There are several different stages in the public policy process. The first stage and the one I will focus most time on is Problem Identification.
There are countless issues affecting the American people that are worthy of the government’s attention. Prioritizing which issues to put on the agenda is a central job of policymakers. All issues are not weighted equally. Case in point, congress is not going to put anything else on the table right now until the debt ceiling is taken care of.
The posts that follow will focus on identifying key aspects of an important current policy debate (i.e. problem): Should English be the Official Language of the United States? A bill introduced earlier this year called the English Language Unity Act of 2011, which is now sitting in committee, presents a real possibility of establishing an official national language and imposing requirements that federal government business is done solely in English.
This is a loaded issue that leads to many follow up questions..
What does making English official entail? Will this affect my daily life?
What are the benefits? What are the costs?
Who are the stakeholders? Who are the financial backers?
Which is more important.. linguistic uniformity or celebrating diversity?
Should “of the people, by the people, for the people” refer only to the majority?
Is it fiscally appropriate to spend taxpayer money on translating government documents into 10 different languages when there is a 14 trillion dollar deficit?
How will this impact our immigration policy?
Among many more..
The goal of this blog is to present both sides of the “Official English” issue so that you can come to your own conclusion. Educating the public is one of the most integral parts of the policy process.
As one Great American, Mr. Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”
If you care about this issue get involved. Contact your congressmen, or at least feel free to comment on my posts. I will be adding polls and other interactive content soon.
Interesting fact of the day: In 31 U.S. States, English is the official language.