Tag Archives: voting

Thoughts on Viernes…01122018

Shithole

My people have been called worse. And I’m talking about citizens! I’ve witnessed immigrants called much worse, too. And by people in both parties. But I’ve also witnessed policies put in place by people in both political parties that are much, much worse. Sure, it’s scary when El Cheeto adds ugly words to policy. It’s a lot scarier when deportations happen with mean words, rather than with a smile. In the end, though, deportations are still deportations. But a despot can cause more problems and that can only be taken care of in 2018 and 2020.

As a Salvadoran friend put it last night so eloquently, “All countries have shitholes and beauty. What shitholes they have in El Salvador more often than not have a Made In The USA label.”

US foreign policy has created more shitholes than the US wants to admit. The US also created more shitholes domestically based on racist economic policy in the form of tax cuts for the rich. Ultimately, it’s all about the policies. Hell, LBJ threw around some racial epithets like an expert, but at least he passed the Civil Rights Act. (See what I did there?)

 

2 Years

It’s been two years since we lost our Mom, Flora Medellin. The heart still feels like it was grinded up, yet, it’s trying to put itself back together. In other words, it’ll never be the same. But we’ve got selfies, photos, and lots of memories to make us smile more than tear up. As the Dem primaries begin to heat up, here’s a favorite excerpt from her obit, written by sister Toni.

Casting her ballot by mail every election was a priority—even when she was being wheeled in to surgery or recovering from a serious illness. As she grew older and more frail, she would remind her kids to order her ballot by mail as soon as she could because she wanted to cast her ballot and have it counted in case she “didn’t make it” to Election Day.

So, if you are voting by mail, get yours ordered. If you moved and need to update your address or aren’t registered, get it done!

Wall-For-DACA

A bipartisan deal that included walls, enforcement, and relief for 800,000 was rejected by El Cheeto. Just a reminder, this happened right before the “shithole” comment. Trump wasn’t happy that some Senators were concerned about the recent Temporary Protective Status decision, so, he let loose. And wanted to open the borders to Norway, apparently. Cheeto, along with some of the more bigoted Republicans (Tom Cotton) want a meaner “fix,” that still shows some Republican teeth. So, we’ll see how much more they will pare down the deal.

In other words, eyes on the prize, people. We already knew El Cheeto was a bigot.

 

 

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The Trump Thing and Latino Voting

trumpinata

by Lalo Alcaraz

Fact:  Trump is a pendejo. Fact:  All the pageant and show cancellations are not going to hurt Trump’s wallet. So, what else are all the hurt Latinos going to do after the Trump anger fades away?

What was noticeable in all of this was Latinos declaring that they would not be voting for Trump in 2016. Of course, I asked myself if they meant in the Republican Primary or in November 2016? Given that not many Latinos vote in the GOP primary, I’m guessing they meant November, in which Trump was likely not going to be candidate, anyway. So, those declarations didn’t excite me much, but if it means more Latinos are going to show up or get involved, great!

But let’s look beyond the idiotic comments and pay attention to issues, like health care, education, jobs, economy, and yes, immigration. Who has real solutions, or which candidates can we as voters drive toward real solutions, rather than just the usual campaign talk? Thanks to Trump, folks are paying attention, so, campaigns need to talk issues rather than just point fingers at Trump and Republicans.

In the quest for higher turnout, Latinos won’t respond favorably to blame, though.

Here in Texas, no sooner did Leticia Van de Putte lose in her bid for Mayor of San Antonio, I started seeing rants from liberals and Dems blaming Latinos for the loss. It was a bit annoying, considering it was coming from folks who are part of the problem and who refuse to look inward for solutions.

My friend Joaquin Guerra from TOP penned an excellent op-ed. Here’s a bit of it:

If we’re not part of the plan to win or part of the engagement strategy, then, no, we’re not to blame for the fact that you came home and dinner wasn’t waiting for you on the table.

Stop taking us for granted.

