English as Common Language?

Ever wish you could whisper in the president's ear? Give him advice on issues plaguing the nation? Well, here's your chance to tell the world what you would do if you were president of the United States. Twice weekly, we'll ask our readers a question about an issue facing the nation and post your responses here.

Today's question:

If you were president, would you sign a law that would make English the "common language" of the United States?

Click on the links in the box on the right to read recent stories on this topic, then e-mail us at speakout@foxnews.com. Check back during the day to read more responses from FOX Fans and to see if yours was posted.

Here's what FOX Fans are saying:

”Yes. This view of the U.S. as a ‘melting pot’ has gotten out of hand. We are a melting pot, and we respect all sorts of different backgrounds. But we need to have some similarities to work together as a nation, and a common language to conduct business and workings of our country needs to be one of them. English is the common language used in our government, and how business is generally conducted. Speak whatever language you would like with your family and friends, at home and wherever you want, but you also need to learn English to live and function here. For those that bother to come here legally, it should be a requirement of citizenship. I haven't seen it mentioned that many other countries have national languages. No one seems to have a problem with that. Why is everyone screaming about it here? Why does everything in this country have to be related to racism or discrimination?” — S.D.

"Most people who support having English be made an official or even common language are simply racist and ethnocentric. We needed laws to protect minorities from the persecution of backward, racist white people (many of whom called themselves Christian if you can believe it). The same laws need to protect one of the fundamental characteristics of America — i.e. that we all came from immigrants. Those who support this measure just want the backwards, unprogressive America. If I were president I would ensure that what America stands for was never harmed by ignorance and intolerance." — Jeff (Chicago, IL)

”Yes, I would sign a law to make English the common language. In a separate law, I would also require new immigrant citizens to learn the English language. English has been the established language in the U.S. for centuries, and we cannot expect our citizens to learn Spanish. If the immigrants want the benefits of living in the U.S. and want to become citizens, English must be required. Of course, they have the right to speak Spanish in their family and personal lives, but knowledge of English must be required.” — Bruce (Moorpark, CA)

"As a Christian, I have a hard time thinking that Jesus would want us fighting over something so silly as an official language. I believe there are more important matters to be dealt with. We must end this war and make the world a safer and better place by example. As president, I would make sure that we as a nation were focused on solving America's real problems." — Sarah (Hendersonville, NC)

”I agree with English being the common language of the U.S. and that a proficiency in English be required in order to become a U.S. citizen. This is not a restriction of rights, but simply an affirmation of the strength of a nation that has one shared language common to all residents and citizens.” — Judith

”I would make English the official American language and I would require a thorough knowledge of the language before issuing drivers' licenses or social security cards. I would also demand proficiency in English as a requirement for citizenship. How else can an immigrant realize all the benefits of citizenship?” — Bud (Washington, CT)

”I have believed for a very long time that English should be the official national language. We have only to look to Canada to see what problems can arise when one section speaks another language. One language does unify the country and we need that.” — Pat

”Of course I would sign a law that would make English the common language of the U.S. We are a country of diversity, and it is imperative that we all have common elements of our lives that bind us together as a nation. A common language is one of these. Historically, our common language has been English. The knowledge and use of English by all would go a long way in furthering education, commerce, human relations and the integration of foreign nationals into our society, to the benefit of all. If you don't want to integrate into our society, why come here in the first place?” — Phil (Rensselaer, NY)

”We accept that America is made up of immigrants — most all of us came from somewhere else originally. So the one thing we absolutely need is something to unify us and that should be a common language. Making English the official language is imperative for our survival.” — Susan (Baltimore, MD)

”No, as president I would focus on more vital matters instead of some crackpot, racist agenda driven need for an official language.” — Kara (Seattle, WA)

”I laugh even at the thought of asking such a question. If you want to live in this country, work in this country, prosper in this country, and love doing anything in this country, then speak the language of this country — English. If you don't wish to learn, then don't come or simply leave.” — Steve (Roebuck, SC)

