Latin Americans spoke loud and clear on Election Day and answered this question.
An Excellent Spirit has read the plethora of stories in the aftermath of the Election that lay President Obama’s victory at the feet of Hispanic voters. To be sure, the fact that Mitt Romney could get no more than one third of the Latino votes cast in the Election does seem to be significant. Obama’s Latino plurality, together with similar repetitions with women, youth and African Americans, was probably decisive. This was neither unforeseen, nor is it a new phenomenon. What it does seem to be is Latinos following a path blazed by African Americans with little success. The fact that most Latinos came to America of their own free will as opposed to Africans who did not, does little to change the fact that, once here, immigrants, no matter where they come from or how they arrived, must assimilate and choose their own way.
Latinos at campaign rally for Immigration reform.
The history of the African American vote in America, which, while similar to that of Hispanic voters in the last decades, did not start out as Democratic. Tragically, this monolithic affinity for a party and the ideology it represents cannot be said to have benefitted the African American people of America. These are facts easily proven and, despite the Democrat stranglehold on African American voters, there are some chinks beginning to appear in the armor. Black clergy, black leaders, black intellectuals and even more than a few black political figures are finally addressing the reality that, despite their loyalty and their delivery of crucial votes in election after election for the past 75 years, the plight of the African American has not changed for the better, except for the elite and those fortunate to be “leaders”. The stark reality today is that the vast majority of African Americans were arguably better off before the late 1960s “War on Poverty” and the decades of trillions of dollars that have been thrown at the problems no one really wanted to ameliorate.
The living conditions in the so-called “ghettos” of the 40s through 70s were arguably better than the conditions that exist in African American communities today. Then, people knew they had to work and pray and get help just to survive. And they did. Then, before the money trucks were turned on like summer fire hydrants in the cities to spray a lot of water so that very few could get relief, people understood that true relief came from self reliance and reliance on God and not on some bureaucratic miasma run by “poverty politicians” who got rich while nothing of any significance “trickled down” to their people. Those people knew that if anyone really wanted to bring relief to the neighborhoods during the heat of summer a cheaper, more efficient and better way would have been to build a pool or two. This would create j o b s, something valued by those people who did not have them. It would mean that more people would get relief from the heat than a few kids running to catch a few drops of mostly wasted water and the neighborhoods would have a sense of accomplishment, and so the people living there. But that did not and has not happened in America.
Today, four years after an event that was thought to signal the end of racial divides and politics in America, we find ourselves almost hopelessly divided. When Barack Obama was elected, those of us that had spent a lifetime working for civil rights and equality felt pride and a sense of a long journey almost over. An Excellent Spirit quickly noted that, to the contrary, the election revealed how little had been accomplished and how deep the wounding of African Americans had really been all along.
People in Times Square celebrate election of President Obama in 2008.
Without naming names, anyone in the African American community knows that things today are really much worse than they have ever been. People have lost hope in themselves and have little faith that anything can be done. Too many have instead found hope in militancy, demanding “things” and relying on a government that is soon to run out of money. People want, need, demand, are entitled and get! Someone else pays, or else!! Welcome to “or else”.
African American man crying out to God in despair.
An Excellent Spirit has other memories. We remember Indianapolis, Indiana on April 4, 1968. On that fateful night, Robert F. Kennedy, the United States senator from New York, was campaigning to earn the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination when he learned of Rev. Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. Earlier that day Kennedy had spoken at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend and at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Before boarding a plane to attend campaign rallies in Indianapolis, Kennedy learned that King had been shot. When he arrived, Kennedy was informed that King had died. Despite fears of riots and concerns for his safety, and against the advice of many of his advisors, Kennedy went ahead with plans to attend a rally at 17th and Broadway in the heart of Indianapolis’s African-American ghetto. That evening Kennedy addressed the crowd, many of whom had not heard about King’s assassination. Instead of the rousing campaign speech they expected, Kennedy offered brief, impassioned remarks for peace that is considered to be one of the great public addresses of the modern era.
