No Más Inglés

No Más Inglés

 

Robert stood in the late afternoon sun holding a multi-page receipt and watching two panel trucks filled with books, movies, documentaries, and television programs, silently travel across a rolling pasture on what could only be described as a wagon path.  Those two trucks, powered by the newest technology of the late twenty-first century seemingly carried not only his life work, but that of his father and grandfather.  The words emblazoned in red on both sides of each truck said it all, No Más Inglés.

 

Without hurry he walked a well-worn trail from the old barn his grandfather converted to a library about seventy-five years ago to the log cabin he lived in with his wife, father and mother.  Robert was born in 2048 and his father twenty-five years before that.  When Robert’s father was barely old enough to walk the family moved from southwest Texas to this isolated location they now proudly called home.   

 

In the backwoods of Mississippi they made a simple life reminiscent of the nineteenth century, growing and canning food and home schooling the children.  Several other families who shared concerns about immigration and increasing government intervention in peoples’ lives, as did Robert’s grandfather, moved into the area around 2030.  As long as Robert could remember the family exchanged information with similar small communities throughout the country using their most significant accommodation to the times in which they lived ─ computer technology.  This increasingly isolated community continued the traditions of their ancestors even as an invasion changed the world around them.

 

Before Robert was born his grandfather put the barn-turned-multimedia library to an unusual use.  The old man never missed an opportunity to buy books and movies and bring them home.  Garage sales, library sales, estate sales and used bookstores provided an amazing array of books.  Nothing was off limits and there was neither rhyme nor reason to the subject matter.  The books and other media had only one thing in common; they were all in English.

 

Robert joined his father on the small front porch where they silently watched a faint dust trail kicked up by the trucks.  Tall pines and hardwoods surrounded their cabin, planted long ago to provide privacy from satellites the government increasingly used to spy on its citizens.  They had no reason to talk because the story was family lore and had been repeated until the words were burned into their brains and could be recited without the slightest effort. 

 

The relationship between Europeans and Hispanics has been contentious since the cultures first clashed.  A great deal of the southwestern U.S. was once been the property of Mexico.  After a couple of hundred years of relatively unchecked immigration much of the United States returned to the hands of Hispanics.  Years of inaction by the federal government combined with a virulent political correctness that began in the late twentieth century combined to start the country on a path that would change its very identity.

 

Hispanics initially filled jobs unwanted by an increasingly technology driven economy.  They brought with them, as do all emigrants, both positive and negative elements from their societies.  Until the very late twentieth century these emigrants were not only tolerated but appreciated.  U. S. citizens took advantage of the relatively cheap labor.

 

Nearing the twentieth century’s close there were two distinct groups battling over immigration policies.  On one side of the political spectrum were those who demanded borders be closed and a strict limitation placed upon all immigration.  This position seemed initially to be greatly bolstered by the specter of worldwide terrorism in the early 21st century, but PC (political correctness) and power hungry politicians trumped even the desire for safety.  Those opposing strong immigration laws fought for lax border enforcement, which ultimately they got.  As with all societal struggles the vast majority of people sat back and watched.

 

Mexicans and others illegally entered the United States by the thousands every day for a hundred years.  Most came with no evil intent.  They had families to feed and desired a quality of life unavailable in Mexico or Central America.  The advent of universal healthcare early in the 21st century further encouraged them to come.  Eventually the sheer size of immigration created a momentum that forever altered the face of the United States.

 

Robert’s grandfather witnessed the events from his home in south Texas.  Late in 2024 he moved his family to Mississippi and began separating from this rapidly evolving society.  Moving wasn’t his first choice and it came only after years of working to turn the tide.  He participated for years in Operation Minuteman, an on and off effort to shame the government into protecting the border by citizen involvement.  He donated frequently to groups wanting English as the official language of the United States. 

 

We all know by now these efforts proved fruitless.  As the number of emigrants grew larger it became easier for them to live in separate communities and less important to assimilate.  The PC police fought constantly to require ever greater accommodation for the perceived needs of these groups.  Some suggested that illegal aliens be allowed to vote and others made it easier for them to collect welfare and even attend college at a reduced cost.  Untold numbers of illegal aliens crossed the border to have their children; who would be citizens merely because they were born in the United States.  The notion that place of birth alone determined their right for citizenship was never seriously challenged. 

