Author’s Note: I realize some people prefer the terms “Hispanic” or “Chicano.” I personally refer to myself as “Mexican-American” since I’m a first-generation immigrant. I know we all have our preference, but for the purpose of this article, I’m sticking with Ann Romney’s terminology.
Ann Romney is not running for office, but her recent remarks about the Latino community show the Right’s mentality on minority votes and, on a personal level, showed her contempt for people like me.
At a recent luncheon, Mrs. Romney went on about how Latinos need to understand that the GOP, and her husband in particular, are working in the best interest of Latinos in this country. She gushed over how much damage another Obama presidency will do to us and how we’re just uninformed about current issues and policies.
It’s us, not them, she tells us.
I like to think my arguments are better than just flinging insults or calling names, but I would like to vent a little steam before starting by saying that Ann Romney sounds like any abusive husband on a Lifetime movie telling his battered wife that it’s her fault she’s on the ground doubled over.
Let me explain. Ann Romney said:
“I spoke to women last night and I wanted women to understand how important this election is for their children. But as I was sitting backstage listening, I thought, it’s also very important that the Latino community recognize how important this election is for them.”
I like how she talks about women and mothers and that need to protect the family but seems to think Latinos don’t have those concerns or are somehow different. It sounds like nitpicking her grammar, but it actually makes sense a little later.
“And [Latinos] are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president. There really is only one way for prosperity, for small business, and that is, this is the simplest way I can say this: If Mitt Romney wins, America wins.”
Mrs. Romney’s assertion that helping small businesses is the best way to help the country falls apart for two reasons. Firstly, she assumes that corporate profits equal social prosperity. They don’t. The top earners in this country have had incredible success in the last several years, but the middle class hasn’t seen significant improvement in THIRTY YEARS. Small businesses are another matter. Yes, they could be doing better, but the self-serving nature of the Romney/Ryan plan is another case. It will hurt not just Latinos, but everyone.
It’s when Mrs. Romney starts talking about why Latinos are specifically deaf to the GOP that I start to put the pieces together.
“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer… It really is a message that would resonate well if [Latinos] could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community. And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”
If I may, I would like to address Ann Romney directly.
Mrs. Romney, you smell of beans. The faint aroma of something used to fertilize a garden emanates from your speech.
The reason Latino voters vote Democrat is because the overwhelming majority of Republicans who actually address Latino concerns usually do so in order to profile or discriminate. Arizona’s various laws that target us specifically come to mind. The idea of the border fence, now part of Romney’s plan, was also from the Right. Destroying the DREAM Act, a law that would have granted a path to citizenship to children who did not break the law but were instead brought here by their parents, showed that your party has no interest in immigrants being here at all.
The Republican Party has not just ignored the Latino community, but has instead gone out of its way to even deny we exist.
In Arizona, Chicano studies were taken away under the banner of protecting the people from inflammatory rhetoric. My history, and the fact that Latinos struggled to become part of this country, is now seen as subversive.
Voter suppression proposals hurt minorities and are being pushed specifically because we tend to against you and your ilk.
American citizens have been detained and sometimes deported simply because they were Hispanic. In these cases, they were afforded almost none of the rights any criminal would expect. A suspected murderer would receive more protection under the law than Jose on the Street simply because of skin color or heritage.
My family has certainly adapted. We speak English and Spanish. I myself have worked as a Congressional speechwriter and correspondent, teacher, tutor, blogger, and freelance artist. I have nothing more than a speeding ticket on my record, I pay my taxes, and would consider myself a good citizen.
And yet I have a higher chance of getting arrested due to GOP policies than Romney does for tanking several companies in order to make a profit.
I know, I know. These were not Romney’s policies. Just other members of his party that acted and were not chastised by the Right. What has Mitt Romney, however, done for the Latino community?
Obama hasn’t done much for us either, but that’s mostly because the GOP has obstructed everything he has tried to do, often simply because they don’t want him to win.
Let me be blunt now. Mitt Romney’s policies, and those of his party, will hurt us. They will hurt ALL of us. All this talk about regulation for banks, Super PACS, and all that other stuff is academic for most people. The truth is that my family, friends, and I have to live with these laws targeting us because of our skin and our heritage. They affect us directly. When someone says immigrants are hurting our country, when people shout that we need a border fence or that we need to shoot people crossing illegally, they’re talking about my community…
But it’s nice for the nice, rich white lady to tell me how I don’t know what I’m talking about.
“I had the most rocking time in Puerto Rico at a political rally than I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Romney said. “You people really know how to party. It was crazy!”
…You’re lumping us together, showing that instead of being seen as a community, we’re a mob. It’s the first step towards racist views. The fact that you don’t want your own son to identify as such speaks volumes.
You’re an adult. I would hope I don’t have to explain something this simple to you.