by Linda Vega (re-posted with permission of the author and Latinos Ready to Vote)
The ability to adapt in a changing environment is keen to survival. As a species, humans have managed to survive because they have adapted to different surroundings albeit physical, environment, or social. Hence, change or adaptation, is a matter of survival for any species. The Republican Party is failing to adapt to a new environment of a population shift. In fact, the failure to acknowledge this change has made the GOP akin to a dinosaur swirling in a myriad of a complex population shift in the U.S., especially in the Southwest. We, as Republicans, have lost sight on how to maintain our poise and grace when looking for solutions that will include ALL Americans. Instead, we jump on board when we hear new parties with solutions that will “take us back” to a euphoria that existed a long time ago. So, I cry because my Party has refused to adapt and include the new Latino population or species.
The idea of Darwinism, is greeted with resistance by many who are caught in the comforts of the status quo. Yet, the inability to embrace “change,” as history demonstrates, causes a group, and oftentimes a government to decline.
Today, Darwinism is accepted by many scientists in sociology and even politics; however, Republican politicians have been hesitant in acknowledging its presence in today’s America. Take for instance the population change in the Southwest. Prior to 1960, Latinos were the quiet population as they were rather scarce in the political world. In the past decades, however, Latinos have exploded into entrepreneurs and politicians. Where they used to dominate the labor force, Latino’s ability to adapt has thrust them into the mainstream. The focus on education has managed to change the political and economic clout for the community
During the 1960s, Latinos were already making gains in areas like that of professionals via laws that were meant to heal the scars brought on by racial divides. Yet, Latinos did not partake in many of the so called “discrimination” roars raised by other groups. Rather, Latinos rose into the education, labor, and even political power quietly and competitively.
The failure to acknowledge this change has the GOP existing like a dinosaur, walking around in a haze refusing to adapt. We, as Republicans, have lost sight on including groups that think like us regardless of appearance. We want to go back to a time that made us feel good. Why in the world would we want to go back to a time and a place where we were struggling to advance as a Super Power of a Nation?
So the mantra that focuses on “going back” to the founding fathers should make us think, should we not, instead, go forward to a New Super Power? Subsequently, I doubt that the founding fathers would want us or accept us in the present state that we find ourselves: confusion. The reality is that the GOP is shrinking because we are losing our participants and are not reaching out to include new voters. We hardly hear anyone quote the basic fundamental truth that the GOP is the champion and a fair Party for the population, one particular, that it has helped the most over the years, Latinos.
During the 1950s, the Southwest co-existed well with the Anglo and Latino communities. The agriculture sector’s labor is predominately Latino, as the current trends in Alabama have shown us. From 1942 to 1964, as the demand for produce increased so did the need for laborers in this area. Thus, the Bracero Program brought in workers from Mexico who wanted to work, and the U.S. needed the work to keep the produce from rotting in the fields, much like we saw in Alabama in 2011.
We, as Americans, wanted to keep the work active and complained when our tomatoes went from .50 (cents) a pound to $1.50 a pound in that time. We acquiesced to allowing foreign workers to enter the U.S. and pick the crops. Those who opposed it were members of the Unions who argued that bringing in foreign workers would harm the wages of U.S. workers, and so they managed to convince the public that wages needed to be protected and controlled, thereby they formed unions in the Agriculture sector. As a result, wages increased because the market did not control the wage increase, but rather the unions and the federal government came in to “protect” the American workers who wanted the higher wage and less hours. But the motion had been created for the detesting of foreign workers who came to infiltrate our work. A resentment that exists to this day. This propaganda initiated by Unions to protect American workers caused more harm than benefit to our economy, because it interfered with the economic productivity of our labor force.
Latinos understand how groups were created to maintain the Civility of Rights for the under-represented groups in America during this time of change. However, those civil rights groups have splintered into those of liberal demagoguery that adds to the hatred of the Republican philosophy. But present GOP leaders do not protect the philosophy once carefully planted by Ronald Reagan, rather they add to the fire. The term Republican is no longer synonymous with Conservative, but is equal to what blacks saw as the term for Master during the slave movement and nothing is further from the truth.
The Republican ideology sprang from that of freedom and opportunity. The seeds of loyalty that President Reagan and others planted in the Latino Community are the same ones that Newt Gingrich talks about. His presence in the Latino community over this past decade is evident in keeping the dream alive in the community. He is counting on the Latino hard work ethic and the keepers of the American dream.
Yes, it is my Party and I will cry if I want to because I know that our GOP political leaders are not accepting that the Latino population, growth and change, is a positive acquisition into the party. They are still looking at Latinos as those foreigners who came to invade the U.S. But Latinos didn’t invade, rather they came to contribute and become part of the American dream, and for the most part we did. At present, we hold on to that dream in America and all we ask is that the party reach out and say: Welcome.
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