To The Reader's Forum:
Many Republicans have little social connection or rapport with Latinos (and vice versa). Republicans from states with high-density Latino populations, such as Texas, are less prone to misunderstanding. But too many Republicans mistake Latinos as intrinsically Democratic voters. Of course, they surely will become so if repudiated and insulted by the GOP.
This is a big mistake. The worldview of Hispanics trends much closer to a conservative vision than to a progressive one. Mexico's "declaration of independence" from Spain, celebrated on Sept. 15, reads like a Tea Party manifesto. The speech by the Mexican Jefferson, Father Miguel Hidalgo, is as close to the heart of our Mexican brothers as is the Declaration of Independence is to the people of the United States:
"My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen 300 years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once ... Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government!
"Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots?" "Death to bad government?" These are sentiments that would be branded by the Department of Homeland Security as "extreme right-wing" defined in its "Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008" as "groups that believe that one's personal or national way of life is under attack and ... that the threat is imminent (and for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial or religious group) and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack ... by participating in paramilitary preparations and training. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic ... suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty ..." The words of the Grito were spoken, as were the words of the Declaration of Independence written, at the moment of actual insurrection. Resoundingly, the core values of human dignity and liberty persist. About half of our Hispanic population derives from Mexico. And Hispanics from south of Mexico tend very much to share these values. Let us now praise, among others, El Libertador, Simon Bolivar. As I've written elsewhere, "The millions of Hispanics in America make up an invisible conservative electoral El Dorado, 'City of Gold' enriching American society. They are 'imprisoned lighting' that can, once unleashed, help restore America to greatness.