Here are five tips for politicians, pundits, reporters, editorial boards and political consultants who are scratching their heads about what happened:

  • Respect: Stop implying that Latinos are too lazy and disinterested to vote..
  • Ask Latino voters what’s important to them.
  • Lean into economic and racial justice issues. Economics and race are at the core of some of our biggest problems.
  • Make Latinos part of the solution.
  • It’s not just about Latinos. We’re all in this together. It’s easy to look at voter data and say that Latinos don’t vote, but the reality is that Texans as a whole don’t, either.

Read the whole thing and not just the tips I took out of the article.

The bottom line is that Latino hires and token words by campaigns aren’t enough to excite Latino voters. And avoiding questions surely doesn’t help. And, it certainly doesn’t help when Latinos are used by supposedly liberal candidates as a piñata to gain a few right-wing votes, either.

Obviously,Trump’s Mexican attack was an attempt to gain votes in the GOP primary, and we’ll hear it from other Republicans, too. But, Dems do it as part of a continually losing strategy, too, if they get desperate enough. It needs to stop and Trump is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, let’s take Joaquin’s tips seriously. Seriously.

Tweet of the Day: Los 20 Latinos

DC followed the Austin “10-1” single member districts battle last year and the result is that Latinos in Austin seem to be running everywhere, and not just in one or two districts. Here’s a Tweet from DC friend Paul Saldaña:

Good luck to the candidates, but I have some favorites, thus far. Here’s the list:

Mayor – Council Member Mike Martinez
District 2 – Delia Garza and Edward Reyes
District 3 – Susana Almanza, Julian Fernandez, Miguel Ancira, Mario Cantu, Eric Rangel, Sabino “Pio” Renteria and Ricardo Turollols-Bonilla
District 4 – Gregorio Casar, Monica Guzman, Marco Mancillas, Gabe Rojas, Xaiver Hernandez, Robert Perez, Jr. and Manuel A. Munoz
District 5 – Mike Rodriguez
District 7 – Pete Salazar, Jr.
District 8 – Eliza May

3rd Centavo: Why Latinos Don’t Vote in the Eyes of a New Generation

(Editor’s Note:  I met Ivan a couple of years ago while visiting UH-Downtown and he was in the middle of a race for student body president. A hard worker and always willing to learn, he has given some thought to one of the biggest questions in politics and presents those thoughts here. He currently works in the public service sector and is a local community activist.)

by Ivan Sanchez

ivanIn Houston, Hispanics make up about 44% of the population, but we comprise only about 8% of the business and political leadership combined. Most people would assume that voter participation would increase over time, however that has not been the case with Hispanics over time. Less than a decade ago, we had 5 Hispanic City elected officials, Today we only have two. So why it is that Houston is the most diverse city in the world except when it comes to voting?

Like most 1st generation Hispanics, my family and I immigrated to the United States for a better life. I am a recent Political Science graduate that humbly wants to share what I have learned as a 26 year old political activist. This is an attempt to inform and educate Hispanics and other members of our society about the obstructions Hispanics have in the path to political participation. Though this article is not concentrated on a solution, like when breaking a habit, we must 1st acknowledge the problem and analyze the cause.

All Numbers but no walk:

Today, Hispanics are almost half of Houston’s population. It’s calculated that by 2018, Hispanics in Houston will be 60% or more of the population. However, my friend and colleague Mario Salinas, explains that “Numbers mean nothing without the capacity to translate those numbers into meaningful action”. Yes, we are so many, yet, we are so politically immobilized. For a City the nation portrays itself in 15 years, the future is at stake.

More than science:

Political Science predicts voting probability by calculating a person or group’s Social Economic Status, also known as SES. Though Hispanic SES is a major factor on why we don’t vote, it can additionally be generational differences, how we spend our free time, fear, and the different countries that we come from. So let’s break down SES.

SES, Social Economic Status:

SES is based on 3 key factors: age, income, and education. The more the age, income and education, the higher the probability that a person votes. It also works the other way around, as the younger, the less income and education, the less one is likely to vote. Unfortunately for us, Hispanics are among the lowest ranking ethnicities on the SES scale.

