By Linda Vega
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein
In an effort to bring attention to an obvious problem, Newt Gingrich dared to walk the plank for the Republican Party and spoke up about immigration. “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century. And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.” When he attempted to reach out to those voters who question the purpose of the Republican Party, quickly the Media stepped in to attempt to quash his lead.
His comments are not disturbing to me. What does disturb me is that those Latino Leaders who state that they are conservative in thought, regardless of party, have not stepped up to defend the statement. In fact, no one dared to touch the comment by Governor Perry regarding in state tuition. It is taboo. The fact that Latinos should not be mentioned in the Primaries is preposterous. Latinos are essential to the vote in the Primaries and the General Election. Those who are speaking out are children of past Republican Presidents. One in particular, Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan states that his father would have backed Newt Gingrich on his comments about immigration and families. Other comments have come from Mayor Bloomberg who will not interject his state police into the inquiry of immigration status if people do not pose a great danger to this country and are not dangerous to the community.
But as far as Latino Republicans, none can be found. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry may as well be in the middle of the ocean without any rescue in sight. Where are those Latinos, especially from Texas, who want a strong leader to speak about the Latino Issues and who claim to be for Latino Conservative issues that include the love of family? Where are my friends who shake my hand and tell me that I am doing a great job in sending the message to the Latino Community about conservative values and how they need my help for their campaigns? Where are my conservative friends who ask for my financial donations to help their campaigns and their causes to help the Latino community because they care about the youth and Latino families? These Latino Leaders who favor the community and our votes should be out in the community and the media defending the message of the likes of Perry and Gingrich.
Perhaps they fear the backlash that the media will leash upon them. The media that acts much like Iago, the lying character in that Shakesperean tragedy Othello, who whispers lies to Othello so as to distract him from reality. The media that claims to know the exact time a candidate’s campaign will end should they talk about immigration and Latinos. Those talking heads who contend that Obama will get re-elected because Latinos are Democrats and will vote this way despite what the Republican Party does or says. They are wrong, clearly. Yet no one speaks up to this. Latinos will not vote for that candidate who insists on keeping them in the background, but rather Latinos are a voice in this country wanting to be heard. I was asked by GOP Leaders recently, “Ok we get it, what is it that they want,” (they being Latinos). We want to be looked at as important constituents. We want what other Americans want in this country, to be considered when there is a discussion on jobs, family, and education. We want the rhetoric to be centered on these American Values when speaking to us, about us.
Latinos are compassionate people. We will come to the aid of those less fortunate, those in need of food, protection, and those being bullied with distasteful rhetoric: legal or not. The reason is simple, it is the humane thing to do. We can no more look the other way when being attacked by those with hate in as much as Jews cannot support anti-Israeli comments. It does not make Jewish Americans less patriotic, it makes us more patriotic. The concept of being American is not about being hateful and segregating groups out of our society, it is about including and protecting OUR members.
For years we have contended that we are millions in number a “sleeping giant,” so now is our opportunity to make our stand and voice our conservative values. Latinos can be a powerful voice if they become the primary voters. Only about 30% of voters turnout in the primaries, and they are mainly party activists. Latinos will be about 12% share of the total pool of voters nationally. If they mobilize for the primaries and speak up in defense of those who are now speaking in defense of Hispanic “families,” their political muscle will be felt for the first time. This mobilization of Hispanic voters can be effective in states where Latinos are already a large voting bloc, like Texas and California, where Latinos are about 25% share of the registered voters, or as much as 43% in New Mexico. But in order for this mobilization to have a real impact, those Hispanics Republicans operating within the GOP globe need to step up and “take the heat” and begin defending candidates who are speaking up in defense of our families–community.
The Republican Party is the Party that allows for economic opportunity. Those who hold the rhetoric on race only without opportunity for advancement is a party that will not allow for advancement in this country. Race is not the only issue that will win elections. Yet, any negative connotations on race in order to gain momentum in a race will cause that party a fall from grace with Latinos that will prove to be irreparable for years to come. In a recent article in the Asian Journal, American Immigrants will integrate into the U.S. population by 2030. This will make immigration reform obsolete. Those who survive the “heat” will survive as candidates along with the political party who stands up as a voice of reason.
As Newt Gingrich, Governor Rick Perry, Senator Marco Rubio, Jacob Monty, Massey Villareal, Gov. Susanna Martinez, Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, and Governor Brian Sandoval, stand alone in speaking up for the Latinos and their inclusion into the Republican Party they understand what is at stake: common good and the survival of the Republican Party. These individuals will not leave the party to start a new one, nor will they renounce their allegiance or cowardly stand to the sidelines as Independents because they are Confident Republicans. They are Heroes. They are willing to take the heat in their defense of Latinos. I am willing to stand alongside them in the Republican Party and defend the right to speak up with confidence despite the name calling and hateful rhetoric. It is my duty to my country and I find great peace of heart in doing so.
You can read other articles by Linda Vega on her page
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