Sunday, April 27, 2008

The CapTimes and language in Wisconsin

Yesterday was the last day that Madison's progressive daily newspaper, the Capital Times appeared in a broadsheet edition. We've known for several years that the good old CapTimes couldn't last and they announced earlier this year not that they were going under but that they're going to the web. (And they'll still print an insert in the remaining local paper, the Wisconsin State Journal.) My initial reaction was that we were basically losing an important voice locally, but talking to people, I've heard some say that they've already transitioned to reading it on-line and the CapTimes looks like they're serious about making this work.
Yesterday morning, right at the transition, they ran this editorial about a controversy over the pledge of allegiance in the Edgerton schools (that's a town southeast of here, within the county). Classic CapTimes, tied to Wisconsin's best traditions, and relevant to language:
The Wisconsin Constitution was published at the time of this state's inception, in English, German and Norwegian. At its founding, and at the best moments throughout its history, Wisconsin has celebrated its linguistic diversity.

Surely, Wisconsin's founders would celebrate the vision and the wise practices of Norman Fjelstad, the administrator of the Edgerton School District, and administrators of the local high school, where students in Spanish classes and foreign exchange students are invited to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in different languages over the school's intercom.

It is difficult to imagine a better celebration of everything that Wisconsin and America are about. On a few days each year, Edgerton students get a chance to hear the pledge to this "one nation" renewed as new words express old values.
Go, CapTimes, go!

Update, April 29: The forces of good seem to have prevailed. See here.

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arora said...
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