Rep. Steve King thinks diversity is stupid, and wants you to speak English, dammit.

Diversity is destroying the very fabric of our society.

Rep. Steve King held a press conference today after a hearing on his bill to make English the official US language. He seems thinks that the bill will help us speak with a “common voice,” and that those of us who champion diversity and multiculturalism are ruining everything.

You can laugh. I did.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that diversity has never been America’s strong suit, so lawmakers should pass his bill to make English the official U.S. language in the name of unifying the nation.

“One of the great things about America is we’ve been unified by a common language. That common language, of course, is English,” King said during a press conference on his bill. “Our language is getting subdivided by some forces of the federal government. It is time to speak with a common voice.”

King talked to reporters just after the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on his measure, which would require all federal government communications, including voter and ballot materials, to be conducted in English. His proposal would also nullify a Clinton-era requirement that federal agencies provide interpreters for non-English speakers for certain activities.

The bill has no chance of becoming law, but it has come under fire from immigration activists who say it would isolate immigrant populations. Others have charged that groups pushing for the bill are racist.

King pushed back on both charges and said his bill is aimed at bringing the country together. After all, he said, diversity has never been America’s strong point.

“The argument that diversity is our strength has really never been backed up by logic,” King told The Huffington Post. “It’s unity is where our strength is. Our Founding Fathers understood that. Modern-day multiculturalists are defying that.”

The Iowa Republican called it “offensive” that anyone would say his bill has racist overtones, particularly when talking about a society “as inclusive as America.”

“They should be specific about that rather than just hurl that out there,” he said of people who make racist claims about his bill. “That divides people.”

“Inclusive.” Riiiight. The thing is, Steve, is that you’ve already informed us what your ideal society would look like, and it has fuck-all to do with inclusivity.

[full post at ABLC]

65 replies
  1. 1
    bemused says:

    King has Michele Bachmann eyes. They speak with a common voice that I’d rather not share.

  2. 2
    SteveinSC says:

    If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for you.

  3. 3
    Spatula says:

    Steve King is without a doubt a complete douche brain.

    That said, how can you really argue with the logic that any society is going to be more cohesive and unified with a common language?

    That said, I’ve wondered if it might actually be a GOOD thing for the U.S. to eventually split up into a few smaller pieces as a means of diluting its stupidity and power to do harm. One way to expedite that would be to let languages other than English become dominant in various regions.

    History is full of examples of language barriers splitting countries apart.

  4. 4
    Schlemizel says:

    I can’t laugh. I grew up in a neighborhood of immigrants. Most of my friends grandparents came to the US from someplace else. Few spoke English often. They shopped, worshiped and communed where their birth language was spoken (Swedish, German, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Finnish – it was a mixed bag ‘O nuts). My friend parents were largely bi-lingual (my grandparents were German & 2nd gen Swedish) and my friends wouldn’t even take their grandparents language in high school because they wanted nothing to do with the old world. I took Latin because my mother had already taught me to speak German – I’m stupid! Walk away from an easy A just because I thought learning should be fun.

    These jingoistic bastards have no clue – or at least pretend to not understand – this is how the world has worked from day 1 in the US.

  5. 5
    Narcissus says:

    “Our language is getting subdivided by some forces of the federal government. It is time to speak with a common voice.”

    This is some X-Files shit. What is it with these people?

  6. 6
    jl says:


    ” Our language is getting subdivided by some forces of the federal government. ”

    And this dude is going to show us how to speak a ‘unified’ English?

    OK. Whatever he says.

    Edit: I think King is going to flip out soon. I don’t see how this nutcase can last. I predict Gohmert style flameout in his future.

    Edit: An’ anyways, pard, I talk Ammmmhaarrrican! No wimpy soshulist English for this guy.

  7. 7
    The Populist says:

    And I bet that when Steve King’s parents snuck in or came here back in the day they were viewed as threats to the fabric of life too. Diversity allows people to thrive.

    Idiots and a pox on all of them (the idiots like Steve King I mean).

  8. 8
    The Populist says:

    @jl: I’ve spent time in Iowa and the South. I can say with great certainty that whatever it is these people speak, it isn’t English in the proper sense.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    It is time to speak with a common voice.

    No problemo.

