Latinos abandoned by American politicians
According to some of the vicious anti-immigrant ads during the midterm election campaign, there is a war brewing in America. Illegal immigrants are the enemy and life as you know it is the target.Reacting to the anti-immigration mood in the country, Republicans are stepping up their war on illegal immigration by stoking voters’ fears.
But when the so-called enemy is also one of the fastest growing voting blocs in America, politicians are trying to pander to Latinos, hoping their other voters aren’t looking.
Nevada Republican Sharon Angle, who even in her about-face attempt to reach out to Latinos, actually ended up offending them.
“I don’t know that any of you are Latino, some of you look more Asian,” said Angle to a group of Hispanic students.
Her comments were captured on a student’s cell phone camera.
In Arizona, Sen. John McCain had been known as an advocate for humane immigration reform, but in the past year, he has embraced the right wing attack on illegal immigration.
For many Latinos, it was simply another poignant example of politicians abandoning them.
With this approach, it is perhaps not a surprise that the low support the GOP already had in the Latino community continues to diminish.
Democrats also used Spanish language ads to target Latino voters, but an increase in deportations and a lack of progress on immigration reform has many questioning the motives of Democrats as well. The hypocrisy of US politicians saying one thing but doing another is not lost on Ron Gochez, a community organizer.
“We might have been fooled in 2008 with the promises of hope and change; I think that people have seen that in reality conditions have actually worsened for our people,” said Gochez.
Feeling abandoned and demonized by the politicians they elected, Latinos are growing disillusioned about politics in general.
Conservatives tried to take advantage of this sentiment with a misleading ad.
“Don’t vote this November, this is the only way to send them a message you can no longer take us for granted,” said the commercial, which was quickly pulled off the air once it was discovered that it was being run by a conservative group.
Latino voters are growing in numbers, but for the moment, the feeling in the Latino community remains that politicians don’t care.
“Here we have what we call a two party dictatorship. It’s an electoral dictatorship that’s a two headed beast that represents the same elitist group,” said Gochez.
It is the hypocrisy by the politicians that is both a source of frustration for Latino voters, and inspiration to rise up and stand up to the forces that oppress them. After all, revolution and social mobilization is in the blood of this growing population of Americans.