Tag: U.S. Congress

Fourth and Goal

Yes, we’re all getting ready for the Super Bowl this weekend (even though my team was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs, which sucks).

kickoff-1a

So I’m not going to dwell on this study that points out how far Latinos have to go to achieve political power that is commiserate with our growing population.

But basically, if Hispanics had representation in Congress that matched our actual presence in the nation, there would be 90 Latino representatives or senators. Instead, there are 37. Just nine of those are Latinas.

Like I said, it’s too depressing to rant about at length. So you may now return to your preparations for the big game.

I’m betting on a Seattle upset.

 


Yeah, Right

So the United States has resumed its wild, impetuous stab at having a functioning government. After this latest farce, internet sites are alive with comments along the lines of the following:

“We need to kick out every member of Congress and start fresh.”

I know we live in a country where nearly half the citizens people can’t name the vice president, but I find it hard to believe anybody is so ignorant of the political process that he or she thinks voting out all 535 members of Congress is a realistic option.

capitol

We’ll start with the fact that elections are staggered (hence the term “midterm election”). As such, I doubt anybody’s rage is going to last another five years or so, which is how long it would take to excise all the offending congressmen and women. And we’ll add on the stat that while most people hate Congress, they tend to like their own reps, so we will likely see most of these supposedly toxic incumbents return.

This idea is even less practical and more insane than the delusional belief, which I’ve written about before, that we can easily deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

In the interest of saving time, here are some other political ideas I’ve heard recently that appear just as likely to happen.

“We need to separate into two different countries. Red states and blue states.” (I’m pretty sure we fought a war about this, and the outcome was rather conclusive. We appear to be stuck with one another for the foreseeable future.)

“We need a task force of really smart leaders who will come up with bipartisan solutions to our problems.” (That’s what Congress is supposed to be.)

“We need to mandate IQ tests to make sure people are smart enough to vote.” (Anyone who thinks an IQ test accurately measures political acumen probably doesn’t have a very high IQ.)

“We need to confiscate every gun in America that’s not in the hands of the police or military.” (It amazes me how liberals think that Second Amendment advocates—many of whom are paranoid and all of whom are armed—will somehow go along with this idea.)

“We need to use Jurassic Park-type technology to reanimate the Founding Fathers so they can tell us their original intent regarding the Constitution.” (OK, I made this one up, but wouldn’t that be cool?)


Well, That Was Easy

When two-thirds of the US Senate is in favor of a bill, one might assume that it’s a pretty popular measure.

bill law

So when the Senate passed an immigration reform bill by a lopsided vote of 68 to 32, it indicated that nothing could be simpler than coming up with a way for undocumented people to gain a pathway to citizenship.

But of course, the US House (home of the crazies) is already talking about passing its own version of the bill. I assume that one will require new citizens to recite the Declaration of Independence, name all the presidents in order, and get a US flag tattooed on their foreheads while singing the Star-Spangled Banner (taking care to hit all the high notes).

As such, it is not time to celebrate just yet. The hard part is yet to come.

 


Power Play

Perhaps you didn’t notice when a national political leader said that America was entering the “Decade of the Hispanic.”

You can be forgiven, because the speaker was Henry Cisneros, and he wasn’t talking about our current decade. He was talking about the 1980s.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


Victims of a Changing World

Recently, I received some hate mail from a white supremacist (see previous post). It’s a rare, but not unprecedented occurrence.

Her sentiments were ignorant and bizarre, of course. And clearly, they in no way reflect the opinion of most Americans. I wondered, however, how many individuals would agree with one of her statements, which was that white people are being oppressed.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


American Tragedy

For the past year or so, I’ve been critical of Arizona, and with reason. But now is not the time for rehashing SB 1070 or the state’s attempts to whitewash its culture.

Instead, all of us are sending positive thoughts, good karma, and, yes even prayers to Tucson.

The assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords left six people dead and a dozen wounded.

We have no idea if the gunman was, as many pundits presume, motivated by right-wing vitriol or Sarah Palin’s crosshairs or some other conservative fear-mongering tactic.

However, it would be the ultimate elephant-in-the-room moment to avoid bringing up the unsavory connections.

After all, we’re talking about a psycho in a red state who took advantage of lax gun-control laws to carry out an attack on a Democrat. The guy spouted conspiracy theories that are close to right-wing talking points, and he expressed hatred for the government. Let’s face it: It’s unlikely that he’s an Obama man.

Still, we don’t know what this domestic terrorist’s agenda or motives are, and we’ll set aside the hyper-defensiveness of right-wingers who are tripping over themselves to shout, “It wasn’t us, so don’t you dare even bring it up!”

Instead, what interests me is the story of Daniel Hernandez, the young intern who is credited with saving Giffords’ life. Five days into his job, he wound up running toward gunfire, taking action to prevent his boss from choking to death on her own blood in a Safeway parking lot.

The irony, clearly, is that in Arizona, a lunatic can obtain a Glock without question, while a hero named Hernandez may be stopped by cops and asked to present citizenship papers.

It should also be noted that the maniac in question is a native-born American. I mean, I thought undocumented immigrants were causing all our crime. But here this suburban thug raised in comfort has caused more death and destruction than whole neighborhoods of illegal immigrants ever have.

It’s all very depressing, of course. But even this most grotesque of events has its black-comedy moments. For example, the gunman was apparently obsessed with grammar, and he believed that the government controlled people through the manipulation of the English language.

Who knows; maybe he would have been less crazy if he just spoke Spanish.


You Can’t Win ‘Em All

Thanks to Lucifurry and Ankhesen Mie for their recent comments on my posts.

Perhaps they were as surprised as I was to find out that, in 2011, gay soldiers are less controversial than undocumented immigrants.

Yes, in a final burst of lame-duck progressivism, the U.S. Congress rightfully eliminated the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy at the end of 2010. As happy as I am for gay-rights activists, I feel a twinge of jealousy that about five minutes before the Senate decided to give the homophobia a break, these same people said, “But those brown-skinned kids still have to go.

Even though they were willing to deal with President Obama on just about every other piece of last-minute legislation, Republicans squashed the Dream Act as if it were a pesky mosquito.

Clearly, getting tough on illegals is still a resonant theme for the GOP. This is despite the fact that it is long-term political suicide to piss off the fastest-growing demographic in America.

The approach also ignores the fact that “Americans are more inclined to support than oppose legislation similar to the Dream Act.”

So even popular appeal is not enough to pass this most modest of reforms, which “was originally designed to be the first in a sequence of measures to resolve the status of the nation’s illegal immigrants.”

Rather than a starting point, however, the Dream Act became a flash point, proving that “in the age of stalemate, immigration may have a special place in the firmament.”

Indeed, could anyone have predicted, a decade ago, that Republicans would be more willing to say nice things about homosexuals than they are to pass immigration reform that’s actually beneficial to their big-business overlords?

And the miniscule progress that has been made will soon be wiped out, because “when Republican lawmakers take over the House and gain strength in the Senate … a decade-long drive to overhaul the immigration system and legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants seems all but certain to come to a halt.”

The optimists among us insist that change is still possible. In fact, President Obama recently told Congressional Hispanic Caucus members that “he’ll renew his push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2011 — even though such an effort would face even longer odds in a Congress where Republicans control the House.”

But quixotic efforts aside, no one expects the issue to be resolved in time for, say, the 2012 elections. That means it will once again be open season on the undocumented (and by extension, Latinos) during the presidential campaign.

If only we were as popular and universally beloved as gay people are… yes that’s sarcasm.


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