Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Laudable Council Member Performances

Council members who did an admirable job standing up to Eric Crafton's English-only ordinance are due some recognition:
  • Mike Jameson ( dressed down the feigned paternalism and the very logic of the English-only bill. He said that before he could vote with Crafton, he needed some questions answered. He asked for a list of immigrant groups who approached Crafton asking for the very help that Crafton was offering to free them from their supposed crutches. He asked for data to show that non-English speakers were not attempting to learn English because of the bilingual policies of Metro government. He reminded us that there are long lines to get into adult English classes, but that the Metro Council had cut funding for these classes (At this point, I was on the edge of my recliner pumping my fist snarling, "You go, Mike!" I mean, after all, how can you take away something from people with one hand and not offer something else with the other?). He also asked for data to support Crafton's claim that cutting bilingual services actually helps immigrants learn English faster. Jameson not only took Crafton's argument apart block-by-block, but he schooled his fellow council members on the critical questions that they are supposed to be asking.
  • Jim Shulman ( against any bill that would divide Metro Nashville residents from one another. He pointed to the high volume of polarized e-mails council members were getting and he astutely observed that despite Crafton's stated intentions to unify Nashville under "English-only," the bill seemed to be dividing Nashvillians. Amen. You can't force unity, Mr. Crafton. This is not a top-down, banana-republic dictatorship. It never ceases to amaze me that the shrillest critics of government, like Crafton, are usually the first ones to start advocating government crack-downs in an attempt to force unity among different people. So much for libertarianism.
  • Ronnie Greer ( the need for Metro Nashville to be an inclusive place. Greer compared codifying English-only now to the forcing of English-only on his African forbearers brought here as slaves in the 19th Century.
Finally, I have got to tell you: I am still shaking my head about Crafton's attack on the state's current English-only law during last night's debate (he referred to it as "do-nothing"). If this guy is going to go so far as to deride existing English-only laws, that should tell you that his views are extreme, perhaps even dangerous.


  1. Michael - thanks for mentioning Shulman and Greer. They do deserve kudos along with Jameson.

    I thought Jameson was, calm, collected, and dead-on.

  2. Jameson always has a placid and soft-spoken demeanor. He lets the words and the ideas in his comments do the cutting, even as they remain fair and more than diplomatic to opposing views. I have never seen him better than last night. I envy his constituents.