  10. 10
    Weaselone says:

    @Spatula: One can certainly make that argument, and I don’t necessarily have any stance as far as passing legislation that deems something the “official” US language in the way that say Brand X is the Official Product Y of Team Z, but the asshat is loading his bill with other goodies which essentially make the federal government inaccessible to those who do not speak English.

  11. 11
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    I can’t even laugh to keep from crying right now, ABL.

    I mean, the jingoistic nativism should be obvious, but realize this too: this is the shit the House is devoting its time to, along with the usual bi-week Slut Shaming bill of some sort, but nothing ever ever ever on Jobs.

    And the GOP is probably going to keep the House come November where they’ll get to keep doing this shit over and over and over again, never paying a goddamn price.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    I can’t wait to see the representatives from Louisiana throw themselves onto this bandwagon and the “only US laws apply here!” bandwagons, only to remember too late that (a) French is the (unofficial) second language of their state and (b) all of their state laws are based on the Napoleonic Code, so they’ll have to throw that foreign shit out and start over again with REAL AMERICAN laws.

  13. 13
    gbear says:

    Someone needs to tell King that a lack of diversity kills corn.

  14. 14
    hep kitty says:

    It is really, really hard to stay sober when you realize these people are running the country.

  15. 15
    jayboat says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if this stupid fuck has done 10 minutes worth of real work since he got elected.

  16. 16
    SteveinSC says:

    Now I’m wondering: Should I go on with my glossolalia classes?

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:

    And the GOP is probably going to keep the House come November

    Not if I can help it.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Brian S says:

    If you want to help knock this fuckstick out of Congress, give some money to Christy Vilsack. She’s got a legitimate chance to take him out.

  20. 20
    Lojasmo says:

    Something something congress and free speech?

    +3. What do I know?

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:


    [T]he asshat is loading his bill with other goodies which essentially make the federal government inaccessible to those who do not speak English.

    Exactly. Here in California, apparently English has been our official language since 1986, but King’s bill would ban us from printing state ballots in other languages so that naturalized citizens whose first language is not English can understand the ballot measures. And given that the ballot measures are deliberately written in such a way as to try and confuse native English speakers into voting for them, it’s a pretty bald attempt by Republicans to prevent naturalized citizens from finding out what that pretty-sounding initiative actually means.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, I want to make a new rule: if your city, state, or county has a name that is not derived from English, you have to STFU about all of these horrible people who don’t speak English.

    Tiny hint to Steve King: “Iowa” is not an English word.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    As I understand American history, Spanish is much longer established than English in the formerly Mexican southwest. French language and culture and Napoleonic law are not foreign things in Louisiana, which has ties to the wider francophone world. America’s founding fathers did consider adopting some national language other than English. It must take a lot of historical denial for Steve King to insist that English is the one true language of America.

  25. 25
    greennotGreen says:

    The English language itself has its diversity of influences to thank for its huge vocabulary and expressiveness. That’s part of the reason it’s so widely spoken around the world. As H.L. Mencken wrote, “A living language is like a man suffering incessantly from small haemorrhages, and what it needs above all else is constant transactions of new blood from other tongues. The day the gates go up, that day it begins to die.”

    As for Steve King, he’s a *moron, **idiot, ***dumbhead, ****buffoon, and a *****schmuck.
    ****Old Italian

  26. 26
    PeakVT says:

    @Amir Khalid: No denial is necessary for the ignorant. Willfully ignorant, in King’s case.

  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    @Amir Khalid: When the vote to decide the language of government was being held, the two choices were English and German. English won by one vote.

  28. 28
    jl says:



    ***German? Really? Where is the scheiss?

  29. 29
  30. 30
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Considering all the other things that can and usually will destroy a country given enough time, I say any country that falls apart due to having more than one language was like a lame horse just waiting for the bullet in the first place.

    I mean, if this country can survive this guy, more than one language shouldn’t be a problem.

  31. 31
    handy says:


    It’s so bizarre that if this were a character in a book saying this you would immediately wince at the obvious axe to grind the author has for creating such a straw man. As it happens, the author would be describing something frighteningly real.

  32. 32
    greennotGreen says:

    @jl: Did you mean, is “dumbhead” really derived from “Dummkopf”, or why didn’t I use the more appropriate “Scheiss”?

    The answer to the first is, yes, and the answer to the second is, the current English is derived rather directly from Old English. The English of yore had no need to import Scheiss from the continent.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    jl says:


    Thanks. I had German speaking oldster relatives around me as a child.