”English might currently be the common language of the U.S. already, with or without an introduced law that makes that determination. However, it won't be so common when one-third to nearly half of the citizens of this country are made up of people with Hispanic heritage within no more than a few decades. To those who equate English with being white, there are by far more non-white English speaking people in this world than whites who speak the language. The support of English as the common language of the people in this country is not support of white control, authority, or majority, but rather a unifying measure to help ensure the integration of all of these people representing every country on earth into this one amazing country. The implementation of the law would basically state that learning English is in the best interest of every resident of this country, since it is an English-speaking country. It would put into words the obvious, and nothing more. This is not a serious issue. When the government starts making illegal Mexicans wear badges or certain identifying marks, such as Iran is currently proposing to do with non-Muslims (and like Hitler himself once did with the Jews), then we can talk about the government singling people out or being racist. But until then, a common unifying language to assist the immigrants that make their way into this country cannot be considered controversial, demeaning, or unfair because it is just that: unifying.” — Steve

”We are one of very few countries without a national language. If I could go back in time, I would tell the founding fathers to put it in the Constitution as a requirement of citizenship. We waste too much money on duplicate documents for our government and businesses. We think too lightly of language and its significance. Language binds us together and makes us one nation.” — John (Rocklin, CA)

”As much as it bothers me that this dialogue is even necessary, we have to do something to ease the burden of healthcare providers, educators, and other services that do not need to add language issues to their growing list of problems. ESL programs are expensive; my tax dollars pay for them. Healthcare providers must add translators and multi-language forms. If you are to live in a country and benefit from the rights and privileges of that legal citizenship, then you need to speak the language of the country. English is our language. Let us not forget.” — Pat

”Those who deride making English the official U.S. language, and hopefully mandatory in many respects, are simply ignorant. Anyone who has studied how language influences thought and culture understands the importance of common language to common values. The matter of recognizing English as the official language is critical to maintaining our societal values. Those who don't accept the fact that language shapes thought, culture and values probably have never visited France, Italy, China, Saudi Arabia or Mexico.” — Paul (New York)

” I would absolutely have what it takes to make English not only the official, but required language to live and / or do business within the United States. It is ludicrous that this even needs to be discussed and debated. But it is because of our gutless members of Congress whose only concern is how to stay in office.” — Tom

” Entirely too much of our tax money is spent on multi-lingual public services, and it hits all of us American taxpayers in the pocket. I think it’s time to put a stop to it. Making English an official language will actually allow immigrants to integrate into our multi-cultural society and improve their chances of personal success, in whatever they choose that to be. There’s nothing wrong with speaking multiple languages, but that is a personal choice left to each individual. English should be the official common language of this country for economic reasons and integrating those who choose to become a citizen of this country.” — Jean (Clarksville, IN)

”Language, for any culture, is an expression of the people — how they think, interact, and relate. In a place like the U.S., we have a population that is comprised of peoples from every continent and speak over 360 different languages. Why then, should it be problematic for us to declare one national language? This declaration does not mean you can speak no other language, and it certainly does not ask anyone to give up his or her culture. It does help in a small way unify us as one. We are all Americans because we are all different.” — Karina (Austin, TX)

”I would not make English the official language of the country. It is hard to imagine what exactly that would accomplish to help the world we live in, other than make it more difficult for our economy to move forward (And it is not like the price of gas would come down or there would be peace in the Middle East just because we all spoke English). The U.S. began with the spirit of fighting for the oppressed and believing in the underdog. Let's not be threatened by another's person's humanity and desire to have a better life by creating an exclusive country club that only helps those with the right pedigree.” — Collin (Berkeley, CA)

”If you want to learn another language, that's fine. If you want to speak another language, that's fine, too. But you need to learn to speak and write English comprehensively if you intend to spend the rest of your life here. We've all assimilated at some point and different foreign words and phrases have filtered into, and continue to filter into, our English as we evolve. But English is still, and should continue to be, our principal language. Get used to it and grow into it.” — Jan

