How can I vote for a candidate who doesn’t care about us?
Race, sex, and age are always issues in every political campaign.
In every political campaign, a successful candidate will confront racism, acknowledge economic inequality, and assure voters of all ages that their agendas will be addressed. For the last eight years I have trained thousands of political activists to address race, sex, and age in the fight to get political power. Most intelligent people acknowledge that political power is never given; it is only taken.
The Mexican American in today’s society is feared as an illegal alien in his own country. He is not viewed as a contributor but as a tax burden on white and black society, even though he is the one who is a strong part of the backbone of small business in America. He is attacked as the one who is stealing jobs. Mind you the phrase is always about “illegal aliens” but racists rarely are able to distinguish between those who are citizens and those who are not.
The Mexican American is a citizen who is feared by the Beltway political bubble because of its inability to pigeonhole this voter into any clear mold.
What I am saying is on the minds of many of my political colleagues who, because they fear political retribution, are afraid to come out and agree. They call me and admit that there is a problem with getting attention paid to the Mexican American voter but ask to keep the conversations private. I, on the other hand, by being elected by the grassroots of the California Democratic party, have a great deal of independence.
One great reality is that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its Chair have miserably failed the Mexican American voter and have not paid back the loyalty given freely and generously to the Party. CNN on its website states that there are 17 million Spanish-surnamed American voters who are eligible to vote in the upcoming election. If one estimates that 66% of all Spanish surnamed citizens in the United States of America are of Mexican descent, one can approximate that 11 million Mexican American voters exist.
Sadly, Americans do not take democracy seriously. Statistically only half of all eligible Americans are registered to vote, and if the Mexican American holds true to all Americans, only one half of them are registered to vote as well. In addition, between now and the November election, one million Mexican Americans will turn 18 and no one is talking to them from the Democratic Party! In addition, 300,000 Mexicans will become Mexican Americans during this time. New citizens usually register in the party of the sitting U.S. President, but that is no longer the case today. Over 70% of Mexican Americans are registering either as Independent or as Democrats.
In the last eight years, more and more Mexican Americans are registering as Independents. My concern is that the Beltway is afraid that Latinos will become politically significant in this election. Is the Democratic Party avoiding outreach efforts targeting Latinos because there is no more room in their political power bubble? I certainly hope that it isn’t because the Party is taking Mexican Americans for granted.
Let us face it Mexican Americans are hated because we executed Texas terrorists at the Alamo. At the time, these Texas terrorists sought to enslave Africans in violation of the legal (Mexican) government’s constitution. We are feared because 80% of us are Catholic and therefore not Christian. (I am a Buddhist part of the 20% who are not Catholic.) Yet, in the so-called Democratic Party “faith based” initiative, not one of the state directors is Mexican American. This effort is aimed at the African American ministers so that they can receive funding to get out the African American vote. I do not have a problem with this method. What I am opposed to is the hypocrisy involved in refusing to earmark dollars raised from the Mexican American donor for registration, education, and a vote by mail campaign in the Mexican American community.
(I refuse to use the word Hispanic it was a term coined by Republican President Nixon to make Cubans acceptable to white people.)
Hypocrites in the political bubble in the beltway decry my call for $20 million dollars as an earmark for the Mexican American voter. Yet, these same hypocrites earmark hundreds of millions for “faith-based” initiatives, earmarks for women’s vote, earmarks for “rock the vote” and other earmarks for special interests. They will say this is necessary to assure that the “base voter” voters.
However, when Mexican American leaders request that funds raised from our own pockets is earmarked for return to assure our participation we are told this is illegal.
For eight years, I have asked for a budget and a plan to address the issue. Now I ask that $20 million dollars be committed to an effort aimed at the Mexican American voter and I am told no.
So here is the question of the day: How do I vote for a nominee at the convention who will not commit to 11 million Mexican American voters?
I am an elected member of the DNC. I am elected by the grassroots who do the political work every day to fight fascism in whatever form it takes. I will be either be reelected or not in June of this year.
In California, we have real participation by the Mexican American voter, not enough but a lot more that other states. Twenty-eight members of our legislature are Spanish surnamed and we have had three Mexican American speakers of the Assembly in the last 10 years. We get political power and know how to share it. What is a reality is that we stand a real chance to lose the upcoming national election. Those who refuse to acknowledge the fact that the presumptive nominee Senator Obama is unknown in the Mexican American community will drive those voters elsewhere.
So if the Democratic Party is serious about winning this 2008 election, it will bring in the leadership of our community to establish a real effort with earmarked funds and budget to get voters in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and south Florida to register as Democrats and vote in the November election. It is time to end the racism aimed by the beltway Democrats at Mexican Americans. It is time to recognize that Mexican Americans are subjected to voting rights violations and violations of their human rights. It is time to welcome them back to the Democratic party of Bobby Kennedy who received 95% of the Mexican American vote.
I am not asking for welfare payments to the Mexican American voter, we can raise the money to get the job done from our own. But I will not donate one dollar to the DNC unless it earmarks money for this effort.
Without the Mexican American voter voting for the Democratic nominee in November, you better get used to the phrase President John McCain.
Steven J. Ybarra JD is a retired civil rights attorney who operates a consultant company in California. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee and a long time political activist. Contact Steven at: [email protected] This article is copyright by Steven J. Ybarra JD, originally published in www.Hispanicvista.com and Obsnews.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this entire credit paragraph is attached.