Latino leaders frustrated by Democrat’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought are discussing whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group.Colorlines talked about it as well. My favorite part is this:
They have talked about modeling the effort after the Tea Party, not in substance but in grass-roots organizational style, and have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.”
Keep pushing Democrats or break away on their own? It’s a tough question, complicated by the fact that Latinos are not a monolithic group. Latino voters in Nevada and California backed Democrats in the midterm elections, but they also passed over Democrat Alex Sink in favor of Republican Rick Scott in Florida. And there’s the tricky case of Tea Party Republican Marco Rubio.I think that we tend to forget that. Latinos do not all have the same interests or the same experiences. I think this is very important. Cubans for many years have had a refugee experience in the US while Puerto Ricans are automatically US citizens. When we discuss immigration the conversation is usually directed at Mexicans. These are the big three Latino groups in the US with Mexicans being the largest. A Tequila party focused on issues of immigration would have the power of the majority of Latinos but would not be a Latino alternative to the Democratic party. What one of those would like would be interesting to see...we would have to look at the least common denominators and would be a very long conversation. Not for today, sadly. Another long question would be do we need an alternative? Can't we push the Democrats and then support them for doing so?
I think the idea of a powerful third party is feasible. If it was strong enough to succeed it could take votes from both the Democrats and the Republicans and be successful. It would use blogs, and Facebook and Twitter and the media at large and would amass a huge presence similar to President Obama's election campaign. It would have to involve the youth. Not just 18 y/os but also high school students who can help spread the word and help others to vote. If there are numbers, large numbers of informed voters willing to work for a candidate and help them to win, and upon election push them further we can change the political system.
Latinos are the largest racial/ethnic group in the US. If we as Latinos can unite. We will be a force to be reckoned with. I see nothing as impossible and look to Celia Cruz as my inspiration. I'm a Puerto Rican who carries the message of a Cubana to my blog which I hope will be shared the world over.
I present the song Latinos en Estados Unidos:
[For lyrics go to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.]
Is the Tequila party headed in the right direction? Maybe. Can it work? If it's supported, yes. Is it enough? No. I will always go back to the need to build coalitions. Maybe it can start with Latinos but it is not a Latino party I'm seeing. I'm seeing more of an Equality Party, a Social Justice Party, an American Values party. A party that works to build unity while working the promise of America's equality into American reality.
I do not know what the future holds. I do not believe the future is set. Every word we read, every sound, every experience changes us. Let us change America from what it is and has been, into what it is supposed to be. It may not seem like we have happy endings that often but anything is possible. America's founders believed that they could create a free country, a democracy. Cuba, Mexico and other countries in Latin America believed in their independence. Let 2011 be the start of something wonderful. Let's be dreamers and dream for a better tomorrow and work to make it so.