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Latinos, Go Vote: Why Should We?

Bush, a Republican, imprisoned immigrant children and raided workplaces, hunting down undocumented workers. Obama, a Democrat, has deported more immigrants than Bush. In Harris County, Adrian Garcia, a Democrat and son Mexican migrants supports 287g and S-Comm, a deportation program that routinely deports people for minor traffic violations. His Republican opponents are touting endorsements from Joe Arpaio.

With due respect to my friends and family, it takes nerve to wonder out loud why so-called Latinos won’t vote. The question should not be about why we won’t vote, the question needs to be “why should Latinos vote.” I would argue that right now, there is no particular reason for us to vote. We don’t have many established people or organizations that inspire us with a new strategy, vision or plan (though there are a handful of good politicos out there). We don’t have a mechanism or group to hold politicians accountable when they cut our throats after they are elected. The establishment groups cozy up to the vendidos and the protest groups are either “above” the ballot box or bound by their 501(c)3 status.

The people are not dumb. They are smart and practical. They know all of this too well. We are tired of doing the same things and expecting different results.

Old-style “get out the vote” strategies provide no avenue to remedy these problems. Voting by itself DOES NOT ameliorate these problems. Further, if vote organizers don’t add something to their repetoir in order to fill these empowerment holes, they actually work to perpetuate the type of politicians that I describe above. They will fail if they do not provide NEW ways to empower the people.

I agree with organized bloc voting, and I hope for an organization that has the sway to keep the politicians accountable after the election. The vote should be the last step in an organizing campaign, not the first or only step. Efforts organized today should have the 2014 elections in mind, not 2012, as it is too late to put together a disciplined plan for true bloc voting empowerment. I am not trying to criticize recent efforts. I am only trying to add a perspective on strategy.

I wish I could be at the Tacos and Votes event to share this perspective in person, but I can’t. I wish them well, and hope that they will look beyond an ideologically neutral get out the vote strategy.

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