SES, Age:

The Hispanic ethnicity in general is the youngest group in the United states. Our age median numbers are incredibly young at a national median compared to other Ethnicities. According to the 2010 census, the median age of Hispanics is 27 years old – An age where immediate compensation is an instinct, and the future seems far away. An age where the trendy thing to do is work for immediate gratification instead of the long term educational future. With that statistic, we must make education easier to access, not harder – making it interesting would serve as icing on the cake.

SES, Education:

According to the 2010 Census, only 16% of Hispanics that graduate high school decide to attend college. Out of these few that attend college, only 51% of Latinos that start college complete their bachelor’s degree. Hence, in Houston, Hispanics have an educated work force of roughly 8%. With no education, this leads our community to have a big blue collar work force, and the lower the available skills, consequently, the lower the income.

SES, Income:

In the US, approximately 10 million out of 58 million Hispanics do not have full “legal” permission to contribute to the community we vouched and risked our live to come to. That’s approximately 20% of our Hispanic brothers and sisters that are undocumented Americans, living in the shadows and are exploited with extremely low wages, or worse, wage theft. Though education is the major barrier to income, an additional obstruction to income exists by language barriers. Documented Americans know how hard it can be to find a Job at times, but the reality of obtaining a good paying job while not knowing  prefect English and/or the lack of a degree is slim to none in this century.

Education cycle:

As Hispanics tend to have lower incomes due to our limited education, we compensate the loss of low income by having two jobs and by working long shifts on the weekends. Naturally, Hispanic families are very family oriented, and as good of intentions we mean to each other, families further compensate the loss of income by utilizing the younger generations in order to make ends meet. As a new century-academic graduate, I witnessed hundreds of Hispanic friends that didn’t graduate high school and college because they decided to support their parents, siblings and households. With millions of Hispanic families ending their opportunity to an educational career, the consequence to our political participation is catastrophic.

Fear:

The majority of Hispanic [immigrants] come from different countries with corrupt and ruthless governmental systems. This fear is so credible and embedded in our psyche that it affects our SES to the core. Even when we finally end up in the high portion of the SES scale (older, high income and educated), we tend to break off the “proven” SES guidelines as they misunderstand this new government and try to avoid it at all cost. This drives our few “powerful” and educated Hispanics in the workforce to not pay attention to the new democracy they are living in.

Self-Hispanic Wound:

In 2014, Hispanics:  Mexicans, Colombians, Cubans, Ecuadoreans, Argentineans, Bolivians, Salvadorians, Peruvians, and every other Latino country and descendancy – make up the 44% of Houston’s population. However, the countries we come from divide our united voice as each Latino of a corresponding country separates themselves into multiple segregated groups, therefore forming smaller separate percentages. Our cultures, soccer fanaticism, pride and other variables are separating and diminishing our united voice in the United States. Hispanics need to realize that no matter where we come from, here in the US, we all pledge to one flag. There is nothing wrong with preserving the culture, but we need to understand that we as individuals are nothing without each other. And as Houston is a melting pot of all ethnicities, I only hope all Hispanics melt together as well. My family already did.

Demoralization:

When rarely involved, Hispanics usually vote for candidates that carry Hispanic sounding names. Texas now has their 1st “Hispanic” US Senator. That Senator, like most Hispanics, also came to the US for a better life. Ironically, that Senator wants to deport Hispanics and does not even support a fair Immigration Reform that has a path to Citizenship. As Hispanics are generally politically inactive, they see and hear these high powered elected officials do this to their families and neighbors, only furthering the mistrust of government and demoralizing our potential.

I often hear, “Win the Latino vote, win the political landscape. All we have to do is get Latinos to vote!”

Well Geez! If it were that easy, you would think it would be done by now, no? However, before the system tries to win our vote, they must win our hearts and minds. Information translates to empowerment, and when the system empowers us, they might just earn our vote. However, the ball is in our court as we cannot wait for the system to help us.

The answer to political participation is inside the mind of all who cannot afford education. We need to educate and organize ourselves to ensure the blossoming economic future of Houston and this Country by uniting within ourselves and our allies. We need to get out of our comfort zone, and become constant active participants on the field. Though this is an informative article and not a solution concentrated piece, you can start by empowering others and sharing this article. Let’s create a laser sharp focus on engaging and educating the youth, their schools and our churches. Education is the only true equalizer of this century, and we need to massively advertise and educate that elections matter – their family’s lives may depend on it one day.

