Semi-political content ahead. If you’re at all touchy about issues like this, skip this blog post, ‘mmmkay? If you like hearing other people’s views on stuff with an open mind, then read on.
In case you didn’t know, faithful reader, where I live – I maintain my residence in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia. Politically, I consider myself an average American - I lean slightly to the right (fiscal conservative) but otherwise, I think I’m mostly middle-of-the-road. I’m pro-immigration, anti-illegal immigration. Of course, in the San Francisco Bay Area, this practically makes me a member of the religious right, comparatively speaking. Which brings me to my rant…
This morning, I have received no less than FOUR CALLS on my phone from the county of Santa Clara. While that’s not an unusual event, the fact that they are all in Spanish is. For those not in the know, my maternal grandmother is a Spanish immigrant, so I’m 1/4 Spanish. Between that heritage and taking three years of Spanish in high school, I’ve got enough language skills to decipher what people are saying, and I can carry on a conversation in kind of a stuttering Spanish pidgin.
Anyway, this phone call is an automated service provided by the county (ie, my dollars are paying for this) and they’re trying to poll people about some voter issue (I didn’t quite make it out, partially due to the fact that I was having an apoplectic fit everytime the phone rang.) On the second call, I hit “0” to get an operator, and within 30 seconds, I had an operator on the line.
“Bueno?” he says.
“Good morning, I’d like to speak to your supervisor, please,” I say, figuring I can at least vent a little bit to the person in charge.
“No hablo Ingles!” the guy on the other end of the line says, and instantly he hangs up.
Now, I’m more than a little bit pissed off, but I figure that’s probably the end of it. How naive I was. No less than 10 minutes later, the phone rings again.
I answer the phone, and get the same automated Spanish message. I punch “0” again, figuring maybe now I’ll have a chance to speak my mind. I get an operator, and say, “Good morning, I’d like to speak to your supervisor, please.” Guess what happens? Yep, the same “No hablo Ingles!” and instant hangup, this time, from a female voice.
Fast forward 10 minutes, and the phone rings again. Same song and dance with the automated bot speaking in Spanish, I hit “0”, and get the same “No hablo” runaround. By now, I’m really irate, so I *69 the phone and punch 0 again.
A minute or so later, I get the now-familiar “Bueno?” response. “Hello,” I begin politely, “I’d like to speak…” I get cut off with laughter and yet another hang up.
Clearly, I can’t speak with these people. And that’s the core complaint of this rant. We maintain a relatively loose and open culture - collectively, as Americans, our culture is literally the “mutt” of the world. We are (or used to be) that melting pot, where we all took the best of every culture and played to everyone’s strengths.
Somewhere along the line, though, we stopped “melting” and started what I call “excessive tolerance”. We started catering to every obscure group out there, and worrying about everyone’s opinion. As a result of some of this excesssive tolerance, the newer arrivals in this country stopped trying to assimliate (because they no longer HAD to) and just started up their own localized territories, where everything was in their own language and culture.
So instead of getting the best from every culture - the melting pot, like what happened during the early 1900s when we underwent a huge immigration boom, what’s happening is a segmentation of the American population. We’ve got extremely large blobs of population, who are physically, geographically, and culturally different from what’s considered “mainstream” America. These people are not assimilating, they are actively RESISTING and trying to NOT become part of our country. And what’s really pissing me off is the government is actively supporting this effort!
I’m all for diversity - all people and culture bring something to the table, and we all benefit when we work together. This whole immigration issue, however, has been badly handled for years, and we’re starting to see a fracturing of our entire culture (yes, OUR CULTURE, the AMERICAN culture) as a result.
This little telemarketing incident, courtesy of my county government, is merely a symptom of the overall problem. While this symptom right now has provoked my ire and prompted me to write this blog entry, it’s not the problem – sadly, the problem is far more serious and runs a lot deeper and across multiple issues, and can’t be solved by a few letters to our state assembly. I could go on and on with respect to multiple issues like education, welfare, and other state policies, but I’d probably take several hundred kilobytes of space not to mention a good deal of your time.
All I can say is, if you’re as disheartened as I am with our government, it’s time to act. At the next election, vote - and vote these guys out of office. They haven’t been doing a good job at all, in my opinion, and while the next guy may not be any better, we’ll never know if we don’t get out there, and speak our mind by voting at the polls.
That’s just my opinion, though - I could be wrong.