“We need to fight to ensure that the Dream Act is passed,” says the president at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) 2011 Annual Gala in Washington DC.
The president and First Lady Michelle Obama graced the stage at one of America’s biggest events for Latinos. Mr. Obama, with the precision of a well-seasoned magician, effectively had over 3,000 Hispanic community loyalists believing it was the Republican’s fault that the Dream Act did not pass in December 2010. Begging the question, “Do facts have any relevancy in politics?”
Ruben Navarrette, Jr., nationally syndicated columnist, contributor to USA Today and the Washington Post, told me: “The December 2010 Cloture vote on Dream Act needed 60 votes to go to the full Senate. Senator Reid had the 60 votes (55 Dems, 3 Reps, 2 Inds), but Democratic Senators Tester, Baucus, Nelson, Pryor, and Hagan voted nay and killed Dream Act.”
Meanwhile Congressmembers Baca, Becerra, Calderon, Chu, Grijalva, Napolitano, and Roybal-Allard sat in the CHCI audience perapetuating the untruth, through an unwillingness to set the record straight. Not only did they refuse to take ownership of the Dream Act’s failure, they joined thousands in applauding this carnival game of untruth. And there we follow, with great hope and aspiration that this president and our Congress will “pass” the Dream Act. George Orwell, author of 1984, could not have written a better script.
Similarly, Republican presidential candidates make, as key planks in their platforms, untruths relative to taxes, the environment, social security and the president’s stimulus package, which in Governor Rick Perry’s words “has created zero jobs.” The untruths spewed from the ignorance of these candidates are severely damaging. On the issue of the stimulus package, how many jobs would have been lost was it not for the $700 billion in the president’s ARRA program? How many more millions of Americans would be out of work?
Indeed, ARRA has effectively kept millions of Americans in jobs. Scientist after scientist, over 98%, irrefutably concluded human conduct is responsible for global warming. The blood-oath of “no new taxes” the Republican Party has taken, has served as the perfect distraction to the hundreds of billions of dollars being wasted on wars questionably protecting us from imminent danger.
The issue today is not so much about new taxes, or less taxes, but rather why over half the taxes we currently pay are going to support wars for which there is no attainable objective. Meanwhile, the much more severe and imminent threat is poverty, lack of jobs, and lack of investment in education – our future economy. These threats here in our homeland are real and must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. The virtual annihilation of the middle-class and increased poverty among millions of Americans easily trumps the threat of a desert terrorist solider, whom our president and congressional leaders say we must be protected from at all cost, even if it means losing your home, your job and most of your basic rights.
Of course one party will continue to blame the other and visa versa. Staunch Obama supporters will say, “You certainly don’t want a Republican president because then it will really get bad.” To my esteemed colleagues, it already is! A recent poll showed that California voters gave Congress a 9% approval rating.
It is time for a third rail. Picking the lesser of two evils, the lesser of the two do-nothings, in this climate, will once again leave us with nothing. America is a great country, and we Americans are great people. Settling, albeit the order of the day for now, is not what America does. We know in our hearts we can and must do better.
A mere tapping of 1 in 5 Democrat supporters and 1 in 5 Republican supporters, while shaping an independent (small ‘i’) agenda, could make for a third rail that will bring home our troops, reprioritize our tax dollars for America, not wars, and mandate investment in education and innovation to insure future markets for America’s small businesses. Don’t make this upcoming election about the man or woman, make it about America. Just a thought…
L.A. Ortega is Founder and President of Community Union, Inc., Founding Member of the One Million NIU(New Internet Users) Coalition – www.onemillionNIU.org, Board member of the Latino/a Roundtable of San Gabriel and Pomona Valley, Founding Member of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles and Member of the National Latino Congreso. Contact Ortega by email at Lortega@communityunion.org