Module 9A / The Duties of Citizens
Citizens and residents of the U.S. sometimes write their
opinions in “Letters to the Editor.” These appear in local
newspapers, and other readers may write answers. In small
groups, discuss these “Letters to the Editor” and write
answers to them.
Many states are changing their laws, even their
constitutions, to make English the ofﬁcial state
language. Why do they want these “English
only” laws? People use English all over America!
Of course, everybody should learn English, but
I’m afraid that these new laws will discriminate
against me and my people. My native language is
important to me. I want to use it when I pray and
when I have meetings with friends from “the old
country.” I also put bilingual signs in my store, and
I want my children to continue to get bilingual help
in school. I know my English will never be good
enough to understand voting or tax documents, so I
want the government to continue to prepare these
papers in two languages. I believe that a great
nation should have plenty of room for different
cultures and languages.
Why should I pay my taxes honestly? My
neighbor makes dresses, and she doesn’t pay tax
on her earnings from them. I am a waitress and
I don’t want to report my tips. What does the
government do with all that tax money? The city
hasn’t repaired our street. Gangs, not the police,
are controlling our neighborhood. There are not
enough teachers in my daughter’s school. After I
pay my tax bill each year, I have no money left to
buy health insurance. When my daughter broke
her arm last year, my husband and I had to spend
$3000 of our own money because the government
didn’t give us any help.
In your local newspaper, ﬁnd a letter of interest about a
national, state, or local issue. Read and discuss it as a
class. You might want to write an answer together and
send it to the newspaper.