Robert F. Kennedy telling crowd that Martin Luther King was assassinated in Indianapolis on April 4th, 1968.
That April night, by appealing to the best in a community and race of people, not the worst, RFK did something that was remarkable. “The Indianapolis chief of police warned Kennedy that the police could not provide adequate protection for the senator if the crowd were to riot, but Kennedy decided to go speak to the crowd regardless. Standing on a podium mounted on flatbed truck, Kennedy spoke for just four minutes and fifty-seven seconds.” See That cool, tragic evening in Indiana, instead of demands, violence, hatred and flames, Kennedy’s courage and wisdom produced a different result. “Kennedy was the first to publicly inform that audience of King’s assassination, causing members of the audience to scream and wail in disbelief. Several of Kennedy’s aides were worried that the delivery of this information would result in a riot. Once the audience quieted down, Kennedy spoke of the threat of disillusion and divisiveness at King’s death and reminded the audience of King’s efforts to “replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.” Kennedy acknowledged that many in the audience would be filled with anger, especially since the assassin was believed to be a white man. He empathized with the audience by referring to the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, by a white man. The remarks surprised Kennedy aides, who had never heard him speak of his brother’s death in public. Quoting the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, whom he had discovered through his brother’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, Kennedy said, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
A deeply spiritual Robert Kennedy then spoke what Americans needed to hear and still need to hear. “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black. To conclude, Kennedy reiterated his belief that the country needed and wanted unity between blacks and whites and encouraged the country to “dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world.” He finished by asking the audience members to pray for “our country and our people.” Rather than exploding in anger at the tragic news of King’s death, the crowd dispersed quietly.
Generations later, after trillions of dollars have been spent in those ghettos on those people, thousands of men and women have become rich, powerful and bloated with the success that is reserved for few while the masses are more in poverty than ever before and the waste and corruption that occupies those tragic neighborhoods is reaching epidemic proportions. African Americans are beginning to see that the ruins of their neighborhoods, the pervasive foreboding they have for their children and the contumacious greed and felony of their own who steal from them instead of helping them will never end no matter how much they demand and get. They are noticing things like Planned Parenthood Clinics predominating their neighborhoods and their grandchildren aborted and the lives of their daughters and sons marred by those trauma. They are beginning to see, in the falling birth rates that result, the prophecy fulfilled of Margaret Sanger’s “extermination” of their race in America. They are noticing that fewer of their children are being educated by an increasingly worse educational system than in 1954, when Brown vs Board of Education was decided and things were supposed to change forever. “Separate but equal” education was bad and wrong, but equally corrupt, inept and union and politician dominated education has failed, is failing and will forever fail. And this is the template for Latinos all laid out and ominously, being followed once again with the belief that it will succeed. Do we have to repeat our definition of insanity? That is what doing the same thing and expecting a different result will always bring.
African Americans know today that 14-20% black unemployment forces more of their people to become dependent on government. They know that an astounding 50-70% black youth unemployment dooms their youth to lives of despair, crime, drugs and worse. They see no way out through government, only a way to continue the cycle of dependency and entitlement that leads to greater poverty and misery. They want something different. Even though most have no memory of the 40s, 50s and 60s, some do recall those days and recall the hope and promise of those days as the last frontier for their people. People like Thomas Sowell, Col. Allen West, Mia Love, Lloyd Marcus, Armstrong Williams and Bishop Harry Jackson are beginning to make a dent in the lock step unanimity of African American thinking and culture. They give hope for the future, not the promise of more of the same hopelessness.
