Martha Montelongo - Contributor
Montelongo is a political commentator and radio talk show host
in Monterey, Calif. [Montelongo website]
Voting and Latinos in California
Democratic politicians play partisan politics with illegal immigrants
[Martha Montelongo] 12/26/03
many newspapers ran front-page stories about Latinos’ statewide
protests on Friday, December 12, in response to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s
repeal of a state law that gave illegal immigrants the right
to driver’s licenses.
Although four hundred demonstrators participated in LA and 150
in San Jose, this turnout is paltry by California standards.
Southern California organizers requested 12 million Latinos illegally
residing in California to participate.
The real story is
how many Latinos voted for the “No more
politics as usual” promise of Governor Schwarzenegger.
The much bigger story is why Latino’s voted in record number
for this change.
To grasp this story,
it is important to understand why certain Democrats wrote the
ill-conceived legislation in the first place
and why Davis signed it. Granting driver’s licenses to
illegal immigrants is another big step, in the vision of the
organizers and elected officials who supported the statewide “strike,” in
securing for non-citizens the right to vote.
A proposal to allow non-citizens the right to vote in local
elections, emanating from the Chicano Studies Department at UCLA,
coincided with the call for the statewide boycotts and demonstrations.
Organizers and supporters believe that these new voters would
embrace the leftist politics of the Democratic Party. And the
race-identity Latino Democrat politicians would preside over
their fiefdoms and command political power in exchange for being
able to deliver the Latino vote.
Instead, Latinos voted
in the recall election, in historic numbers, against this trend
in Democrats’ partisan politics. The
core values of most established Latinos in California are something
completely different than the “I want something for nothing,
I’m entitled to it, and I’m going to support bigger
government so that I can get it” mentality that lies at
the heart of the Democratic Party in this state.
To the contrary, most Latinos have strong family connections,
are fiercely independent, hard working and loathe accepting handouts
from anyone. They want opportunities, but they have a great sense
of fairness, justice, honor and pride.
Demanding something for nothing and expecting government to
provide it is one of the main reasons why California got itself
into a mess in the first place. This mess is not the fault of
hardworking people including Latinos, and they held Gray Davis
accountable and sent a message to the legislators.
Most Latino citizens
have compassion for illegal immigrants who are here because
their own country is barren of opportunities,
rife with corruption and absent of possibilities for their and
their children’s future. But they want keep more of the
fruits of their labor, to preserve the opportunity that exists
in their adopted homeland, and to honor their pledge of allegiance
to this country and the rule of law. They want to be good citizens.
The jury is out for
California’s Democratic politicians
who play partisan politics with the rights of illegal immigrants,
the vast majority of whom come from Mexico. It is time to deal
with illegal immigration in a forthright and humane manner that
does not undermine our rule of law, or the honor and integrity
of our Latino citizens.
2003 - Martha Montelongo