Saturday, January 12, 2008

Popcorn and Political Change

Tonight I decided to have some microwave popcorn and I pulled out a little bag from where we keep our snacks. As I unfolded it, I notice directions were in English, Spanish and some squiggly letters which upon closer inspection were Chinese. I found this very puzzling. I've seen Spanish, French, but never Chinese before on a food package. Since the popcorn was sold as a fundraiser for local scouts, I was left wondering whether there are a lot of Chinese scouts in Chicago, or whether a lot of Chinese people like popcorn. I am pretty sure this wasn't a special package designed for the Chinese community, as the two scouts pictured on the the wrapper looked as if they had commandeered a nephew of our governor and our junior senator.

For some reason I was reminded of one of the first years when the Cook County Clerk began to include election signage in English and Spanish along with voting supplies. This did not go over very well with a number of local election workers. On that particular election day that took me into a polling place in Winnetka, the judges had had their revenge. Every sign in every instance was cleverly posted in the Spanish version. The problem is that now I believe those signs might also be provided in Chinese. While a Spanish sign in Winnetka isn't going to create much confusion, what if those judges decide to go for the Chinese? Since I vote in Wilmette, that will not be a problem, but I would note that only the most elite would have yet mastered much Chinese.

And don't you think it was clever of me to use the word "change" in the title to this post? I'm learning from the candidates who all seem to be tossing it around with about as much care as I am.


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