 

Radical change started innocuously enough with a small number of schools teaching Hispanic children in Spanish.  Signs in Spanish became more common, and then products bearing both English and Spanish on their wrappings were the norm.  More and more businesses started advertising their ability to communicate in Spanish. 

 

Schools in many areas of the country began language immersion programs designed primarily to teach Spanish to English speaking children.  The number of Spanish only newspapers, television and radio stations increased rapidly.       

 

These events didn’t happen overnight and people became used to seeing two languages everywhere.  More and more individuals of Hispanic descent were elected to public office.  The government printed myriads of forms in Spanish and by the mid twenty-first century all new state and federal employees were required to speak Spanish and English.  Informally everyone knew that speaking Spanish could land you a job without knowing even the most basic English.

 

Robert recalled the Leyes de Idioma (Language Laws) push that began about one hundred years after the Civil Rights movement and how it used many of the same tactics.  Liberals flocked to support these laws with arguments reminiscent of Martin Luther King.  They argued that all who live in the United States should have the right to shop and do business and seek medical care without discrimination due to language.  The first Leyes de Idioma were designed to force businesses to have Spanish on all documents, signs, and any form of written communication.  They were followed a few years later by the requirement that larger businesses have at least one Spanish speaking employee on duty any time they were open.  Movies began distributing films in both Spanish and English.  The threat of lawsuits and politically correct Hollywood readily pushed the industry toward this new reality.             

 

Shortly before the Leyes de Idioma were passed more private schools began teaching Hispanic students only in Spanish, but mostly to a small percentage of influential and wealthy families.  After their passage many public school systems in little towns along the border began teaching only in Spanish.  This trend spread to ever larger systems where emigrants comprised a substantial majority. 

 

Robert’s two younger brothers and a sister, just eleven months his senior, had all moved away.  They cared little about politics and failed to see any harm in the changing face of the United States.  One brother and his sister married Hispanics and they routinely spoke Spanish.  Robert stayed put, doing a bit of farming and supporting the family’s effort to collect books printed in English and in fact most any form of entertainment or educational programs where English was spoken.  Even though he remained, it was only in the past five years that he had begun to truly understand why preserving English was so important.

 

In 2048, the year of Robert’s birth, he was already a minority.  He had never lived for one day in a country in which he was part of the majority.  Nevertheless, the United States continued merrily along treating Anglos as the majority from whom rights and wealth were to be extracted in favor of minorities.  Hispanics became the “minority” of choice in the mid twenty-first century supplanting African-Americans even though an African-American had been elected President in 2008.  It was, however, the rapid erosion of his civil rights that amazed and scared Robert.

 

The sound of plates rattling in the kitchen meant supper would soon be on the table.  Power generation made their lives relatively comfortable, at least for those who had not fully experienced the twenty-first century.  Huge solar panels and a windmill, augmented when necessary by generators, made possible hot water, and electricity.  Telephone lines were twentieth century antiquities so the family wasn’t required to depend on an outside entity for any type of service.

 

The history books Robert studied described how civil rights morphed into affirmative action during the twentieth century.  He recalled a saying that went something like, “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”  For him there was no truer statement. 

 

The Leyes de Idioma first required Spanish to be available for all.  No one ever suggested that English would be unavailable, that is, no one suggested it until the laws had been in effect for about twenty years.  The Español Sólo (Spanish Only) movement began with wild eyed radicals whose slogan “No Más Inglés” was ignored by the vast majority of citizens.  This would prove to be a fatal mistake.

 

The arguments for Español Sólo went virtually unnoticed by the “mainstream” news outlets and politicians.  Satellite providers began providing an option for subscribers to receive only Spanish channels.  The few large city newspapers left printed both English and Spanish editions.  At some point in the mid 21st century it became possible in the United States to live in communities that were simply never exposed to English.

 

Of course there were other separate communities as well.  African-Americans, under an ever increasing Muslim influence, began to establish more and more isolated communities.  Arabs continued to come and created their own communities.  The idea of assimilation was no longer politically correct.  By the middle of the 21st century the United States had become a nation of racial and religious groups often divided by language and brought together by nothing.  

