Assuming that you pay any attention to politics, at any level, how would you characterize your philosophy of government? Most people would say they’re either Republicans or Democrats. Those two major political parties, with polar opposite viewpoints, have shaped the course of our history for more than a century. Yet, one might wonder, if they each have the best interests of our nation in mind, why do they disagree so vehemently on the issues? After all, if we’re all loyal Americans we should all want the same things.
Not hardly! Look at it this way; if both parties agreed, why would we need them? Hence, the only way for them to have purpose is to always be at war with their adversary. We have blue states and red states; each indicating which party can count on the votes in those sovereign entities. When you glance at a national election campaign map you see what looks like a civil war strategy with “battleground states” and areas “targeted” for victory. In order to achieve those victories, huge sums of money are poured into a multitude of methods to win over the minds of the electorate.
The question is; how far will each party go to influence people to pull the lever for them? For as long as I can remember, Democrats have been wooing the poor with government largesse, while the GOP has been struggling to limit the power of the state to use the taxes of working people to pay for those who don’t. Sadly, non-workers have been increasing to a level in which they outnumber those who do. Moreover, the welfare state has created dependency that is self-sustaining, as each generation learns from the previous one that the government will take care of them. Therefore, if you’re someone who depends on the government to feed, clothe and house you; Democrats can count on your vote. With about half the population on some sort of federal assistance, it seems almost impossible for the GOP to elect another Chief Executive. When President Obama won his second term with the country in the throes of economic calamity, it appeared to be a logic-defying phenomenon, confounding even the most skilled political gurus.
From time immemorial politicians have been making promises they couldn’t keep in order to entice the voters. Once in office, they became very adept at dodging those pledges if the consummation of same was detrimental to the country. In most cases, regardless of which party made them, those frivolous promises didn’t have devastating consequences. Not anymore! We now have a president who was voted into office twice after making it clear that he is a socialist who will continue to expand government and redistribute income. Consequently, with so many people on the dole, have we reached a time in our history in which Republicans may be forced to make similar promises in order to save them from extinction? How can they appeal to the aspirations and dreams that once drove the American spirit? The answer may be found in the way they connect with Hispanics going forward.
That’s why the immigration issue is front and center with the top echelons of the Grand Old Party. Given the fact that Democrats are receiving the lion’s share of Hispanic votes, it seems evident that Republicans dropped the ball on that issue, while Democrats have been scoring touchdowns. That’s what happens when you fail to recognize a cultural shift with colossal ramifications for the future. That doesn’t mean a blanket amnesty program should be supported; it means dealing more tactfully when referencing the fastest growing minority group in the country. Whether they’re from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, or other Latin-American countries, Hispanics share common characteristics that include language, a fierce pride in their culture, family values and a strong religious heritage. That certainly makes them sound more like Republicans than Democrats.
Yet, whether you were born here, came here on a work visa, or crossed the border illegally for work and ended up staying here trying to build a life, you will resent having your ethnic legacy maligned by those who are always seeking negative stereotypes to look down upon. Keep in mind that in the overwhelming number of border crossings, people came here to work so they could feed their families. Every decent human being can relate to that. Those jobs, mainly involving laborious work at minimum wage or less, wouldn’t be available if north of the border employers didn’t dangle them in front of people whom they know are desperate enough to take them.
When we start recognizing that most of us are American citizens merely due to a geographical circumstance of birth, perhaps we’ll ease off on the haughtiness and give others a chance at the American dream. When Hispanics feel welcome in either party their natural inclination will be toward the party that stands for a free market system, individual initiative, belief in a higher power and moral values that have defined Western civilization more than 2000 years.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.