In Centrist Speeches Aimed at Latinos, Obama Neglects War While McCain Fumbles on Immigration

July 9, 2008

[McCain Crowd]

Candidates Obama and McCain are gearing up to do what the mainstream media is touting as a “mini-Latino voter tour” that includes speeches at the LULAC Convention today and speeches at the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) convention in San Diego next week.

For discussion’s sake, let’s do as the mainstream media does and forget that the voice of LULAC is but 1 very well-funded voice in a cacophony made up of more than 40 million Latino voices and thousands of Latino organizations in the U.S. And, in the name of being part of this often inane (as in anybody seen that political Chupacabra -the widely-reported Latino unwillingness to vote for a black candidate- lately?) conversation labeled “Latino politics”, let’s also ignore that lurking beneath that brown blob of a media construct called “Hispanics” in headlines and sound bites are inconvenient truths; Inconvenient truths like the fact that organizations like LULAC do not always speak for many, if not most, of us, when, for example, leaders like NCLR’s Janet Murguia or LULAC’s Ray Velarde gushed with support for disgraced former Attorney General and war criminal Alberto Gonzales.

OK. So, the “tour” of all 2 organizations began with a “festive” gathering at the LULAC convention in the Latino heartland of Washington DC, where LULAC president Oscar Moran designated McCain “nuestro amigo”. Joining Moran, Walmart, Shell Oil, Miller Beer and the usual host of corporations sponsoring these kinds of festivities were other, richer organizations whose very life depends increasingly on their ability to bring in Latino bodies: the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense (see full list of LULAC Convention sponsors below). And, for the record, while some individual staff and board members and some local chapters of LULAC strongly oppose the war, the leadership of neither LULAC nor that of most other major Latino organizations has taken a position on the war).

As if not wanting to offend some of the sponsors in the audience, Obama made no mention in his LULAC speech of what numerous polls tell us is the NUMERO UNO issue for Latinos by large margins: the Iraq war. Again, WAR, not immigration is the number 1 issue for the fastest growing group in the U.S. military.

For his part, McCain made mention not of the war, but of the Latino troops, and did so in a manner that sounded like another in the tsunami of multi-million dollar media ads brought to you by the Pentagon sponsors in the audience:

“When you visit Iraq and Afghanistan you will meet some of the thousands of Hispanic-Americans who serve there, and many of those who risk their lives to protect the rest of us do not yet possess the rights and privileges of full citizenship in the country they love so well. To love your country, as I discovered in Vietnam, is to love your countrymen. Those men and women are my brothers and sisters…”

Yeah. OK, hermano. Moving on, in his LULAC speech McCain fumbled around the ticklish issue of immigration according to this piece in the Dallas morning news.

Missing in the brown sea of “Si se Puede”‘s and “amigo”‘s at the “spirited” event was nary a word describing other, more NO SE PUEDE concerns of Spanish (and English) speakers, issues like:

“prision” (the exponential growth of the Latino prison population)

“Pentagono” (the multi-billion dollar effort to trick Latino youth into joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and other armed forces)

“Muerte, detencion y migrantes” (Immigration issues like the thousands of dead in the desert, death, sexual and physical abuse in ICE detention centers, thousands of raids and other terror inflicted on immigrant children and adults)

“pobreza” (the unprecedented challenge of a country in which the wealthiest 1% has over $2 trillion more than the bottom 90%, according to the Nation magazine. In other words, the candidates won’t be asked in Espanol or en Ingles, “How come the wealthiest 1% have $19 trillion while the rest of us 300,000,000 only have a combined wealth totaling less than $17 trillion?”)

So, let’s “hope” that the larger, better-funded NCLR event brings us fewer “Si se puede”‘s and more of things like “substancia”, “realidad” and “transparencia”.

For more about this issue, check out this radio interview with Free Speech Radio Network.

LIST OF SPONSORS OF LULAC’S 2008 CONVENTION

Diamond Sponsors
Comcast Corporation General Motors Corporation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Presidential Sponsors
American Airlines
Bridgestone/Firestone
Ford Motor Company
LULAC Council #1
Miller Brewing Company
Shell Oil Company
Sprint Nextel Corporation
U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services

Judicial Sponsors
AARP AT&T
Dell El Zol
U.S. Army

Senatorial Sponsors
The Coca-Cola Company
ExxonMobil Corporation
Google Inc.
Harrah’s Entertainment
McDonald’s Corporation
Nissan North America, Inc.
PepsiCo, Inc.
Procter & Gamble Company
Southwest Airlines
Tyson Foods, Inc.
U.S. Department of Defense
Congressional Sponsors
Countrywide Financial Corp.
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Navy
Univision Communications
Western Union

Patriot Sponsors
Bank of America
Freddie Mac
Geico
NBC/Telemundo
The Nielsen Company
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Patron Sponsors
7-Eleven, Inc.
Americans For Secure
Retirement
ARAMARK
Billetel
Burger King Brands, Inc.
Continental Airlines, Inc.
Denny’s Restaurants
DISHLatino
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
International Union of
Bricklayers and Allied
Craftworkers
Merisant Worldwide Inc.
PhRMA
Sed de Saber
TracFone Wireless Inc.
U.S. Agency for International
Development
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency
Walt Disney Company
Wyndham International

2 Responses to “In Centrist Speeches Aimed at Latinos, Obama Neglects War While McCain Fumbles on Immigration”


  1. […] he speaks to activists working on the ground in numerous grassroots campaigns for justice.  As Roberto Lovato so adroitly points out, he failed to make any mention of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of […]


  2. […] election campaigns. In a July 9 post, on the third day of the Lulac convention, Roberto Lovato asked for “fewer ‘Si se puedes’ and more of things like ’substancia’, […]


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