LBC Day 29 – Latino Politics: What affects you?

One thing I do not like to get into is politics. The best candidate does not always win and the worst candidate does not always lose.  What really gets me about what we consider to be democracy is that the issues that have the most lobbyists are the ones that seems to be handled better. One would think that in this day and age that a law such as SB 1070 in Arizona would never be passed, but because of the federal government’s lack of policy on immigration, we are stuck in a situation of mistrust and racial profiling in one of the states of the union.

Unfortunately, there are so many issues to deal with that is hard to focus on any one thing outside of immigration. Many Latinos have become successful enough that they may not see the same issues as the rest of do. However,  there was a point in the past where Latinos were very much into political movements within this country.

When I spoke about the Latino Identity over the last few weeks, I purposely neglected to mention that the term Latino is also a political identity that many sub origins identify with. Chicanos may be used more by those Mexican Americans who refuse to be racialized by the vast majority. They deal with many issues of assimilation and immigration. Militant Puerto Ricans choose to use their origin as a political identity when dealing with issues of colonization of Puerto Rico by the United States. Political organizations like the Young Lords popped up in New York City in the late 1960’s during same time as the Black Power movement.

It is shame that no one seems to be shutting down college campus anymore because these issues are just as important now as they ever were. I will just talk about Syracuse and how this community cannot seem to come together over basic issues such as education, healthcare, and unemployment.

I remember being in a meeting that was called by the Spanish Action League (La Liga) that had members of Governor Patterson’s administration to talk about what they can do to help Latinos in Syracuse. This was when he first came into power and needed support to get some legislation across. What I witnessed we various Latino leaders all at the same table talk about issues that each sector had. Education was an issue because there were not enough ESL classes for adults and children seem to be forced to be the caretakers at times thus sparking minimal school attendance. Healthcare was an issue because Spanish speaking families did not want to go to hospitals that did not have translators (La Liga does train and provide them) or doctors that spoke Spanish. Employment was an issue because there is not enough work to go around and most Latinos that move here from other countries cannot see to correctly adjust the different ways of job searching.

I am sitting there listening to this and I asked all of them bluntly…”Why do you not all realize that all these issues are connected? You are all fighting for a piece of a pie and not helping each other because you all feel that your one issue is more important than the rest. If we could get more funding to educate people then they will be able to get a job with benefits that will then allow them to have healthcare. The problem is cyclical”

You know what I got when I said this? A blank stare. This is why I do not do politics and why people are not ready for me.

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