By Reinaldo Lopez
Democrats are beginning to become scared of losing the Latino vote. They have counted on it and taken it for granted for far too long. Now are starting to panic as more and more of us are supporting Republican candidates for office. Case in point is the recent op-ed by Robert Miranda of the Spanish Journal. He has written in the past about how Democrats are losing the “fight” for the Hispanic vote. Most recently, he chastised Latinos for somehow falling for the “trickery” of Republicans, which involves them talking about the same issue they have been talking about for years. As Democrats are starting to figure out, these issues are very important to our community as well.
First, Mr. Miranda talks about how Republicans are using social issues to sway traditional, value-oriented Hispanics by talking up pro-life issues. He contends that these issues, along with our natural patriotism, is somehow causing us to ignore other Republican policies that he believes harm every Latino. I find this line of reasoning offensive. Are we so dumb that we can’t intelligently weigh each candidate based on all the issues that are important to us? This is just another example of how puzzled Democrats are that we no longer believe that more welfare and social programs are the answers to all of life’s problems.
It is true that when Republicans talk about social issues, they have a friendly audience in the Latino community. We are pro-life. We understand that faith-based organizations play an important role in our community. We understand that school choice and vouchers are the best way for our children to achieve the best education possible.
But what most offends me as a Latino is how Mr. Miranda portrays our growing support for Republican candidates as falling for their patronizing lip service. Let me tell you why I support President Bush.
I have met this man. I have talked to him. I can tell you that he is an honest man who is receptive to issues of concern to the Latino community. He genuinely cares about us. He has appointed more Hispanics to important positions than any other President. Judge Alberto Gonzales is the Counselor to the President. Hector Barreto is the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Mel Martinez was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He is standing firmly by Miguel Estrada, his nominee for the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose nomination is being held up by Democrats in the Senate.
President Bush understands that more and more of us are becoming business owners. His tax rate reductions are helping these small businesses keep more of their own money, allowing them to grow and hire more people.
He understands that we want our schools to be held accountable for what they are teaching our children. No longer will our children be allowed to pass from grade to grade without having learned how to read. As he has said repeatedly, the soft bigotry of low expectations is no more. We have high expectations for ourselves, and so should our institutions.
He understands immigration issues like no other President. He reformed the old Immigration and Naturalization Service to make it easier for immigrants to legally enter the United States. He also proposed allowing immigrants to remain in the United States while any problems with their status are worked out.
On the other hand, Mr. Miranda and his Democrat allies are trying to typecast us as poor, desperate people who need the government to help save us from our lot in life. Democrats pander to our weaknesses, while President Bush and Republicans cater to our strengths. We are hard working, entrepreneurial, and have traditional values. This is why more of us are voting Republican, and the Democrats are waking up to find that their regular voting bloc is deserting them in droves. If their only argument is that Republicans are tricking us into voting for them, then Democrats have a lot to learn about how smart we really are.
— Lopez is a commerical loan officer in a small community bank on the southside of Milwaukee.