The Republicans had their convention last week in Tampa and now it is the Democrats’ turn. It is indeed very exciting to participate in these history-making events. During both conventions, the Latino community’s presence is ever expanding and not so subtle anymore.
It is important to underscore how much the Latino presence was by any measure much more significant in the Republican convention that it has ever been in any Democrat convention, including this one.
An interesting comparison arises when we find which Latino stars were highlighted in the Republican convention vs. the ones that will be highlighted in the Democrat convention. The Republicans had three sitting Latino governors and one US senator. The Democrats will feature one mayor and three Latino Hollywood stars!
Hey, no disrespect to these famous stars, but, really? Is Hollywood in charge of public policy now, according to the Democrats? Or things are so bad that we just need TV and movie personalities to make us feel better about the precarious state of the economy in our Latino households?
You might well say that Clint Eastwood addressed the Republican convention. Yes, but there is a difference, he was the Mayor of Carmel, a California city. Whether we want to admit it or not, he knows about government first hand-- besides he is not Latino. His speech was vilified by the media. I will be very surprised if the Latino stars get the same harsh treatment he did.
No amount of fiction will make the house payments for those who are at the brink of losing their homes, no amount of serenading will reduce the number of Latinos looking for jobs and no amount of Hollywood goodwill will improve the lives of the 50% of Latino children who live in poverty.
It is clear to me that the Democrats will try their hardest to hide behind the shining glitter of Hollywood the depressed state of affairs our Latino community has suffered under Obama’s presidency, and far from making me angry, it saddens me.
Will the Latino community fall prey to these machinations? I certainly hope not. Yet, a lot of people talk about the percentage of Latinos who will vote to reelect the president, vs. the percentage that will vote for Romney according to recent polls. But they fail to talk about the real numbers. They fail to talk about the unacceptable percentage of Latinos in the unemployment line, or the growing percentage on the welfare line. To me, those are far more important numbers we should be discussing in the media. Those are the real percentages that matter. We are talking about people’s lives; if this was a movie, it would make for some sobbing.
I came from Mexico, where we are used to the saying “Nos dan atole con el dedo,” which is used to express the feeling that politicians lie to us and don’t keep their promises. Should things continue to be the same for our community, then it seems to me that Hollywood Latino personalities will have starred in a leading role in this deceit.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st US Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.