dissipate.

Amazingly, more than two months after our day of infamy, Congress is unable to agree on legislation that will create safer skies. It has yet to send the president a bill to tighten screening procedures for baggage and passengers. These obvious weak links played a major role in enabling the 19 Arab hijackers to carry out their evil acts, and they continue to cause the public to be skittish about flying.

The parties continue to wrangle over whether screening personnel should be federal employees or federally overseen private workers. I do not believe in creating a new, unresponsive federal bureaucratic behemoth by federalizing the workers, but good legislation can and must be passed immediately to make the skies as safe as they can be. Surely, our representatives have the deliberative ability to reach an agreement.

We have learned that Americans' lives continue to be at stake as embarrassing loopholes have been exposed in passenger- and baggage-screening systems. Heaven help the members of Congress if another plane is commandeered by terrorists and more American lives are destroyed while they continue to fiddle.


OREN M. SPIEGLER

Pittsburgh

Washington bishop's feminist agenda threatens rift in Episcopal Church

The more I read about the troubles at Christ Church in Accokeek, the more puzzled I become ("Tense truce for divided church," Nov. 5). At the same time, I am becoming increasingly convinced that Jane Holmes Dixon, the interim bishop of Washington, is pursuing a feminist campaign and attempting to impose a conformity not required by her church.

From what I have read, the Rev. Samuel Edwards has not renounced the Thirty-nine Articles, the language of the church's creeds or the primacy of the Scriptures; he is not a heretic. What he opposes is female ordination, a rather recent innovation in parts of the Anglican Communion. He is hardly alone in this view. Many conservatives in the church share his opposition; in fact, there still are bishops in the American Episcopal Church who refuse to ordain women.

In the 1990s, your publication reported on the then-suffragan bishop's forays into conservative parishes. Armed with merlot and Wonder bread and bringing along her own congregation, she would celebrate Communion over the protests of the locals. This sort of steamrolling is not merely unseemly; it goes against the Anglican traditions of reasonableness and compromise. The incredible shrinking Episcopal Church needs all the members it can get. Instead, we are positioning it for another rift.


RICHARD H. HOWARTH

Reston

Verizon shameless in capitalizing on attacks

As an advocate who represents the interests of Verizon's residential customers in Maryland, I was very interested in the exchange of views between James K. Glassman and Walter B. McCormick Jr. concerning Verizon's latest efforts to stifle local telephone competition ("Verizon exploited a national tragedy," Op-Ed, Oct. 23; "A call for telecom security," Op-Ed, Nov. 5).

Mr. Glassman's position reflects the current law, which sensibly recognizes that companies competing with the incumbent Baby Bells will not and should not have to invest billions of dollars to build a redundant telephone network for all customers in the hope of acquiring some of them. The open-access requirements of the 1996 Telecommunications Act are based on the fact that companies such as Verizon were granted state monopolies and franchises, with a guaranteed return on investment plus a profit, to induce them to build their networks. Telephone companies competing with Verizon do not have the advantages of a monopoly, a franchise and a guaranteed profit.

I agree with Mr. Glassman that Verizon is guilty of shameless opportunism in trying to use a national tragedy as a tool to denigrate competitors and squash competition.


MICHAEL J. TRAVIESO

Maryland people's counsel

Office of People's Counsel

Baltimore


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide