by Andrew Castanuela on August 31, 2010 at 4:04 PM
There is constant discussion among the Republican Party circles to engage the Latino population in support of the party. There are many different philosophies of how to make this happen. The top methodologies focus on education and integration. Education is vital and information dissemination is an appropriate method but I must say that I have worked in the Prevention field among many other things for 22 years. I have seen the education information concept beat to death with minimal results.
Imagine you are back in school and the teacher has vital information that you need to pass a test or need to learn so that you can make a better living. You would think that all ears would be on the teacher but reality would prove otherwise. There are so many variables in the communication world and the very first and important variable would be the teacher. Does this person have the ability to connect with me as a student and keep my attention? I would say that the Democratic Party has to some degree mastered how to communicate with the mistreated Latino culture not because of the message but maybe because of the messenger.
As a Latino candidate, I have heard from fellow Latinos who say they will not vote for a Latino just because he is a Latino and this is refreshing to hear. This is a good precursor of responsible citizenship provided they are sincere and do not have conventional motives. The reality though is that Latinos do vote for Latinos. The key to successful Latino involvement is the message that the Latino candidate is sending. A prime example is the Governors race in New Mexico where a Republican Latina is leading in the polls against an Anglo Democrat.
We have in our history been presented with many Latino candidates who say all the right things but turn on the Latinos once they get into office. It is for this reason that Texas Latinos do not really get involved in the political process due to the lack of trust they have endured from Republican and Democratic candidates.
Texas is a very unique state in which Latinos have shaped the multicultural society that the rest of the nations see exhibited in Texas. An example, Texas is known for Cowboys, Cattle, Horses, Oil, Mexican Culture, and Spanish Missions all which are of our Spanish decent minus the oil. Texas Latinos are a proud people but prefer to live a humble way of life. Texas was assimilated to a mixture between Mexican and Anglo culture. This is strength and character of Texas and what separates it from other states.
The majority of the Texas Latino culture has really had no significant interest to engage in the political process. A majority of Latinos are content with their way of life until recent events such as unemployment, education, and illegal immigration. Yes there are those who were swayed with the civil rights movement of inequality and they continue to engage in that process but they do not represent the majority of Texas Latinos. Texas Latinos are not focused on civil rights but are driven by civil liberties. Our Native American ancestors supply us with the courage to fight and our European ancestors bequeath us when and how to fight.
Now that Texas is finding Latinos candidates who are driven to serve the Texas people and are not part of the “old guard” of me first and people second; it is forming a political movement that is not Democrat or Republican but American. Texas Latinos do not want to be better or more than other ethnicities, they just want to enjoy life, love, and peace within our families and communities.