”One of the main reasons the U.S. has turned out so great is because we have a massive nation speaking one language and using one currency. Every person I do business with in Europe agrees with me on that. There is nothing whatsoever racist about that statement. The U.S. absolutely should make English the official language for verbal and written communication. Look at Canada as but one example of why two cultures in one nation fail every time. Quebec has threatened to break away from Canada for decades and still talks about it.” — Don (Denver, CO)

”I think this is an issue that too many people are becoming hypersensitive about. Designating a common language does not diminish the meaning or principles of this country. What it does do, however, is establish a common ground of communication for all the citizens of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are a country of great diversity, but without commonality in some areas, the expression and understanding of one other gets lost in a language barrier. Ignorantly, we forget that there were immigrants before the latter part of 20th Century who saw the necessity and importance in learning English, even though it was not the established common language of the U.S.” — Stefan (New Jersey)

”English should be the official language of the U.S. It has been shown time and time again that countries in which the inhabitants speak multiple languages have nothing but trouble to show for it. Those who call American’s demand for all to speak English a racist idea should learn the difference between that and culture. It is the right and the responsibility of all true Americans to stand vigilantly in guard of our culture. Our sovereignty as a nation depends on it.” — William (Suffolk, VA)

”It is hard to understand how anyone who calls themselves American, can support having one sole language in a country founded by immigrants. English was the dominant language spoken in the first thirteen colonies, but not throughout the land we call America today. To further reinforce my argument, our fundamental freedom of speech kills all attempts to prohibit what we say or how we say it, language included. For comparison's sake, enforcing a single language in America is the equivalent of forcing all Christians to study their religion in Hebrew or Aramaic only! Silly. I would more easily support a 'common' language to help unite our American vision. Restricting speech is not a part of that American vision.” — Eleo (Detroit, MI)

”If I were president, the first thing I would do is declare English as our official language. Then, I would set up small schools across the country for English lessons only. Also, I would have all the Spanish removed from grocery labels, merchandise, etc. It would save lots of money and besides, I, like many Americans, are sick of having two sets of instructions for everything. If immigrants want to come and belong in our country, then they will surely make the effort to learn basic English, at the very least.” — Joyce (Sheffield, AL)

”I feel English should be the only language used in anything government-related. However, I feel that businesses should be able to decide if they want to continue to offer other languages to their customers. It’s their choice. It's a free country after all.” — Deborah (Portland, OR)

”It makes perfect sense to name English the official national language of America. People coming into America from any other country should make it a priority to learn the language and assimilate into the American culture. If I wanted to move to Spain and become a productive member of society there, I would fully expect that my success there would hinge on my ability to communicate in their common language. It's not a racist idea, and Harry Reid should be ashamed for suggesting such a ludicrous notion. Nobody is saying that you cannot speak more than one language, but English should be our official language.” — MaryBeth (Massachusetts)

”Not only should English be the official language of the U.S., but it should be mandatory to speak it and understand it in order to vote. Most emphatically, all ballots should be printed in English only. As a resident of South Florida for 47 years, I find it most annoying that our ballots are printed in English, as well as Spanish.” — Jan (Boca Raton, FL)

”I think English should be the national language for the U.S. Too many times, many foreigners use the, ‘I don't understand, I don't speak English’ excuse. If you want to reap the benefits of our great country, you need to walk the walk and talk the talk.” — Cynthia (Virginia)

”English should be the official language of the U.S. I remember someone saying, ‘A common language is the glue that holds a society together.’ Well, the less we can communicate, the more misunderstandings and problems we will have. Also, the majority of Americans, not illegal immigrants, would agree with a law making English the official language of the U.S.” — J.P.

