State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, a guy with enough Scandinavian in his surname to qualify as a character in an O.E. Rolvaag yarn about immigrant hardship on the prairie, is carrying the flag for English-only into the Minnesota Senate.
Yah. He wants us all unified with one official language. Like the good old days that never were.[jump]
Here's what the bill says:
The English language is the official language of the state of Minnesota. Official actions of this state which bind or commit the state or which give the appearance of presenting the official views or positions of the state shall be taken in the English language. No law, ordinance, order, program, or policy of this state or any of its political subdivisions, shall require the use of any language other than English for any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications, except as provided in subdivision 3.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski is leading the charge for a similar bill in the House. (The Mazeppa Republican also wants an Arizona-style immigration policy in Minnesota.)
Is this necessary? Back in the day, Minnesota's government knew that the way to help those pesky Swedish and Norwegian immigrants fit in was to reach out to them in their native tongue. Voting instructions were particularly important, since it was in Minnesota's best interests to help its newest citizens take part in democracy.
Just for old time's sake, here are those voting instructions again, in Norwegian and Swedish -- for the "good" immigrants -- thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society.