The Census Bureau is wrapping up it work on the 2020 Census and will be submitting its report so that state legislatures can begin the political reapportionment process.
Most Hispanic activists see the release of this new data as an opportunity to create “Congressional Hispanic districts” in their communities, the term
describing political jurisdiction in which the probability of electing a Hispanic to public office is high.
Note that I did not say “guaranteed.”
The question, however, is not whether more Hispanics should find themselves sitting on high-backed leather chairs in wood paneled offices. It is whether
Hispanics must be represented by other Hispanics in order to enjoy fair political representation.
I believe the answer is no.
During the Chicano Movement 1965to 1978, the popular sentiment was that only brown faces in high places could save us from public policy.
In 1981, many thought the election of Henry Cisneros to the mayoralty of San Antonio had taken Hispanics to political crossover heaven. Once in the
driver’s seat, they predicted Henry would see to it that we we’d no longer get the short end of the stick.
Well, over time, it is pretty clear that neither Henry no anyone else has “taken car of it.” And by “it” I mean the tremendous social, economic, health, education,
employment and other problems that continue to beset Hispanics.
But rather than weep in a caldo de mundo, let’s admit that it was unfair of us to think that just by electing people like Cisneros, the problems facing La Raza would be solved in due time.
There is no evidence that Hispanics make better public policy formulators than black, while or purple people. Or that Hispanics will fare better because
an individual who speaks flawless English and sits in a fancy chair is dubbed “Honorable.”
The political salvation of Hispanics does not necessarily lie in the election of “one of our own” to public office and never will.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (who wanted to go home to Aunt Em but didn’t realize she had the power all along), we hold the key to fair political representation – but don’t know it. That key is our ability to recast the way in which we view the concepts of leadership and representation.
Instead of staring in awe at our Congressmen, Senators and city officials, we, should remind ourselves that these people work for us. We pay their salaries,. They are our servants. Some how, we have allowed this relationship to reverse itself and have come to believe that public officials should
tell us what to do.
Among Hispanic, the situation is further aggravated by the misplaced dynamic of excessive respect. We instinctively beg for favors, hat in hand, y con la
Those people who call for “Hispanic districts” are singing a very old song. Their premise is that brown faces are a sufficient ingredient for political
representation. I reject this concept because it does not go far enough in the imposition of standards, expectations and responsibilities of all concerned.
We need to “operationalize our citizenship” and recast our traditional view of politicos. This means giving directions and yes, even orders to those we elect. The
ability to go home to Aunt Em – or, in the case of Hispanics, to extract a better deal from society – is something each of us has but
fails to exercise.
We don’t need for Hispanics politicians who speak flawless English and wear three piece suits. What we need is to take more responsibility for those we have
already elected to office.
Copyright 2020 by Alfredo R. Santos. To read the complete edition of the November La Voz visit: http://www.lavoznewspapers.com