Friday, June 4, 2010

Here they (Republicans) Go Again!

By now, no doubt, everybody knows about Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB1070, signed by the governor into law in late April. But some key take-away points are being lost in the ensuing controversy. Among these is the political bottom line for Latinas/os in the United States today and in the future.

Since the early 1980’s, Republicans have pretended to woo Latina/o communities as a counterpoint to black support for the Democratic Party locally, both and nationally. This wooing worked oftentimes because Republicans appealed to the “traditional” beliefs and “family values” that many Latina/o communities in the United States share based on home country cultures: a product of Spanish colonialism, most Latina/o homelands are Hispanized former colonies marked with a high degree of religiosity and related social attitudes, like patriarchy and heterosexism. Targeting “wedge issues” like these, which emphasize “culture war” conflicts about “social” agendas, Republicans figured they had found a nifty way of seducing Latina/o voters into voting against their broader interests on national issues, as illustrated by the poltics of immigration policymaking. Yet, in 2008, after years of disaster and deception, Latina/o voters sided with the Democrats by a substantial margin. But who knows what will happen later this year in the mid-term elections, much less in 2012 during the next Presidential electoral cycle. What is happening in Arizona today should clarify the minds of confused Latinas/os.

Here is what I mean: the Arizona law was introduced by state Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican...all 35 Republicans in the Lower House voted for the the Senate, all (but one) of the Republicans voted for both houses, Democrats unanimously refused to support the bill...finally, Republican Governor Jan Brewer took the final step in unleashing racist nativism yet again in this country. This entire process was split right down party lines: with the exception of one rational Senate Republican (Sen. Carolyn Allen), every Republican in the House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion rammed this bill down their people’s throat—to use a phrase from the moment—while the Democrats consistently opposed this reinstitutionalization of racism. Clearly, this partisan law is an all-Republican affair. Remember that every other November, and vote accordingly!


By Frank Valdes

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