copyright © 2006 Todd Ristau

There Ought To Be Limits To Freedom

By Todd Wm. Ristau

(Lights up to reveal three people on stage behind a table. Each faces front with their scripts in front of them. They are, from audience’s left to right, SPANISH SPEAKER, ENGLISH SPEAKER, and AMUHRIKAN. They all speak their native tongue.)

SPANISH SPEAKER: Soy un americano.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I am an American.

AMUHRIKAN: I’m proud to be an Amuhrikan.



AMUHRIKAN: (awkward pause) That thing that’s on the money, next to In God We Trust.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Eso es Latin. El latín es una lengua muerta. Continúa siendo utilizada para subrayar que algo es importante, intemporal, y inalterables.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: That is latin. Latin is a dead language. It continues to be used to underscore that something is important, timeless, and unchanging.

AMUHRIKAN: Latin is lawyer talk, and when a lawyer talks, you better listen. Its, see, it’s a dead language, but when something is dead, that doesn’t mean it stops being important. Lotta dead things are real important. But Latin isn’t Latino, see what I mean-o?

SPANISH SPEAKER: Es nuestro lema nacional.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: It is our national motto.

AMUHRIKAN: Motto-o. Heh. That means it is an expression of something we all agree on. We believe it. It’s important. Important enough to put on money.

SPANISH SPEAKER: En enpsanol, significa "fuera de muchos, uno."

ENGLISH SPEAKER: In English, it means "Out of many, one."

AMUHRIKAN: We’re all in this together. So let’s set our differences aside and be like each other. You be like me and we’ll all get along better.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que no significa que el muchos se deben golpear, formado, y su unicidad transformada en un solo sameness uniforme

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that does not mean that the many should be pounded, shaped, and their uniqueness transformed into a single uniform sameness.

AMUHRIKAN: What the money is telling you, is simply put, put your trust in God and be like he made most of us. Be the same as us, and we’ll be unified. A perfect union. The United States. It’s real simple.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que ha significado siempre que muchos subconjuntos diversos crean un conjunto que sea mayor debido a sus muchas piezas únicas. Creo que el que esta' descrito en nuestro lema nacional existe exacto para proteger, y para no eliminar, qué significa el muchos que lo abarcan.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that it has always meant that many diverse subsets create a whole which is greater because of its many unique parts. I believe that the One described in our national motto exists precisely to protect, and not eliminate, what signifies the many which comprise it.

AMUHRIKAN: We’re a nation of immigrants. I understand that. But we need a common language so that we can understand each other better. If you want to be an American, that means you have to walk, talk, and act like one. It’s simple. If you want to be here, then you should want to be like us.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que es incorrecta y contra-Americana exigir, por ley, que los servicios y las comunicaciones protegidas por esos mismos leyes, estén negadas a las que no hablen un solo, unificando, lengua nacional.


ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe it is wrong and anti-American to demand, by law, that services and communications protected by those same laws, be denied to those who do not speak a single, unifying, national language.

AMUHRIKAN: You can’t be pro-America and anti-English. It’s absurd. And its dangerous. We’re in a new kind of world, and we need faster, better, more easy ways to identify enemies of America. Language is just another tool in the war on terror.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que aquélla de las cosas que hace esta nación la nación más grande en la tierra es que el mejores, el más brillantes, la más valerosos, y la mayoría del desear las ofertas de América de la libertad han venido aquí y han contribuido su talento, trabajo, y amor apasionado de la libertad incluso en el gran coste personal.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that one of the things which makes this nation the greatest nation on earth is that the best, brightest, most courageous, and most desiring the freedom America offers have come here and contributed their talent, labor, and passionate love of freedom even at great personal cost.

AMUHRIKAN: Look, diversity is an important part of the melting pot, the great tapestry of America. My ancestors weren’t born here. But you have to understand that we’re not trying to keep out the good people. We’re trying to keep out the ones who aren’t willing to do the hard work of becoming real Americans, and one obvious way to prove that is to learn our language. It’s simple. I’m not saying don’t speak whatever talk you were born talking, just be able to talk the talk I’m talking so we can understand each other better. Why don’t they want to understand us? That ought to be a red flag. We’re just trying to force people who want to be here to be a little more understanding, to understand us better.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que la lengua materna de inmigrantes es un regalo que traen nuestra nación y no una arma necesitamos proteger nuestra nación contra.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that the native tongue of immigrants is a gift they bring our nation and not a weapon we need to protect our nation against.

AMUHRIKAN: I think it’d be great if more people could hablo and speakee or spankenzee, but that’s a choice people who were born in America have the freedom to make for themselves.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que cuando la mayoría de una nación habla ya un lenguaje común, esa lengua es ya la lengüeta nacional y así que cualquier esfuerzo de hacer cumplir legalmente que la lengüeta es exclusionary... y contrariamente a la misma misión de la nación.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that when the majority of a nation already speak a common language, that language is already the national tongue and so any effort to legally enforce that tongue is exclusionary…and contrary to the very mission of the nation.

AMUHRIKAN: Almost everybody in America already speaks English. People need to stop fussing about this, relax, and get over it. You don’t have to speak good English, we’re not saying that. You only have to speak it as good as the President. How hard is that?

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que el mundo sería un lugar mejor si ciudadanos nacidos más nativos de los Estados Unidos tomaron el tiempo e hicieron el esfuerzo que están procurando requerir de altavoces no-Ingleses... para hacer fluidos en una lengua y para esforzarse para entender una cultura que no sea su la propia.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that the world would be a better place if more native born citizens of the United States took the time and made the effort they are attempting to require of non-English speakers…to become fluent in a language and endeavor to understand a culture which is not their own.

AMUHRIKAN: Assimilation is what has made this country great. Have you ever eaten Mexican food in Mexico? Nothing is going to make you more homesick for America than that. The best of what other countries have to offer is already in our stores, on our TVs and on our radios. If we don’t already have an American version, it isn’t worth having.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que la mayoría de los americanos que son abogados del inglés pues la lengua oficial de los Estados Unidos es apenas fluida o entendida en inglés ellos mismos.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that most of the Americans who are advocates of English as the Official Language of the United States are barely fluent or conversant in English themselves.

AMUHRIKAN: That’s typical pro-illegal, pro-terrorist, Bush-bashing freedom-hater talk.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que la libertad del discurso también incluye la lengua en la cual usted está hablando.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that freedom of speech also includes the language in which you are speaking.

AMUHRIKAN: There ought to be limits to freedom.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Creo que la libertad está realmente libre... que un derecho inalienable, concedido por el creador.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that freedom actually is free…that is an inalienable right granted by the creator–and is the right of everyone….(indicating AMUHRIKAN)…even him.

AMUHRIKAN: Thank you.

SPANISH SPEAKER: Denada. (pause) Creo que debemos parar el dar de nuestros freedoms lejos mientras que nos fingimos los estamos protegiendo.

ENGLISH SPEAKER: I believe that we should stop giving our freedoms away while we pretend we are protecting them.


(lights fade to black.)


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