I’m torn. I’m torn about whether to even write this post, but I’m writing it anyway.
See, in general, I don’t care who you, as an individual, vote for. Obviously, I would hope that you would vote for the person I think would make the best president, but I’m not sitting here sweating about whether you’re voting for McCain or McKinney or Obama. I expect you have your reasons and, while I might try to convince you otherwise, in the end, not my business.
But I was thinking, what if I found out that Gloria Steinem voted for McCain because she thought the inclusion of Palin on the ticket made voting for McCain the feminist choice? Wouldn’t that decision undermine her credibility as a feminist for me?
And the answer is–yes, yes it would.
So, when I read that Yuri Cunza is considering voting for McCain, I can only hope this is some terrible joke, some attempt at dry humor gone bad.
But I’m afraid that it’s not.
And I’m really bothered. At two levels.
One, if Michael Cass was astute enough to realize that it’s interesting that Cunza is leaning towards McCain, where were the follow-up questions?
But, two, and more importantly, what the fuck? If Cunza were just a private citizen, he could vote for who he wanted and I wouldn’t care. Shoot, people in my own family, who are soon going to need Medicare, and whose fortunes are tied to the plummeting housing market, are going to vote straight Republican this year, again, like every year, even though this is where it’s gotten them and I still love them and I’m still going to call them on Christmas, and I’m not even Christian, so there you go.
But if there’s a Hispanic issue and a camera, Cunza is there, speaking for the Hispanic residents of Tennessee, advocating for them. And I respect the hell out of John Lamb, but “McCain can talk the talk sometimes in regard to immigrants” just doesn’t cut it for me.
Talk the talk?!
Then why can’t he be bothered to answer The Sanctuary’s questions about immigration? Where was he when Immigration and Naturalization Services was changed into Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Has he spoken at all about the unfair enforcement of 287(g)? Has he gone to South Carolina to check on the 300 people detained there? Has he spent time in Postville with the people still suffering from the blunt end of a police state?
Okay, and forget the illegal immigrants.
How is John McCain’s healthcare reform going to help people without insurance? Or people who are insured but are making $18,000 a year groundskeeping? Because, let me tell you, you think living on $18,000 a year is tough, try living on $18,000 a year but getting taxed like you’re living on $30,000.
McCain wants to cut Medicare. How is this in the best interest of the elderly Hispanic people Cunza claims to speak for?
As a businessman, it makes sense that Cunza might vote Republican.
But as a, dare I say it, community activist?
Why would you vote for someone who thinks the thing you’re most visible as is, at best, a joke and, at worst, puts you in league with terrorists?
Don’t for a minute be fooled by Cunza’s rhetoric. He is a businessman first. If McCain supported blanket amnesty, but lost the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce, Yuri would most certainly not vote for him.
Lamb is another story. He pretty much lives this issue, but I sometimes think he doesn’t see how craven McCain is on this issue, and, like most single issue voters, won’t see beyond.
> people in my own family, …, are going to vote straight Republican this year, again
They might think that they are voting straight Republican, but they are only one disheartening bathroom-stall arrest from learning otherwise.
Bill Richardson was on NPR this morning talking about how Obama has been connecting with Hispanic voters in New Mexico–addressing them as he would everyone else on the issues they care about, not as a person speaking to another minority. I think that will be a huge help among the Hispanic population that is of Mexican descent.
But as a group, “Hispanics” vary greatly. For example, Cubans are almost a lost cause with the Democrats; they’re very Republican. And Hispanic people from South America, Central America and, heck Europe have very different issues that those of Mexican descent. So I don’t think that the Peruvian-born Cunza is much of an indicator nor do I think that many other Hispanics would take much of a clue from him. I hope.
Another qualifier — older elite Cubans who fled Castro and their kids are Republicans. Marielitos from the early 1980s (about a quarter million poorer people who were more likely to be dark-skinned, residentially segregated from the wealthy older immigrant Cubanos) and their kids vote Democratic. It’s just another one of those complicated mixes of class, race, language — these groups were socially, politically, and historically very different on the island and remained different when they migrate to the US.
As Mack said, I pretty much live this issue, and it is (almost) my single criteria in voting.
That having been said, I’d rather have McCain on the Republican side of the ticket than most of the candidates they fielded this year. Best on this issue (at least at one time in their former lives) were Huckabee, Giuliani and McCain. All three, of course, steered away from their old pro-immigrant selves in the primaries…
McCain is like Bush – not willing to participate in xenophobic rhetoric (c’mon Aunt B, he earns points for this, give him that), and willing to put the least-worst solutions on the table (the so-called comprehensive, bipartisan McCain-Kennedy reform bill). The problem is he has no leadership to take his somewhat good intentions and turn them into reality.
Policy wise, there is a lot of similarity between McCain’s proposed bill and Obama policy proposals on immigration – so if that were something a Hispanic person cares about, it’s enough of a similarity to justify some people saying it’s a wash. Mack and I agree that this issue favors Obama, because we do see some daylight between McCain and Obama on this one, and we like Obama better. But McCain may be just as good in some peoples’ eyes. I can understand that. He’s certainly no Tom Tancredo.
The NPR story made a good point – not all (maybe even not many) Hispanics are one-issue immigration voters. Lesley and Bridgett make great points about the diversity among Hispanic demographics. Apparently Yuri is the poster child for the idea that even pro-immigrant Hispanic one-issue voters have different opinions (bracketing for a second Mack’s cynicism about Yuri’s motives).
(I have started using Gregg Ramos and Tim Chavez as an example of Nashville’s Hispanic diversity. They’re both mainstream, pro-immigrant, Hispanic men living in Brentwood, and they are two very different birds.)
Another distinction among Cuban-Americans is where they settled when they got here. Florida Cubans tend to be Republican, but New Jersey Cubans (the second largest Cuban-American population, after Florida) tend to be Democratic, even the anti-Castro refugees from the ’50s.
They’re both mainstream, pro-immigrant, Hispanic men living in Brentwood, and they are two very different birds.)
Indeed. Ramos can string together a coherent sentence.
Yes, McCain did, at one time, have enough guts to offer legislation that while not perfect sought to address the problems of our immigration system. I believe that man died shortly thereafter, and the GOP found an uncanny lookalike to pose as the Arizona Senator. Nothing else explains his campaign thus far. If he didn’t need New Mexico and nevada, he would have long ago proposed land mines along our Southern border.