Thank you to a great first time guest writer, Tricia Driscoll. Well said!
Written by Patricia Driscoll
March 24, 2011
My husband received an interesting letter from Representative Henry Cuellar last week. It was a seemingly heartfelt request for him to attend a Veterans forum to discuss benefits and other important items relating to military veterans and retirees. Sadly, my husband missed the forum completely. It was not because he didn’t want to go, or because he couldn’t find the time. It was mostly because he couldn’t read the letter. It was entirely in Spanish. We received the letter (dated March 16th) on March 20th. By the time he got around to translating it with the aid of modern technology and friends, the forum for Webb County was already over. It seems a little odd (to me) that veterans, all of whom were required to use English in the military, would be invited to a forum to discuss the benefits and issues affecting them in another language. All veterans speak English, in theory. However, not all veterans in South Texas speak Spanish. I’m married to at least one of them. It would have definitely made more sense to print the letter in both languages if attempting to appeal to a Spanish-speaking constituency. The ironic part of the letter? There are two sentences in English: one directing him to see the reverse for the schedule and the disclaimer that “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.” Now, THAT is funny.
Just because we live on the border, just because the majority living here are predominantly Spanish-speakers, just because it saves a few dollars… doesn’t mean the attempt to send out documents in both languages for this area should be ignored. The only thing I could think of for this oversight is that the translation was meant to be put in but forgotten. We try to give the benefit of the doubt but…