That is what has happened in African America and it is what will happen in Latino America. While Democrats and Republicans fight over who will vote for whom and what programs Latino’s will get, the numbers tell a vastly different and eerily prophetic story. Rich Lowry, National Review editor, in a recent Jewish World Review story provided some stats that opens the window to the Latino future just a little. “According to Census Bureau data, among native-born Hispanics, 50 percent of all households with children are headed by unmarried mothers. About 40 percent of all households receive benefits from a major welfare program.” “Latinos tend to have liberal attitudes toward government. Take health care. An ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions poll of Latinos conducted on the eve of the election found that 61 percent of Latinos supported leaving Obamacare in place. Sixty-six percent believed government should ensure access to health insurance. This might have something to do with the fact that 32 percent of nonelderly Latinos lack health insurance, about twice the national average. The question of who supports Obamacare and why is related to who has health care and who has some reason to look beyond their own nose to the ultimate effect and consequences of that awful law. Latinos are fiercely familial and, ultimately, when they experience the death panels, the skyrocketing costs and the bureaucratic mess that Washington turns everything it touches into, will know they were duped.”
Latin Americans demonstrate for immigration reform at Obama campaign rally in 2012.
As far as monolithic party loyalty, even this early in the Latino American saga, loyalty to party has been assured by the leadership they have to date. The Democrats know and the Republicans will eventually find out that buying their votes depends on much more than immigration. Immigration is the hot topic, the issue leader, but a close look at elections proves it never amounted to much for Republicans. Lowry tells us, “A recent editorial invoked the welcoming attitude of Ronald Reagan. How much of the Latino vote did Reagan get? In his landslide of 1980, 35 percent. In his landslide of 1984, 37 percent. That’s better than Romney, but still a wipeout. Reagan signed the amnesty of 1986. What did it do for the party’s standing among Latinos? George H.W. Bush only got 30 percent of the Latino vote in his own landslide of 1988.” All emphasis ours.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez in the pulpit.
Republicans are essentially lost in the woods on immigration. Their positions on border control, immigration enforcement, amnesty, path to citizenship and others that are of concern to every Latino are muddled; their messages mixed and ineffective and their real personal concern for these proud and passionate people lacking almost entirely. A smile on a fast food line or a hug at church will never replace talking with and listening to Latinos. We used to say that church on Sunday morning in America was the greatest demonstration of segregation that there was. It has gotten somewhat better, but we are repeating the history with Latinos. Even when they seek to join with us, we have a list of our own concerns and issues and we never listen to their issues. We never care about the Latino’s reactions to us and our attitudes. We are separate and unequal. It has not worked with African Americans and it will not work with Latin Americans. The reality is that most political whites (Republicans), “having a disproportionate influence in their party would be perfectly happy to jettison the cause of immigration enforcement. They are fine with a flood of low-skilled immigrants competing with low-skilled American workers. And why shouldn’t they be? These immigrants don’t suppress their wages; they care for their children and clean their pools. Whenever it is pointed out that illegal immigration tends to harm low-skill workers already here, the comeback is the scurrilous canard that there are “some jobs that no Americans will do.” But most hotel maids, construction workers, coal miners and workers in meatpacking — all tough, thankless jobs — are U.S.-born. If it is hard to entice legal workers into such positions, here is a radical concept: Pay them more. None of this is to deny that the GOP has a tonal problem on immigration, or that Latino voters care deeply about the issue. Absent a greater economic appeal to all working-class voters, though, it’s hard to see how a rapid, obviously opportunistic turnabout immigration will help the party much. Amnesty isn’t a quick fix for the GOP’s problems. Nor will it result in anything much different than emancipation did for blacks.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
In the Election just past, Hispanic leaders are claiming a greater role in the re-election of President Obama. Even though immigration is but one of the issues that concern Latinos, these fiery Hispanics staked out their claims to the Obama largess that is expected to follow. “Latino leaders said on a press call Wednesday morning that the decisive factor in President Obama’s reelection was the Latino vote. Latino Decisions’ election night polling indicates that 75% of Latinos voted for President Obama and 23% voted for Mitt Romney. “For the first time in American history,” said Gary Segura, professor at Stanford University and founder of Latino Decisions, “the Latino vote can be said to be decisive. If the Latino vote had been split equally, Obama would have lost the popular vote.” According to the report by Latino Decisions, Obama’s share of the Latino vote would exceed the record set by Bill Clinton in the 1996 election, when he received 72% of support from Latinos. A projected 12.2 million Latinos participated in this election, according to leaders on the call. In 2008, a record number of 9.7 million participated. “The Latino giant is wide-awake, cranky, and it’s taking names,” said Eliseo Medina, a leader of the labor union SEIU. “Yesterday Latinos were the key vote in electing a president, and now we are a part of history.” “President Obama won Latino support the old-fashioned way — by supporting comprehensive immigration reform,” added Medina. “Romney really screwed up on the immigration issue. He sealed his fate in the primaries.” Citing Romney’s support of the Arizona immigration laws, as well as his pledge on the trail that he would veto the DREAM Act, Medina said, “We’re not stupid…There was nothing Romney could say to win the Latino vote.”