 

The Christian, mostly Catholic, Hispanics worked with the Muslims to increase their joint influence.  The “No Más Inglés” movement was the first break in this alliance.  Some Arabs were perfectly willing to destroy English, but even they recognized that eventually all languages other than Spanish would be eliminated.

 

After supper Robert left the house and returned to the now empty barn.  He swung open the large barn door and turned on a light.  Empty shelves covered both side walls from floor to ceiling.  Two long tables, once filled with books, now showed scrapes and scars that came from years of use.  Robert remembered with fondness the days he spent sitting at those tables while being home schooled.  He smiled grimly and moved to the center of the building.

 

Robert took a long screwdriver from his back pocket and pried up a board in the floor, then carefully moved two more boards before peering into a black hole.  He gingerly climbed down several old wooden steps to a space hardly large enough to stand in and felt for the familiar handle of a door leading to an underground room.  Once inside a motion sensor switch turned on lights and he quickly closed the door.

 

This underground room, ten feet below the ground, was about one half the size of the barn.  It had been here since Robert was a child and like the room above, it was constantly being filled, though not by books.       

 

As the 21st century continued its ever increasing reliance on technology fewer and fewer books were published on paper.  Most were electronic and read by everything from special readers to cell phones to computer and television screens.  Until recently with the push of a button you could take a publication written in Spanish and turn it into English or most any language spoken in the world.  New laws made it illegal to translate works into English.  Of course these laws could no more prevent such translations than the law could prevent drug abuse.  However, in the long term there would be greater and greater pressure not to use English and that was the real purpose of the laws.

 

Robert pushed a button and three large computer screens popped up from a row of tables.  He sat down and spoke one word, “Library.”  The screens worked in tandem to provide an index of books.  Robert smiled remembering the many hours and days his family had spent scanning and backing up every book they could put their hands on.  Fearing that the day might come when their books would be confiscated the family had used the only method of protecting them they could.

 

The underground room had become much more than a digital library and communications center.  From this hidden space Robert now led a widely scattered organization dedicated to maintaining an English speaking nation.  Secession was no longer merely an ancient idea by Southern patriots.  Thousands of people throughout the United States again prepared to do whatever was necessary to regain their way of life.

 

Three wooden plaques hung on support posts behind his desk.  Each of them a quotation etched into wood by Robert’s grandfather.  In no particular order they reflected important truths for the family and those who shared their goals.

 

“A society that will trade a little order for a little freedom will lose both, and deserve neither.” Thomas Jefferson

 

"Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history, and denies them their symbols, has sewn the seed of its own destruction."

Sir William Wallace, 1281

 

 

"Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again."

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

 

 

Not since he first agreed to participate in the movement had a decision been so difficult.  This time thousands would disrupt their lives and some might die.  Of course Robert couldn’t force others to follow him, but he had quickly risen to a position of unofficial authority due mostly to his reasoned and articulate ideas.  The message he was preparing to send out couldn’t have been much shorter since it consisted of just two words, but these two words might well be the beginning of the end of the United States of America. 

 

“Message,” Robert said to activate the computer.  The middle screen indicated ready and he took a deep breath.  “Carpe diem.”  After 30 seconds without further words being spoken the computer automatically closed its transmission program. 

 

It had been determined this would be the day to send that message for over six months, but still Robert wondered at the coincidence.  The same day his books were confiscated he officially notified an unknown number of people that separation was to begin.  Unfortunately for Robert’s family their new land wouldn’t be in Mississippi or even the South. 

 

Utah, Idaho, Montana and parts of Colorado and Wyoming formed the nucleus of their new country; one whose citizens could proudly speak English.  During the last five years thousands of acres had been purchased for the new settlers.  Secret deals were made with various state governments.  There remained enough sympathetic high level officials in the military and federal government to stave off an immediate all out attack. 

 

A large number of like-minded military units were conducting disaster training in the area and would be moving to pre-designated positions within their new nation.  It would only take days, maybe hours, for the migration to begin in earnest.  Thousands of local communities had begun preparing to receive their new citizens. 

 

Robert picked up a small box containing a complete digital record of their activities and of course all the media they had copied.  He left the underground room for the last time, replacing the boards that hid its existence.

 

Walking back to his cabin Robert could only wonder again if this would be the beginning of a new and free English speaking nation. 

 
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