Are You Angry? Vote!

There’s no doubt that Saturday night I was as upset as most others after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. One can either have faith in the criminal justice system or not, but it is safe to say that most of those on the angry and disappointed side of this case are questioning the entire system, and not just juries (as some of my lawyer friends seem to think) in one individual case.

I won’t bother rehashing my interpretation of whatever evidence I saw when I was tuned in to CNN hoping for the news to be showing. But I will say this: If you want a change in the way courts are managed, in the way district attorneys commit to some cases and toss others to the side, and in the way juries are picked and instructed, then the only solution is to vote and stay involved.

If, like me, you have more of a fear of vigilantism and more outcroppings of armed civilian “neighborhood watch” programs, then vote and lobby your local and state elected officials to enact regulations for these type of programs. Don’t be railroaded with awful laws like “Stand Your Ground” and then complain after you didn’t vote or do enough to bring out the vote for elected officials who would fight against these laws. Stay involved.

Ultimately, it’s the vote.

As far as racism goes, we can’t do much about how adult individuals feel. The biggest mistake of liberals was that there was this thought that the election of Barack Obama somehow created a post-racial society. Far from it, obviously, whether one questions the existence of Tea Party politics or Obama’s deportation policies. The bottom line is that racism exists and it is more dangerous when unleashed through public policy. Vote! And stay involved!

The problem, then, becomes when that racism turns into public policy, especially under the guise of public safety or “personal defense.” The problem is when public officials incite fear in those who helped elect them by blaming everyone else and attacking others for crime, welfare (TANF, Medicaid, Medicare), Obamacare, women’s health care, unauthorized immigration, gay marriage, and other issues. The problem is when public officials incite hate in those who helped elect them to earn support for doing away with opportunity programs, such as the voting rights act, affirmative action, and the like. All in the name of their own self-victimization.

The solution is simple. Vote! And help get others out to vote! Stay involved!

Now, if you don’t vote, you may not lose the right to complain, but your voice surely won’t carry the same power as those who vote for those currently making policy–state legislatures and Congress. And when another Trayvon is stalked and murdered in the name of personal and neighborhood safety, we’ll be back to being angry all over again.

No one said democracy was easy, though. And those we elect may disappoint us for not fighting hard enough, delaying legislation in favor of other legislation, and copping to policy negotiations that may not get us the best policies, but while we can complain about the system, we must have faith in our individual votes. There’s always a “next” election in which we have the power, if only we realized our power as a people.

Are you registered to vote?

Did you move? If so, did you change your address on your voter registration certificate? Did you change the address on your driver’s license or state ID card?

You can find out how to get all of this done and truly become part of this democracy by going to VoteTexas.gov. Or drop me a message and I’ll send you to the right place.

There’s much more to discuss, obviously. But before we get to the nuances, let’s get back to being good citizens, get involved, register to vote, and make sure you stay registered! And stay involved.

You Callin’ Me F’urn?

Well, according to SA Mayor Julian Castro, the Republicans sure as heck think of Latinos as something foreign.

“What they’re not getting is that it’s not just about changing the tone, it’s not just about not talking about electrified fences and not being uncivil. It’s also about fundamentally changing the policies that they embrace. Being more willing to engage in conversations and discussions and actually get comprehensive immigration reform done. Get the Dream Act done. Think about and include the Latino community as a part of the fabric, the family of the Untied States which it clearly is and always has been. When they think about the Latino community you can tell in both in tone and in policy that they think of it as something foreign.”

Well, I’m glad someone with national prominence finally said this. Of course, there are a few Dems that do/have done that, too. And the Democrats have fallen over each other to support right-wing, anti-immigrant Dems here in Texas. I won’t bother rehashing the names, but we all know it’s true.

The GOP still has not begun to learn any lessons from their 2012 thrashing at the hands of Latin@s, but they are attempting to write the lesson plan to their own liking. Obviously, Castro reads them like I do.

Ultimately, when we begin to hear these type of remarks from people who do not look like Castro, then we will begin to see a lot more stirring from the Latino community.