Latinos and the Tea Party are two groups that just can't seem to coexist.
Further proof came Wednesday as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus only to have hundreds of Tea Party supporters protest the meeting. Locally, The Post-Journal recently ran a Letter to the Editor titled "Stop Translating And Start Demanding English Be Our Primary Language" written in response to an editorial saying the area should continue its Hispanic services navigator position. The letter carries with it a message echoed in Wednesday's Tea Party protests in Washington and has garnered 74 comments and 1,227 page views in two days at www.post-journal.com.
Imagine our surprise, then, that Wednesday saw separate protests on Second Street, Jamestown, involving about 30 Southern Tier Tea Party Patriots and 40 Hispanics.
The local Tea Party group gathered outside the IRS offices to protest the agency's targeting of conservative groups nationally and the abuses of power being seen in the national government. "Don't tread on me" read one man's flag. A group comprised mostly of Spanish-speaking Jamestown residents walked from Immanuel Lutheran Church past many area funders - including the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation - chanting "Latinos unidos, jamas vencidos" - Latinos united, we are never defeated - to voice their support for Joint Neighborhood Project's Hispanic services navigator position.
The Hispanics and Southern Tier Tea Party Patriots certainly weren't protesting together Wednesday. Imagine the powerful message it would have sent if they did. For, when you strip away the national rhetoric and take a closer look at what happened on Second Street, these two disparate groups have similar objectives.
At its most base level, two groups of Chautauqua County residents feel as if their society isn't representing their interests. They're unhappy with society's direction because rights and opportunities they have either long enjoyed or hope to enjoy seem to be moving further and further from their grasp. They want nothing more than to feel that someone is looking out for their best interests so they can live their lives as they want to live them.
They used different words to express their message Wednesday. Make no mistake, it was the same message.