Tag: sb 1070

Backfire

As we all know, the quickest way to convince people to do something is to tell them they are forbidden from doing it. Currently, legislators in everybody’s favorite state — Arizona — are learning this most basic principle of reverse psychology.

You see, in 2010, Arizona lawmakers passed a law to dismantle ethnic studies in that state. The official reason was that such programs promoted “the overthrow of the U.S. government” and created resentment toward white people.

capitol_fire_flag_sm

Now, the ban must have been successful, because the U.S. government is still intact. And there have been no reports of rampaging crowds of young Latinos terrorizing the white people of Tucson, which no doubt would have happened if they attended a single ethnic studies class.

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An Ice-cold Serving of Reality

As everybody knows by now, uber-nerd Nate Silver called the presidential election weeks ago.  Lots of progressives, like me, watched the returns with a certain sense of calm, well aware that Obama was going to win.

But for some Republicans, it wasn’t just a disappointing loss. It was also a stomach-churning shocker. Many conservatives are so self-deluded that they believe reality and facts and hard data are secondary to their own hopes and opinions.

For them, Romney’s loss created more than just standard depression. It unleashed an overwrought wailing that, to the rest of us, resembled high comedy.

Honestly, how could they be surprised? For months, people like me have been saying that Latino voters would punish the Republican Party, and that this could be the difference in the swing states.

Indeed, Obama won a startling 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Still, some conservatives, even the Latino ones, were predicting a Romney landslide. After the fact, however, even Hispanic members of the GOP had to admit that “Latinos were disillusioned with President Obama, but they were terrified of Mitt Romney.”

Now that the accuracy of that quote has been verified, some of the most xenophobic elements of the conservative movement are saying, “Gee, maybe we should rethink our hatred of immigrants.”

And all it took was getting their asses kicked.

Of course, delusion is still a powerful force within the Republican Party. Many higher-ups in the GOP still insist that Latinos only voted for the president because we’re going to get free stuff.

Well, if that’s their explanation for Romney’s loss, and their plan for the future, I look forward to reading history books about the Republican Party. They will be there, in the section that talks about the Bull Moose Party and the Whigs. And they will be just as relevant.



Delayed Reaction

The only question is what took so long.

Today, President Obama announced that the US government will no longer hunt down young people to deport, giving America a watered-down, de facto version of the Dream Act.

One could argue that Obama was just playing politics. Yes, his approval rating is sky high with Latinos, but there is a general lack of enthusiasm for his policies, probably brought on by the fact that he has deported more people than any other president. So perhaps today’s speech was about getting Hispanics enthused to vote for the guy again.

But I fail to see what is wrong with that. Apparently, the GOP riling up bigots to hate Latinos is just “appealing to the base.” However, Obama trying to earn Hispanic votes is “pandering.” It’s an interesting dichotomy.

The point is that today’s announcement  is a positive step that will have a direct impact on the lives of those young people who did not knowingly break the law, and who have great potential to contribute to America.

Yes, it took awhile, but at least it’s a start.


Listen Up

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”

—The First Amendment

We’ve seen some ugly incidents aimed at Latinos in the past year, such as the racist girls from Arizona and the marching band that chanted slurs.

Incidents such as these provoke outrage from people who point out, rightly, that such behavior is offensive. But then some flustered individual will defend the racist girls or the marching band or whatever by proclaiming, in full-on righteous fury, “Whatever happened to freedom of speech in this country?” The implication is that daring to criticize someone for vile behavior is antithetical to American values, and maybe even illegal.

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Sez Who?

We all know about Martin Luther King Jr.’s resistance to the unjust laws of the Jim Crow South. King believed that achieving justice sometimes necessitated breaking the arbitrary rules that flawed humans had devised.

Similarly, in Latin America, where many of our families originated, priests often took a stand against the repressive authority of the oligarchies. Sometimes, as with Archbishop Oscar Romero, they paid with their lives.

So it’s clear that religious leaders should urge their followers to disobey laws that are unjust or run counter to the principles of their faith…right?

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Imm & Imm

My mother came to America from El Salvador. My paternal grandparents came from Europe. All emigrated legally, which is the essence of the American experience – huddled masses yearning to be free, and all that.

However, in the eyes of many Americans, my mother and grandparents were selfish and immoral. After all, whenever a debate starts up about immigration, it’s just a matter of time before someone says, “They need to stay and fix their own countries instead of coming here.”

The implication is that people have an ethical obligation to remain in their homelands rather than try to improve their own lives. Of course, none of the Americans saying this have ancestors who took that advice. As soon as Ireland ran a little low on potatoes, for example, lots of people said, “See ya,” rather than stick around for the sake of rescuing Belfast.

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The Sting of Rejection

OK, the Democratic president who insisted, “Si, Se Puede” hasn’t kept his promise to make immigration reform a top priority. Furthermore, he has deported more Latinos than anybody in history, despite the fact that there are fewer undocumented people to arrest.

So getting the Hispanic vote should be easy for the GOP, which continues to insist that Latinos are Republican but don’t know it. In essence, conservatives say Latinos are voting against their own interests, which is ironic considering that Republicans depend on their rural white base to do exactly that.

There’s just one problem.

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The Slow Fade

The New York Times recently reported on a small rural town where longtime residents complain about “young Mexican men working construction and driving down wages, the children of laborers flooding crowded schools…and strip clubs springing up on roads that used to be dark and quiet.”

Is the town in Wisconsin, Kansas, Alabama, or even (shudder) Arizona? No, it is “a precolonial Mexican village outside Oaxaca City, filling up with fellow Mexicans.”

It seems that the urge to hate immigrants — even of the same nationality — is universal.

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