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Monday, November 17, 2008

Latinos for Latinos

Identity politics gets results. Every four years Latino groups come together to demand that the incoming administration appoint Latinos to the cabinet and other high-level positions. The results, too often, have been appointments that dismay, such as former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez and former attorney general Alberto Gonzales. Latino groups, as varied as the Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity and the National Council of La Raza, celebrated Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales for attorney general. Despite his weak credential and ideological righteousness, Gonzales was widely praised during the confirmation process and later defended by Latino groups. The National Council of La Raza, which is now calling for President-elect Obama to nominate Latinos to his cabinet and other high-level positions, had criticized President Bush for not bringing a Latino in his cabinet after the departure of conservative Mel Martinez.
“We are very encouraged by the Gonzales nomination,” declared NCLR, “We previously criticized the Bush Administration for not having an Hispanic in the cabinet since the departure of former HUD Secretary, now Senator-elect, Mel Martinez. We are pleased that one of the first acts since the President’s reelection both rectifies that situation and marks an historic milestone for the Latino community.” “Never before has an Hispanic served as head of one of the four major cabinet posts – Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense, and Attorney General,” stated Janet Murguia, NCLR Executive Director.” Not a word about his political views. Being Latino seemed to be sufficient, that and that Gonzales was regarded by NCLR to be “a thoughtful, reasonable public servant, a man of his word.” This idea that a Latino in high places is good for all Latinos persisted within the Latino community through Gonzales’ sorry tenure as the country’s chief defender of constitution. In March 2007, the Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity In March 2007, HAPI issued a media release in support of the beleaguered Gonzales.

“On behalf of the nearly 20,000 members of the HAP Institute, we write to reject calls for the resignation of Attorney General Al Gonzales, and offer our full support for his long-term service to our President, our country, and the Hispanic community.” “Attorney General Gonzales has achieved what few other Hispanics have been able to accomplish. He is a role model for the entire Hispanic community and his success proves to our children that they too can realize their dreams. General Gonzales should not be used as a scapegoat by those who are against the policies of the current Administration. The Hispanic community will not tolerate partisan politics, with the end result being to sacrifice one of its most respected, and productive members.”

Isn’t it time to end the identity politics whereby political officials are evaluated, supported, or promoted mainly because they are of a certain race, ethnicity, or sex? Too often the results are characterless figures like Alberto Gonzales and Clarence Thomas who are party loyalists not champions of the disadvantaged or disempowered.
Apparently not. A few days after the elections Latino groups mobilized to pressure the president-elect and his transition team to advance the nominations and appointments of a bevy of Latino politicians, educators, and businessmen. Apparently not. A few days after the elections Latino groups mobilized to pressure the president-elect and his transition team to advance the nominations and appointments of a bevy of Latino politicians, educators, and businessmen.

1 comment:

GnipGnop said...

'Isn’t it time to end the identity politics whereby political officials are evaluated, supported, or promoted mainly because they are of a certain race, ethnicity, or sex?'

Long past time. Here is a relevant link to what you're talking about and might have seen, Tom:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15375.html