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California's population is 37% Hispanic, the same as Texas. And, like Texas, the southern part of the state is most heavily Hispanic. The county I live in is 50% Hispanic; the school district (the harbinger of the future) is well over 70% Hispanic. Schools ostensibly teach ESL and bridge the gap into English; in reality, the children are taught in their mother tongue and graduate with only the most tenuous acquaintance with the language of Jefferson, Clinton, and Obama.

Now I see billboards, ads, announcements totally in Spanish. And not tourist Spanish, or high school Spanish, but the real thing. No subtitles in English.

Good thing, too. It's about time that we acknowledge and accept the fact that proper English (una lengua muerta) is a thing of the past; the future is browner and Latino. Already there are positions for Spanish speakers (who do not need to speak English at all or at the most, tourist English) and the Department of Motor Vehicles will give the written test for drivers in Spanish only (and orally, not written--no literacy required) if requested.

We see, from the examples of South America, Central America, and Mexico, what a marvellous job of uniting a people into one polity has been accomplished by the sharing of a common language. Perhaps there is hope for the future as our political differences now expressed in English divide us so sharply. Perhaps this new shared language will help us come together.

Viva la lengua viva, un cambio linguistico!

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