Latina/os and Party Politics in the California Campaign against Bilingual Education: A Case Study in Argument from Transcendence

By Cisneros, J. David | Argumentation and Advocacy, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Latina/os and Party Politics in the California Campaign against Bilingual Education: A Case Study in Argument from Transcendence


Cisneros, J. David, Argumentation and Advocacy


In the bourgeois body politic, even politicians damn an opponent's motive by calling it political; and professional partisans like to advocate their measures as transcending factional antithesis. Candidates for office say, in effect: "Vote for our faction, which is more able to mediate between the factions."

Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward History

Argument from transcendence is an elusive but essential form of persuasion (Jasinski, 2001). In simple terms, the argument from transcendence is a perspectival shift that reframes, redraws, or restructures "dialectical oppositions" (Parson, 1993, p. 390) through a "higher synthesis" (Burke, 1959, p. 80). When controversy persists in the public sphere about conflicting values or courses of action, transcendence can induce assent by "redefining the public interest for a particular set of circumstances, problems, or audiences" (Brummett, 1982, p. 552). As the quotation by Burke in the epigraph illustrates, arguments from transcendence especially take shape in partisan political campaigns (Brummett, 1981; Burkholder, 1989). From campaign speeches (Daughton, 1993; Parson, 1993) to political debates (Benoit, Blaney, & Pier, 1998; Benoit & Brazeal, 2002) to legislative campaigns (Brummett, N; Goldzwig, 2003), transcendent appeal is of particular importance to argument scholars because it often forms an integral component of political argument. To this end, this essay examines argument from transcendence in political campaigns concerning the linguistic and cultural assimilation of Latina/os.

Because of the well-documented growth of Latina/o immigrants and citizens in the United States (Fry, 2008; U.S. Census Bureau, 2007), migration and multiculturalism persist as sites of dialectical public debate. On the one hand, we have seen renewed arguments for linguistic and cultural unity (e.g., Schlesinger, 1998). For example, a number of conservative, anti-immigrant, and assimilationist campaigns on the state and national level have succeeded to varying degrees in making English the "official" language of the country (Flores, 2000; Piatt, 1990; Schildkraut, 2005; Schmid, 2001; Schmidt, 1997). On the other hand, the growth of the Latina/o population has fueled an increased effort to woo the Latina/o "sleeping giant" (Ball, 2008, [paragraph] 8; de la Garza & DeSipio, 1992; 1996; 1999; 2005; Shapiro, 2005). Local, state, and national politicians--particularly Republicans (Connaughton & Jarvis, 2004b; Len-Rios, 2002; Marbut, 2005)--have intensified their attempts to mobilize Latina/o voters, often through the use of the Spanish language and through identification with Latina/o values (Connaughton &Jarvis, 2004a; Demo, 2006, Jarvis & Connanghton, 2005). These apparently "dialectical" types of campaigns-campaigns for nativist, anti-immigrant policies and attempts to court Latina/o and immigrant support-present the forging ground of argument from transcendence (Parson, 1993, p. 390).

One such assimilationist policy, targeted in part at Latina/os and immigrants, meriting further attention is California Proposition 227, which banned bilingual education in California. The 1998 Republican campaign for Proposition 227, entitled "English for the Children," was spearheaded by aspiring Republican politician Ron Unz. Heretofore, scholars have studied Proposition 227 through three main foci: its legislative implications (Cline, Necochea, & Rios, 2004; Flores & Murillo, 2001), its educational effects (Garcia & CurryRodriguez, 2000; Mora, 2002; Revilla & Asato, 2002), and the context of the campaign for 227 (Crawford, 1999, 2000; Stritikus, 2002). Building on this research, this essay focuses on the arguments of "Bilingualism vs. Bilingual Education" (Unz, 1997)--a widely-circulated editorial written by Ron Unz and first printed in the LosAngeles Times on October 19, 1997--to explain how the campaign for Proposition 227 used argument from transcendence to (attempt to) appeal to both Anglo and Latina/o voters.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Latina/os and Party Politics in the California Campaign against Bilingual Education: A Case Study in Argument from Transcendence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.