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English Only Campaign and Policymaking

The business and professional community learned there was a lot at stake if the English-only policy were made law. Although the proposed restrictions on other languages are often trivial in practice, it expresses a spirit of intolerance and was offensive to corporations and businesses that has employees who were ethnic minorities - immigrant and otherwise - who feel their patriotism was being impugned and their culture denigrated.

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All major issues that affect the public falls in six categories or domains: Boardroom Politics - decisions by professional and business leaders; Bureaucratic Politics - rule-making and adjudication by administrators and government officials; Cloakroom Politics - lawmaking by legislators; Chief Executive Politics - decision making by presidents, governors, mayors, and their advisers; Courtroom Politics - rulings by judges; and Living Room Politics - opinions expressed by and through the mass media, grassroots movements, political activists, and voters (Van Horn, et al., 1992).

COURT ROOM POLITICS AND CLOAK ROOM POLITICS: In the U.S. Senate, Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) introduced the Language of Government Act of 1995 (S. 356, 104th Cong., 1st Sess., 141 Cong. Rec. S2124-04 [1995]). In 1996, sponsors of H.R. 123, the so-called "English Language Empowerment Act" passed by the House of Representatives, declared English the sole official language of the US government (Congressional Record, 1996). English-only activism seemed to come out of nowhere in the 1980s, a phenomenon that few living Americans had ever witnessed. Previously no one had warned that the nation's dominant language was endangered by the encroachment of other tongues - creeping bilingualism - or that it needed 'legal protection' in the United States. Suddenly there were legislative campaigns to give English official status, an idea never proposed at the federal level before 1981, and to restrict the public use of minority languages. Such Official English measures have now been adopted by twenty-three states. In 1996, for the first time, Congress voted on and the House of Representatives approved a bill designating English as the federal government's sole language of official business (Combs, 1992; Schmid, 1992).

LIVING ROOM POLITICS: Opponents of English-only feel that the targets of this campaign are linguistic minorities, bilingual educators, civil libertarians, Indian tribes, and others. Also not ...

Solution Summary

The roles of courtroom, cloakroom, boardroom, living room, bureaucratic, and chief executive politics in the development and implementation of policy regarding the English Only law.