As far as leadership, it is beginning to appear that Latinos are following the same path that African Americans took 60+ years ago. When a national party features twin Marxist-socialist brothers, Juan and Julio Castro as the Latino stars of the future and when the Hispanic organizations are left to far left in political allegiance, they have decided to play on one side only.
Julian Castro, Democratic Latino Star
One can only look back at the early civil rights movement to see the beginnings of its one party dominance. As African Americans have learned, that decision is a fateful one, leaving them at the mercy of those who would pander to them without producing any real change or improvement in the lives of their people. To be sure, Latinos have promising, up and coming leaders who radiate all that is good and positive about this wonderful people. Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Rev. Samuel Rodriquez are a few. George P. Bush, the Latino son of Jeb Bush, nephew of George W. and grandson of George H. W Bush has indicated his interest in political service. There are many others in every field of endeavor. Latinos, like the African Americans and the nation of immigrants that founded and populated America before them have contributed massively to the American exceptionalism experience. These are hopeful signs, but only just that. Signs are good, but signs do not get the job done. What is taught, what is stood for and what is believed are what ultimately prevail.
George P. Bush, Latino grandson and nephew of Presidents, son of Governor of Florida
The only thing that works is dependance on God and the resultant self sufficiency that God’s grace and mercy produces! It is what always works. Not just in America, but in every country, everywhere. Latinos came here from nations that denied them the right to be self sufficient. They came to America for better, richer, fuller lives. They came here to better the lives of their families, not increasing poverty, degradation, and subjection to this government as opposed to the ones they left behind. When these proud people discover, generations from now, what the African Americans are discovering in increased numbers today, will it be too late?
America is and always has been “a melting pot”. When An Excellent Spirit’s predecessors came from Ireland and England and Sicily, no one helped them but family and faith in God. These were the generations that made America by hard work, nights up studying for an education that no one paid for and an enduring faith in a just, loving God. Today, in what we are told is a “post Christian” country, trust in God, faith in God and faith in our family, friends and neighbors has been replaced by dependence on government and reliance on politicians to give us enough to survive on. Success, the American Dream, “thinking out of the box” are all antiquated and not encouraged, taught or recommended.
We have reported that there are more “takers than makers”. Here We have reported on entitlement being the opposite of gratitude to God for what for what we have and what He has blessed us with. Here We have watched with great sadness while a great people in a great nation have made a terrible commitment to the worst in us. Division, class warfare, welfare are not the commonwealth yet they increase today. Socialism, where government is everything to everyone and God is nothing to anyone is the hallmark of the coming society. If this trend is not recognized and reversed, America will have apathy, depression and revolution worse than that of any “third world” nation and there will be no more “land of the free and home of the brave” for “takers” or for “makers” alike.
To all of this, An Excellent Spirit says, “But God!” The Old Testament is sometimes called the “schoolteacher”, a reference to its revelation of God and the sin that so easily besets everyone born of woman. Deuteronomy 30:10-20 provides every one of us with the answer to all of our problems. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” The only thing An Excellent Spirit can add to that is “Vaya Con Dios, Mis Hermanos”