Everybody knows, especially the GOP, that Latinos made the difference in putting Pres. Barack Obama back in the White House.
Hispanic support for the president reached an all-time high. A lot of factors are responsible, of course, but, undeniably, one of the biggies was the promise of true, comprehensive, and compassionate immigration reform.
Oh yeah, there’s also that thing called respect. The president and his party showed it. The other didn’t.
The president and the Democrats treated Hispanics like a vibrant and vital part of the American family. To them, the influx of Latinos is but the latest evolution of what has always been true about this grand nation — its lifeblood, its energy, its past, and its future, is built by immigrants.
It always has been. The first of what would become the Native Americans crossed an icy bridge to reach this continent. The Europeans came in their sailing ships. Chinese came aboard freighters to help build the railroads that connected the span of the United States. Italians. Irish. Japanese. Germans. Indians. And, of course, Mexicans, Cubans, Argentines, Colombians, Dominicans, Venezuelans, and so many more. All have come with the same purpose, and with the same dream. They have come to work, to build better lives and, in the process, to build a better nation.
So, for one of the two major parties in the United States to make Hispanics feel like interlopers, intruders, and invaders is insulting. It’s also grossly shortsighted, as President Obama’s reelection proves.
Leaders of the GOP, who insisted throughout the election that the economy was the single issue that would decide the winner, are now going back to the drawing board.
Of course, post-election hindsight is golden. The Republicans realize it. The Washington Post reported that party officials are “planning a series of voter-based polls and focus groups, meetings with constituency group leaders, and in-depth discussions with their volunteers, donors and staff members to find ways to broaden their appeal.”
But they may be missing the point.
As the Post continued: “Party officials said the review is aimed at studying their tactics and message, not at changing the philosophical underpinnings of the party.”
In other words, they want to figure out repackage what they’re selling, but not change the product. Here’s a tip: Even if you put pretty bows and gift wrapping on it, a load of manure is still manure.
The Republicans need to change their thinking, not their messaging. And a big part of showing Hispanics that you want to include them, is to not kick out the ones who came here without papers, just like your very own ancestors.
Even ultraconservative Fox news host Sean Hannity said so during his radio show Thursday.
“It’s simple to me to fix it,” he said. “I think you control the border first. You create a pathway for those people that are here – you don’t say you’ve got to go home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on. Because, you know what, it’s got to be resolved. The majority of people here, if some people have criminal records you can send them home, but if people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, first secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done. You can’t let the problem continue – it’s got to stop.”
It won him praise from Jennifer S. Korn, Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network. The group, co-founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has long advocated an awakening in the Republican party and true inclusion of the nation’s Latino citizens.
“Tonight’s comments embracing a fix to our broken immigration system is a critical step forward for conservatives and the country,” Korn said. “Like most Americans, Hispanics are hardworking, entrepreneurial, and believe in conservative ideals like keeping more of what they earn, not crippling future generations with massive debt, and love of family. Yet while
conservative in ideal and practice, most Hispanics simply aren’t and will never consider the conservative movement with its current tone and immigration stance. Tuesday’s results proved that. It is a profoundly positive step that a conservative leader like Sean Hannity supports sensibly fixing this broken system. I hope more conservatives follow Mr. Hannity’s lead. It is long past time to tackle immigration reform.”
She went on, as a true red conservative, to bash the president. But the larger point is the important one, as she concluded: “It is up to the President and Congress to capture the moment and do right for the country.”
She’s right. It’s time to do the right thing and to realize that we may not all look alike or speak alike, or worship in the same way, but what we share in common is much greater than our differences: We share a love of this country, love of our families, a desire to contribute, and a desire to succeed.
That’s what builds a great nation. Just like it always has.