The Outstater: Hispanics and a Phony Baloney GOP

March 26, 2014

For the use of the membership only (759 words)

“On average (since 1995), 69 percent of nonwhites have identified as Democrats or said they were independents who leaned Democratic, and 21 percent have identified as Republicans or leaned Republican.” — Gallup Politics, March 24, 2014

 

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY has a crisis. No, it isn’t the national debt, or the imploding social security and health systems, or a snooping homeland police force, or a tyrannical Washington detached from any law of the land.

Reasonable Republicans have made peace with all that. The crisis is that these Republicans need Hispanics in order to maintain control of the party, to keep it on “the right side of history.”

That is bad news for Hispanics. The Republican Party is going to help them.

There has been a belated realization at the upper levels that either the culture or the economy, or both, has destroyed so many white, suburban families we don’t have enough left to keep career GOP politicians in office. This next generation will be the first in American history to have a “non-white” majority.

So it is said that Republicans need a new message. Something must be done — and quick. Or to quote Gov. William J. Lepetomane in Blazing Saddles, we must “protect our phony baloney jobs here, gentlemen.”

Their solution is an update of the immigration “Dream Act” and an attendant social-service infrastructure designed to appeal to Hispanic voters. They see the challenge as convincing Hispanics that Republicans are just as good as Democrats at bribing voters with exception, privilege and money borrowed from the fortunes of their children and grandchildren.

But will Hispanic households appreciate the pandering? Or will the thoughtful among them see this as the same kind of upside-down, democratic side-stepping, top-down corruption as . . . well, Mexico?

Let my great-grandmother answer that.

Wilma Philipina Bader expressed no particular interest in citizenship per se. During World War I, she dutifully reported every month to the local post office on orders signed by a young J. Edgar Hoover. She was there to prove she carried a card identifying her (with the blanket judgment only a bureaucracy can manage) as an “enemy alien.”

English was always difficult for her, as was much else American. Let us just say she was not a proper dinner guest of any of the preferred bloodlines in our town.

Nonetheless, she did not expect America to be changed on her behalf. Nor did she want her political allegiance leveraged for government favor. She knew how that had worked out in the old country. Her family did not go to the heroic effort of immigrating so she could be assured a minimum wage or, worse, dependency on the local sozialhilfe.

Rather, and excuse the patriotic puffery here, they came on the promise of individual freedom, that greatest of all economic engines, that spark of liberty that arises in every human breast be it Anglo-Saxon, Bavarian, Czech, Irish, Italian, African or Hispanic.

My great-grandmother, a nominal and decidedly casual Democrat, could no more have missed this uniqueness of the United States of America than could today’s Hispanic immigrant. Standing armies and centralized governments, whether under the command of instituted monarchies and tyrants or an elected national socialist, had been crushing the spirit of families like hers throughout Europe for generations.

She didn’t need a classic education, then, to know that she had had enough of the past. She was ready for the future. She certainly didn’t intend to drag an ethnic bag of systemic misery with her.

Similar thoughts may go through the heads of Hispanics here when the pollster asks which party they intend to support. Considering what they have at stake, the choice must seem a hollow one between a party that governs by factional loyalty and a party that promises to keep them in mind for the next election cycle.

Which brings us back to the GOP crisis. For starters, its campaigners need to become more expert at explaining such basics as:

The party might make one more change. It could promise Hispanics what our nation promised great-grandmother Bader:

We will protect your individual liberty and property as established in a thousand years of Common Law, including two hundred years of specific constitutional guarantee, keeping the state subject to the people rather than the reverse — and we will do so whether you vote for us or not.

Granted, that hasn’t been field-tested for 2016. And it may not be the surest way to salvage a political career. But if one party or the other doesn’t sell it to this immigrant generation, we’re all sunk.

— Craig Ladwig

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