Republican and Democratic conventions, Latinos ignored as an equal partner?

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    Republican Convention

    Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan and presidential nominee Mitt Romney waves as the balloons begin to fall during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    The Republican Party’s convention ended last week without a hitch; that is, if you don’t count the solo performance of actor Clint Eastwood.

    With the 2012 presidential race running almost even, the Latino vote has become the “bone” every political strategist wants to chew on.

    Thus, for Republicans, this was an especially important venue to showcase their Party’s best and brightest of Hispanics in politics. The key speaking roles of so many Hispanics at a Republican Convention were unprecedented. In particular, the speeches delivered by the likes of New Mexico Governor, Susana Martinez, Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida were exceptional; especially impressive was the speech delivered by Senator Rubio. No doubt, Senator Rubio is well on his way to becoming an important player in the Republican Party and a permanent one at that, if he so chooses.

    Hispanic influence in the Republican Party has been slowly growing over the past three decades. There are more Hispanic elected officials than ever before although sadly the number of Hispanic delegates at this year’s party convention is still too few to mention.

    During the 1980 Republican Party’s convention, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly was the only dominant Hispanic organization present at the convention. At the 2012 convention there were at least four major organizations linked directly to Hispanic membership and causes.

    This is a good thing; however, it is troubling to observe that these organizations function in an almost “separate but equal” type atmosphere. While these primarily oriented Hispanic organizations held events at the Republican convention, they were predominantly attended by Hispanics, which in essence means they were talking to themselves.

    Meanwhile, few if any non-Hispanics attended the Hispanic events, while in turn; only a few Hispanics were present at key party events. The GOP should work harder to be more inclusive, if not we will continue to go our separate ways much to the detriment of the party. Non-Hispanics certainly have much to learn from the issues discussed at the Hispanic events.Whether it was tax increases, immigration, or unemployment and high dropout rates, they need to be heard by all of those not living in barrios, those that are not unemployed and those that are not related to someone who came into this country illegally.

    Republican Convention

    Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval addresses delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    Even the major media paid little or no attention to the convention events sponsored by Hispanic organizations or to the Hispanics present at the convention, high profiled or not. Certainly, the convention events may be picked up by social media but that’s not the point.

    These events should have been able to attract major media but they didn’t. In fact, it’s interesting to note that there was an enormous lack of Hispanic presence either as pundits or as interviewees in any of the major talk shows such as MSNBC, Fox News, ABC and CNN.

    The new Latino type based media that Fox, NBC and others have created merely obfuscates the real issue. We Americans of Hispanic origin can understand and speak English and more than not, watch MSNBC, Fox News,and all the other major media networks.

    Point is we would like to see some of “our kind” in the roles of pundits, interviewers, panel of experts and so forth. Catering to us by creating the Hispanic language media is no substitute for including us in the big picture of television.

    It’s interesting to note that Latinos are being courted by both presidential campaigns to save the day for each of their respective candidates, yet we find our community virtually ignored as an equal partner. Hispanics are simply not members of the key advisors to either the Republican or Democratic campaigns.

    It seems as if the whole notion of both campaigns is more smoke and mirrors than anything else. Separate this and separate that may be comfortable for some but in the end, we all need to be a part of the seating at the same table.

    We hear a lot of ballyhoo about the importance of the Latino voter but come nowdo we really have a serious seat at the political table to advise on how to attract our own fast growing population?

    If we want to hear our voice heard by all, not just by those of our own Hispanic background, we best kick the door down now and grab a seat at that political table and pronto; otherwise, we’ll be on the outside looking in like always when it comes to making the big decisions concerning party politics, election outcome and political appointments.

    And the Hispanic political leaders we heard and saw at the Republican Party’s convention last week and the ones we’ll hear and see at the Democratic Party’s convention this week should be the ones to kick that political door down and lead those of us less influential inside—otherwise, shame on them for pulling in the ladder after they gain entry into the room.

    This is the carpe diem of 2012 for Hispanic voter influence! Can we do it?

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