Birth of a Notion: Dos Centavos

Although did not become an official blog until April, 2005, the notion of “DosCentavos” actually began in 2004 when I was in charge of the old website and I started an opinion page called Dos Centavos.  It wasn’t a weblog, but more of a page with an article of the month.

It was an op-ed I wrote in which I slammed the nomination of Al Gonzales by President Bush which was noticed by Veronica Bucio of the Chron Editorial Board.  The Chron published it in a head-to-head with a former V & E colleague of the soon-to-be AG on November 15th, 2004.  It continues to be one of my favorite op-eds and with it began a re-birth of my love of writing–it really helps when someone notices you!

So, while I am already planning a 5th Anniversary get-together for April 2010–after the Democratic Primary run-off–let’s celebrate this first building block to what has become my favorite hobby.

Al Gonzales:  Latino Representative or Lapdog?

(as printed in the Chron on Nov. 15, 2004)

Many Latino organizations are salivating at the appointment of Al Gonzales to the White House position of Attorney General. Some are calling him the “most influential Hispanic” ever to work at the White House. And many of these organizations, even some so-called Latino Democrats, are gearing up for a confirmation battle that will see many Anglo Democrats attacking the Houston-area lawyer for various and very valid reasons, while Latinos defend a brown person for just being brown.

Of course, many of these Latino organizations will refuse to utilize their reasoning skills and defend Gonzales just because he is a Latino under attack by white men. They’ll go so far as to call the Anglo Democrats “racist” and “divisive,” all the while calling the Bush administration “inclusive” and “pro-Hispanic.” Similar behavior occurred with the nomination and demise of federal court nominee and Honduran right-winger Miguel Estrada as groups like LULAC and the Latino Coalition defended Estrada, and in doing so, defended his anti Affirmative Action stance and his opposition to Judicial Review—a concept that has only strengthened Chicano and Latino civil rights groups in the United States.

As Chicanos & Latinos, we must be cautious in supporting Latinos on the basis of being, well, Latino. Skin color and ethnicity only go so far. We demand policies that benefit us and the defense of our civil and human rights as Americans, no matter the color of the elected official that supports us. Why is it that Latino organizations so readily support Al Gonzales, who wholeheartedly supported the mistreatment and torture of jailed combatants from the Bush War? Why is it that Latino organizations are so ready to defend Al Gonzales, who defended the Bush doctrine of not allowing jailed combatants access to an attorney? And why is it that Latino organizations are so ready to support the nomination of a conservative who does not support pro-Latino policies, such as affirmative action, equal educational opportunities, and health care for all? The last thing Latinos need is a Bush Yes Man that ignores the needs of his own people.

Latino organizations are being very irresponsible in supporting nominees on the basis of skin color. So readily do they want any brown face to be appointed that they ignore their own legislative agendas to support a brown person that by all accounts is anti-Latino. And when I hear Latino Democrats falling into that same trap that the Bushies have set up to cause more internal Latino strife, I see the makings of a GOP-created Latino wedge issue. Much like the Bush campaign divided Latinos with a message of God, War and Gays, they are attempting to further divide us by making us defend an anti-Hispanic Hispanic, while ensuring that we are kept away from policy discussions on issues that matter–education, health care, economic security.

Latinos can do, and have done, better than Al Gonzales. Let us fight for policies that benefit us, and not for a Latino whose job is to serve a President that truly is against us.

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