This morning I couldn’t help but cry for a couple of minutes. I’m usually never emotional about things like politics, the president or anything else related to the White House. This morning, however, as I looked at myself in the mirror, all despeinado while brushing my teeth and trying to wake up, I couldn’t help but think over and over in my head about the Latino vote. My lagrimas had nothing to do with who won or who lost. Instead, while I stood there brushing my teeth and crying I couldn’t help but think of all of the hardships my own parents had to endure to grant us – their children – the right and privilege to vote in this country.
I wondered what it must be like for their generation to watch us now for the first time make an undeniably huge and impactful difference on what direction our country is heading in. I thought about the millions who still must essentially remain silent and invisible, hoping only that those of us who can vote would take into consideration their issues. I thought about my son, my nephews and nieces, and what this new America – with a stronger Latino vote than ever – might possibly mean for them and their future.
And I cried some more.
Finally, after gathering myself in silence and in the secrecy of my own restroom, I got dressed, headed in to work, and decided that there is a lesson in The Latino Advantage… courted so well this time around by the Democratic party. Now I know as Latinos we are a hugely diverse population and community. I don’t intend to speak for any or all of us at all. Instead, these are my simple and very humble observations on what I consider to be the 5 lessons we could all learn from the Latino electoral involvement in this election – Election 2012.
1. We are a nation of immigrants.
Yes, we are. Although this is not the only issue Latinos care about. For many it is the last issue on their radar. A non issue for some. The fact of the matter is we still understand the complexities of immigration in our country and we want real solutions to the issue. Self-deportation is not an option.
2. We’re listening.
Even despite the consistent doubts about just how many of us would actually turn out to vote and for who, yesterday we proved what many of us already knew. That we were listening all along. And that we were making our own decisions along the way just like every other sector of the US electorate.
3. We’re not all that different.
Which brings us to this next point. Latinos. We’re not so different from the rest of America. We want good jobs. We want a good education for our children. We want health insurance for ourselves and our loved ones. And most importantly, we want to be heard.
4. The sky is the limit from here on out.
One of the commentators on one of the networks, last night, quoted President Ronald Reagan as having said “Hispanics are Republicans. They just don’t know it yet.” I’m not going to pick sides on that one, but suffice it to say one way or the other, one party or the other, we do need to be courted first.
5. We will be back in 2016.
Likely with more eligible voters. Hopefully with even more of us turning out to cast our ballot. And ready to have our issues, whatever they may be then, heard and addressed. There is opportunity there for everyone.
I hope you’re all as hopeful as I am today.