”As a Canadian, I would very strongly urge the U.S. to make English the one, and only, official language of the country. Canada has two and the divisions it creates and the cost it imposes on the government (and therefore the taxpayer) is absolutely unbelievable. Our government has buried the real costs of bilingualism ever since its inception 40 years ago or so. It is insidious and will cause you nothing but problems in the long run. Use one official language and only one.” — Everett

”Absolutely. It is common sense to have the national language of the U.S. be English. I realize that we are a nation of immigrants, but you can't be bound together as a nation by common threads of citizenship if you can't communicate with each other, or if your government accommodates you in your native tongue. It can't hurt this country, only help it.” — Ayman (San Diego, CA)

”As far as I’m concerned, people can speak whichever language they want, but all government documents, laws, contracts, and other legal documents should be in English only. This is in order to preserve the meaning of the documents and laws and eliminate the ambiguity that can occur with translation. If a person is unwilling to learn the language of the law, they must be willing to put themselves at the mercy of those who understand it.” — Jerry (Tulsa, OK)

”If I was president, I would have English be the official, not common, language for the U.S. I would stop printing Spanish and English on ballots and official paperwork. I would have businesses stop offering English and Spanish for conversations over the phone. These actions would help force foreigners who choose to live in this country learn English, rather than encouraging them to only use their own language.” — Gretchen (Austin, TX)

”I absolutely would require anyone coming to live in this country to speak and understand English. The ‘melting pot’ means melting, not staying a separate solid. It is also way too costly to have all agencies cater to all languages to provide services. Bi-lingual or greater is fantastic, but one must be English.” — Charles

”I would definitely mandate English as the national/common language of the U.S., and a prerequisite for granting citizenship. A common language is the main unifying factor of any society or nation, leading to a shared/common culture, even when immigrants maintain communities where they speak their native tongue.." — Edward (Redmond, VA)

”I would make English the official language, and remove all government support for bi-lingual translations. If someone does not understand, they should have an interpreter teach them what they need to know at their expense, not the taxpayers. Many languages will always be spoken at home, but English is the one that binds us as Americans in the community.” — Mike (Austin, TX)

”I would be very aggressive in promoting our country's laws and borders. And until the laws are respected and borders secured, no other discussions would be entertained.” — Tom (Apple Valley, CA)

”Actually, it doesn't matter. Once Hispanics become the majority, they'll make it Spanish. But that's OK, because then I can start using affirmative action so I can get jobs. That sounds like a great plan to me.” — Mike

"English only is a no-brainer." — Don (Boone, NC)
"Anyone who decries that English should be an official language is simply stupid, and they are inflicting that stupidity on the rest of us and our children. I want my child to be as smart and well rounded as possible. Having the ability to learn and be exposed to different languages and cultures is a positive thing. To make a law that dictates English as the official language of America is wrong and anyone who supports it is ethnocentric and borders on being a racist." — Janie (Bethesda, MD)
"This is the United States of America, and it was founded on English-speaking principles. Being bilingual is truly an asset to anyone, but in this country English is mandatory for communication with a wide audience." — Julie (Texas)
"No way! I would actually do the opposite to ensure that no one, who had forgotten the principles by which our nation was founded upon, could do any harm to America. I would make it impossible for there to be any official language." — Frank (Portland, OR)
"You're darn tooting I would. If you want to live in America, then you need to learn our language. We shouldn’t have to learn yours." — Greg
"No, I would not. I would also make it clear that being American doesn’t mean that you are Anglo-Saxon. If you want to say immigrants need to learn our language, then 'our' means every Americans’ language." — Barry (Chicago, IL)
"No, it is simply absurd and un-American to have an official language." — Jasper (Boston, MA)
"I agree with President Bush 100 percent in regard to making English the common language. America is an English-speaking nation and it should be mandatory that immigrants learn the common language if they want to make a life here." — Mike (Boston, MA)
"Yes, if you want to be a citizen, then you must learn our language. American citizens should not have to learn yours. If you don't want to learn English then don't come here. Stay where you are and speak your language. Enough is enough." — Judy
"No, I would not. It is ridiculous to do so and goes against everything that America stands for. This is not England!" — Larry (New York, NY)