Mack wrote a letter to the folks who had the get-together I told you about the other day. I have a bunch of points I want to make, in no particular order.
1. If your kid came running in the house, gushing blood from a huge gash on his arm, yelling about sharp metal in your lawn, you wouldn’t first gather everyone in the house to discuss strategies for getting people to support your candidate for waste metal removal. You’d patch up the kid. Someone would go outside and see if there was one piece of metal or more. You’d warn your neighbors about possible metal in their yards.
For that reason, when you have a feel, even an imperfect feel, for the suffering our policies are causing, it’s very hard to sit by and listen to folks just talk about the problem and what’s being done on a government level to try to combat it.
What can we do? What should we be doing right now? Shouldn’t someone be running through the streets warning people about what’s happening and telling them what they can do to protect themselves? And where is that person or those people in Tennessee, in Nashville? Let me give my support to them.
2. According to the Pew Hispanic Center (pdf here), the median age for U.S.-born Hispanics in 2006 was 17 for men, 18 for women. And, on the one hand, Mack is right, that these young voters are going to want to know that politicians get that they have more than one concern. On the other hand, his commenter Woody is right; everyone is using the immigration issue as a short-hand way of talking about how this country feels about all Hispanic people, legal or not:
I am a 64 year old mexican born in LA and all my kids and relative were born in America, yet the immigration issue touches me deeply because it tells me how my country feels about people of my color and heritage. Right now I feel isolated and angry that we have become a battlefield. [emphasis mine]
3. I’ve got no conclusions about this, I just think it’s important to juxtapose them:
What Mack says to the Tennessee Democratic leadership:
They will know if we sugarcoat important issues, and will grow disillusioned if all they hear from their leaders is “Si Se Puede.”
4. When I lived up north, I was not a radical feminist. In fact, if you’d asked me, I would have placed myself in the moderate to wishy-washy camp. Nothing about that has changed; I just moved to Nashville and, by comparision to others, I’m practically the kind of girl who has a necklace made from the balls of the men who have crossed me.
I mentioned this to Mack on Saturday, as he was trying to phrase his letter in a way that would get across the urgency of the situation without making him sound like a dismissable radical, because it seems to me that he’s in a similar situation.
Back in California, I’m sure Mack’s political views are pretty common among the Mexican-American population. In fact, I’m sure he’s the kind of guy that younger activists like but get annoyed by, because he’s constantly wanted to check and make sure that folks aren’t storming around just being pissed off for the sake of being pissed off.
He moves east, though, and he’s practically leading the Tennessee branch of the Aztlan Reclaimation Movement.
5. I’m saying all this not as some giant love-letter to Mack, though I do love him like a brother–a much older, bossy, pig-headed brother, who smokes in my car, doesn’t recognize my brilliance and right-ness, and never has Diet Dr Pepper when I visit.
But because I want people in Tennessee who are in a position to do something to read what he has to say and to think about it. Because I know there have to be Hispanic activists in our community, here in Middle Tennessee, young men and women working at a grass-roots level, maybe in their neighborhoods or on their college campuses, folks motivated and busy working at the street level to make a difference, who are saying what Mack is saying; this will be the base-line starting point of younger activists, even if it seems shockingly radical to the Tennessee Democratic infrastructure now. So, if our party is smart, they will listen now instead of fighting to ignore it for the next twenty years.
Edited to Add: Mack informs me that the paragraph directly above the one above this might more accurately read:
A slightly older (though much younger looking), bossy, in the way that wiser people should be, man who allows me to sit and relax while he tackles the driving, and who doesn’t laud his condsiderable rightness over me though he clearly could spend a lifetime doing so, and finally, who has so much brotherly love for me that he does not enable my addiction to carbonated sugary drinks.
You’ll notice that I chose not to make the change.