    German plus insults equals lots of Scheiss combos.

    Reflex reaction on my part.

  35. 35
    Amir Khalid says:

    @A Humble Lurker:
    Further to your point: If having more than one language were a surefire cause of national disintegration, India would have broken up centuries ago.

  36. 36
    greennotGreen says:

    @jl: Yeah, I imagine every language has its own word for Scheiss!

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Yutsano: Old wives’ tale. The vote was on whether to run up some of the early Federal statutes in both languages, due to the large number of German-speakers mostly in PA.

  38. 38
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Did he just say “unity is our strength”? Not a word to fling around casually, but doesn’t that sound a bit… fascist?

  39. 39
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Oh wait… my bad. (heh.) He said: It’s unity is where our strength is.

    Apparently King would be the first person prosecuted under this proposed law.

  40. 40
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SteveinSC: Jesus said things like “Verily, I say unto you,” which is a little stilted, but I don’t think he ever used “is” twice in the same phrase with no conjunction.

    Heck, I don’t even know if Semitic languages have copula verbs. Have to ask my wife.

  41. 41
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Spatula: Uh, like Switzerland?

    You do realize we have sizable populations in this country that speak little English, if at all. And most of them were born here.

  42. 42
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Arabic doesn’t, at least in the present tense.

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    I always have trouble mistaking Rep. Steve King (Douchebag – IA) and Rep. Peter King (Asshole -NY).

  44. 44
    handy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Koine Greek, the language through which JC’s words have been transmitted down to us, does something weird. Like English, it had copular verbs but in a pithy phrase like SteveinSC’s, usually they would be lopped off so you end up with something like, “English being good enough for Jesus, good enough for you.”

  45. 45
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @greennotGreen: Rare for only one to exist: Latin has fimus, stercus, caca, and faeces when used figuratively.

    Faeces, like much Latin-into-English (vagina, lit. ‘scabbard, sheath’; penis, lit. ‘tail’ e.g.), was actually a euphemism in the original.

  46. 46
    mary says:

    When I was a child (about the same time Steve King was a child), there were still people in Iowa who spoke Dutch, German, or Norwegian. For some of these people, English seemed to be a second language. These weren’t immigrants but native-born Americans. They just lived in insulated one-ethnic towns like Amana, Decorah or Pella. So it seems ironic that he is so offended by this now. What could be the difference? Let me think…

  47. 47
    Spatula says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    You do realize we have sizable populations in this country that speak little English, if at all. And most of them were born here.

    Of course I realize that. And I don’t think it’s a great feature for long term stability, wherever the case.

    But as I said above, that’s fine with me. The U.S. could stand some eventual splitting up. Look what happens when this huge, mentally retarded country goes staggering around the globe stirring up shit.

  48. 48
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mike in NC: Peter King (Sinn Fein)

  49. 49
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Spatula: The loss of our unchallenged imperial power is baked in the cake already.

  50. 50
    Jeffrey Kramer says:

    Thank Jesus the founders rejected that foreign socialist slogan “e pluribus unum” (“out of many, one”) as our national motto, and went with “English, motherfucker! Speak it!”

  51. 51
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Bush couldn’t even speak proper English, yet I’m sure that King supported him. Ditto Palin. This is some kind of “Brown people aren’t American” propaganda.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Aren’t the All American folks watching at home just loving that uniforming English languaging we’re all doing all the time for the forming of our family valuing life styling gosh darniting God Bless Amaricaning?

    I aming.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @A Humble Lurker:

    Considering all the other things that can and usually will destroy a country given enough time, I say any country that falls apart due to having more than one language was like a lame horse just waiting for the bullet in the first place.


    Switzerland has three languages. Belgium has two. Other countries in Europe give some sort of special status to this or that regional/ethnic dialect when this or that subculture wants to “not lose its heritage.” All those countries are comparatively less diverse (in terms of the whole melting-pot, “nation of immigrants” thing) than the United States, and these differences aren’t even close to tearing any of them apart.

    King is stirring up shit about a threat that doesn’t exist, but then, that’s not exactly an innovation for a conservative.

  54. 54
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Racist congressman remains racist.

