By Linda Vega
These days, chances are you cannot spot a Latino by sheer appearance, or a U.S. Citizen for that matter. As a result, we have succumbed to asking for the identity of people in the U.S. whom we perceive are not citizens by giving discretionary power to those who can ask for such information such as police officers. In other words, we have succumbed to the demands of some politicians who believe that your rights as American citizens and as free people can be interrupted: if you look a certain way or live in areas close to the border like South Texas. At present, those who live near the border and who are U.S. Citizens, are often harassed to prove their citizenship, or accused of being not-American if you don’t agree with a certain political view.
I have met voters and politicians who believe that if you are not a U.S. Citizen, you are illegal, and when I try and explain the difference, they accuse me of being anti-American or a “wetback” myself. It appears that the media and those ignorant of the tiers of legal status in the U.S. are misinformed. Which explains why anything is labeled “amnesty” when we try and offer a solution for the immigration chaos that we currently have in the U.S.
Visa Holders, Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders), Asylees, Refugees, Temporary Protective Status Holders, Trafficking Victims, Investors, Businesses Visitors, all have a status in the U.S., but to the many politicians and those wanting to have ratings in TV shows, social media, and radio, they are illegals. The rhetoric on immigration seems to freeze on one group—Latinos, however, despite the fact that immigration affects many groups from many countries. And every time that someone calls for a solution, “amnesty” is interjected, drowning out the voice of those whom have the ability to help solve the problem, while the ignorant boisterously denounce any solution. Even the politicians cower with fear and lack of courage. We lack leadership in this venue.
Ronald Reagan talked about the positive. What it is that we are for as opposed to what we are against. We should approach an immigration solution much the same. We are for a legal solution and re-working the law to allow for immigrants to invest and help the U.S. economy. After all, much of the money and businesses are gaining ground because of immigrant investors, something that Americans are not ready to truly understand.
Tea Parties had the right stand when they started out. They were about fiscal responsibility and taxes, but it wasn’t enough and certainly some were not making enough money. So some consultant thought up—-immigration. And so the rhetoric shifted to that of fear, name calling, hate oratory and not at the law or the problem, but at a group of people, Latinos crossing the border; notwithstanding the fact about 44-percent of those here illegally came here legally. And like fireants, those with a personal problem or hate in their system, gravitated to the party who voiced their discontent, but not at the law.
These days, Tea Parties against immigration mirror the philosophy of Che Guevera, the Latin American Marxists, who emphasized, that: “Revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it drop.” In this case, some politicians in Washington D.C. and in my own state, are resorting to this Marxism idea of “making it drop” by opposing any reform to appease the loud and ignorant few who know nothing about which they scream. It is all about intolerance at this point, and who can scream the loudest, and who can make the most money and the more ratings in TV and radio shows.
This year at the Republican Convention in Texas in Fort Worth, I was called names that I never in my life thought that I would hear from anyone in Texas. And it wasn’t so much the disrespect that took me by surprise as it was the ignorance in using the terms. I thought that having been involved with the GOP and leading the charge to help reach Latinos to vote conservatively, and running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican would earn some respect from some politicians and leaders in the circle. Sen. Cornyn stopped by, to thank me and displayed great magnanimity. The person I thought for certain would avoid me at all cost, since I challenged him for his seat.
A few others passed by pretending not to see my booth, but there also many Reagan Conservatives who stopped and asked what was happening to our Party. This time around, there were only a handful of Latinos at the Convention, down from two years ago. People were purposely directed to my table to ask about immigration and when I tried to explain terms, they started on the name calling; some came with the obvious intentions of setting me up so they could that I was for “amnesty” just because I was Latina Republican.
I was there to promote Positive Conservatism, but that fell on deaf ears as soon as they saw the few Latinos around. We were a fresh target, a Piñata for the party and the ignorant politicians who failed to stand up to the boisterous name calling and threatening “us” the few remaining Latino Gladiators. I attempted to reason with them that my intention was not to talk about immigration but more about Positive Conservatism. As a result, Immigration became the Piñata for the many who were there to oust the remaining Latinos in the party.
Latinos are being asked to pick a side, Conservative Reagan values of hard work and family over hate rhetoric to show allegiance not only to the U.S. but to religion, which is not only a fallacy but a destructive political discourse. To those preaching this hate rhetoric, if you don’t agree with them you are not showing allegiances to the U.S. It is the most conflicting message that I have ever encountered, and the most destructive. Here we urge Latinos to think and then we swarm them with messages on how and what to think, which is hardly an improvement from the confused victim mentality.
We all want the same thing, freedom. Deeply rooted in our minds, this is the reason why many of our families came to the U.S. But lately, the fierce dichotomy of “us” against “them” in the Republican Party, is killing even the desire to fight for the American dream, because quite frankly we don’t even know what it is anymore.
The Republican Party is the Party of freedom for all, the one that reminds us that “all men are created equal” and in order to achieve greatness in this country of ours, we have to live that greatness. It is the party that fought to keep our states united when others saw to have people branded as property, and it is the one that reached out to the many who live in remote communities to work toward that American dream.
The GOP once embraced all who wanted freedom, those who toiled that land and wanted to live off their hard work and keep their families together with a very limited government. The GOP once was the Party of meritocracy, which means that conditions of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life, but rather how hard you work to achieve your American Dream. American Exceptionalism is rooted in those values. Let’s not forget that.
Latinos, are not Piñatas just because they want a solution to the immigration problem. They are the only ones looking for a way to rebuild the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan, who would have looked in disbelief at what the party has become, a group of misguided ignorance.
Linda Vega is The Founder of Latinos Ready to Vote and a former Candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas. You can read more on her campaign website Lindavegafortexas.net