Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hispanics Matter

John McCain announced today on his website that he will be addressing the La Raza annual convention. I'm sure all hell is about to break loose on the right side of the web. Once again McCain is going to tick off the right.

You don't have to tell me that La Raza is a radical organization. I know that. I think the NAACP is a radical organization as well, but I also don't believe that it's wrong to speak to them.

Most African Americans feel that the NAACP has their best interests at heart. They don't delve into the politics of it all and I doubt that most agree with the philosophy of many of it's leaders. The same can be said for Hispanics and La Raza.

Adding fuel to the fire, McCain has launched a Spanish-Language site on the web as well. I think that in all the anger over illegal immigration we seem to forget those Hispanics who are here legally. They are a very important voting bloc, not to mention as an important part of America as everyone else.

As I said in this post when Republicans participated in a Univision debate:

"I've said here before that Republicans are alienating a large voting bloc over our battle of illegal immigration. First of all, Republicans are not making it clear the distinction between illegal and legal immigration and are letting the media paint them as being against immigration. We are also allowing racist rhetoric to enter the fray without protesting it.

I think the Republicans were right to do it. I think we should show up at any venue that asks. Our message is for all people. McCain spoke and expressed how I feel:

"We have to address this issue with compassion and love, because these are human beings. I think some of the rhetoric that many Hispanics hear about illegal immigration makes some of them believe that we are not in favor of or seek the support of Hispanic citizens in this country,"

No matter how right we might feel about border control and law enforcement, we are dealing with human beings who are looking for a better life. We need to deal with it in a compassionate manner. We can do that and still proceed to enforce our laws. We are not doing a good job in making it clear that we support the Hispanics that have come here legally.

This is a complicated issue. We allowed illegal immigrants here for decades with a wink and a nod and now we have to deal with the millions here. It's frustrating, I know. But it's time to not merely dismiss those with ideas on how to deal with the problem just because they don't say we should deport them all."

MCain says that speaking to La Raza is part of his speaking to all Americans from all walks of life and I completely agree with it. We cannot afford to lose the growing Hispanic vote. Especially considering that Hispanics are faith filled family oriented people with conservative values, a natural fit.

We will never solve our immigration problems by placing a wedge between the Hispanic community and the Republican party. Reaching out to them, even by speaking to the more political radical groups, does not diminish the cause of fixing illegal immigration. It allows us to have a conversation.