    I’ve long admired this piece on bilingual ballots:

    If you’ve gone through the long process of acquiring American citizenship, you’ve had to sign an affidavit that you are not a Communist or sympathizer, you’ve promised under penalty of perjury that you will not indulge in drunkenness or immoral behavior while in the United States, you’ve sworn an oath of allegiance to the country, you’ve promised to join the military if directed to do so, you’ve abstained from marijuana, polygamy, illegal gambling, prostitution, and moral turpitude, you’ve demonstrated to an examiner that you can speak and write basic English, and you’ve passed a basic test on American history, government, and law. In other words, you’ve demonstrated a readiness to vote far beyond the one criterion required of native-born American voters – a pulse. The rational argument to make, if you are truly concerned about the tenor of the civic conversation, is that Americans born in the United States should be required to pass the same kind of screening process as naturalized immigrants.

  55. 55
    Citizen_X says:

    @Another Halocene Human: “Is” appears three times in the sentence “It’s unity is where our strength is.” Unless “it’s” is a misquote of the possessive “its.” Then the problem is the lack of any noun that has said unity. Maybe it’s flying around in Steve King’s head.

  56. 56
    Nick says:

    I’m pretty sure that German was almost a language of the US government in addition to English, not in place of it.

  57. 57

    @Nick: That was covered above, in the Snopes link by Joseph Nobles:

  58. 58
    Bago says:

    @Spatula: Well, learning multiple languages encourages abstract thought, and dumbkopfs like king view it as a threat to their power.

  59. 59
    Steve says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Is it really true that most Americans who exclusively speak a foreign language were born here? I have trouble believing that. A lot of people come here and never learn English, but most immigrants educate their children in English. Something that people like Steve King never realize, as they rant about immigrants who don’t want to assimilate, is that 99% of Mexican-American immigrants speak English by the third generation. So I’m curious if you have a statistic to back up what you said.

  60. 60
    Interrobang says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Hebrew doesn’t either in the present tense. It gets around that using some really weird idioms and syntax at times, but what would translate into English as “The book good” is a perfectly grammatical sentence in Hebrew. There’s a fair bit more Indo-European in modern Hebrew than in Arabic, but it does also have that same feature.

    Canada also has two official languages (English and French), and a host of regional/local language concentrations (largest population of native Scots Gaelic speakers in the world, for instance, even including Scotland, as far as I know), so depending where you are, you might see materials and signage in all kinds of languages. In Toronto, that can change depending on which neighbourhood you’re in at the time — I can think of areas with Greek, Chinese, and Vietnamese street signs, just off the top. (Bilingual English/Greek street signage in Toronto.)

    You know, if you really wanted rid of him, you could gift him with a trip to TO and see how long it takes his head to asplode.

  61. 61
    Bruce says:

    Let’s go back to the time when we spoke “with a common voice.”

    Let’s go back, say, to Quincy, Illinois, of 1858, for the sixth of the Lincoln – Douglas debates. Following hours of debate, the Republicans went to the courthouse for still more speechifying, including one speech–in German!–by Carl Schurz.*

    Schurz, born in Germany, was an “American statesman and reformer, and Union Army General”. In other words, a foreigner, whose voice should not be heard.

    Perhaps we can look forward, past Mr. King, to a time when a candidate will have several speeches on their behalf, in whatever Muttersprache is best known to the listeners.

    *(Guelzo, Lincoln and Douglas p. 254.)

  62. 62
    ottercliff says:

    As Boston was the place where it all started, I think we should mandate speaking “Boston English”. You know, “Pak yur cah”. This has the further benefit of making the silly crap that comes out of Steve King’s mouth illegal as it is spoken in that abnormal Iowa dialect which, like Spanish, Mooslim, and other inferior languages, can no longer be spoken.

  63. 63

    Steve King is one creepy-ass motherfucker. I’m still slightly sick from hearing him talking about kidnapping and raping 13 year olds like it’s something he’s thought long and hard about.

  64. 64
    jayjaybear says:

    @mary: Lawrence Welk was born and raised in one of that type of town (Strasburg, ND). He was 100% natural-born American but sounded like he learned English from a teach-yourself course.

  65. 65
    PWL says:

    Inclusive, eh?

    All I can think of is Oscar Wilde’s comment about Britain and America: “Two countries divided by a common language.” And when Stephen King and his fellow bigots and hate-mongers speak in English, that’s what happens in this country–division.

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