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30 de Enero, 2008

MAPA for Obama

Categorized under Política Estados Unidos , Race for '08 | Tags: , , ,

From Nativo. V. Lopez, National President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) "the oldest political-civic organization of Mexican Americans and Latinos in the U.S."

January 29, 2008

In various previous bulletins we have pointed out numerous contradictions and challenges facing us during this presidential campaign. The aspirations for political change that conforms to the myriad social needs of Latinos, the working majorities of the U.S., and all people of color are huge. Fair and humane immigration reform, an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the return of U.S. troops to their loved ones, universal and affordable healthcare, fair versus “free” trade policies and an end to the export of millions of jobs, immediate relief to working families devastated by the subprime housing crisis, equitable and progressive tax rates, a reduction of the budget deficit not on the backs of working people, a restoration and protection of privacy rights and an end to government spying and surveillance on its citizens and residents, protected right to organize a union and negotiate a collective bargaining unit, an end to the era of dependency on fossil fuels, the inviolability of women’s right to choice and immediate access to health services - these and many more issues are moving millions of people into motion in search of relevant change in our country.

The real question before us is whether any of the current presidential candidates measures up to our expectations and aspirations for change within the context of a constrained political system dominated by two main political parties - Republican and Democratic, its various minor parties, but an ever growing and robust independent segment of the electorate?

The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), the oldest political-civic organization of Mexican Americans and Latinos in the U.S., answers the question in the affirmative with some reservations. The task before us is enormous and we refuse to invest everything on one woman or man aspiring to assume the highest political office in the land, and expect that this will create the change we desire. This is only one element of the political equation. The majority of the responsibility for change is ours - our collective responsibility to create sweeping social movement and impose our political will as the majority producers of society. We do this by participating in political elections, mobilizations of masses of people, social protests, lobbying, sit-ins, petitions, recall of elected officials when necessary, and the use of many other tactics.

No political candidate is perfect, but which candidate comes closest to our ideal and speaks to our issues and interests, exudes confidence, demonstrates a track-record for integrity and speaking truth to power, and voting in favor of working peoples interests?

Our first choice was Congressman Dennis Kucinich. We firmly believe that his platform is our platform, and that his progressive trajectory as an elected official speaks for itself. However, for many reasons citizen Kucinich retired from the presidential primary race to pursue a re-election bid for his current seat. MAPA stood on principle to support the candidate who thoroughly stands for peace, fair trade, humane immigration reform, universal healthcare access, women’s choice, worker’s rights, and while his candidacy may have represented an impossible long-shot - we resolved that elections in and of themselves do not constitute the main measure of political change, and that our fight is a strategic one premised on deep-rooted organization of political conscious Latino workers and families in alliance with affinity constituencies.

However, something nasty in the national campaigns reared its head over the past two weeks, which motivated us to consider another endorsement for a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party primary elections. We have observed with utter disgust the use of racially divisive and polarizing tactics employed by the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, against Senator Barack Obama, not the first presidential candidate of African American origin. This is something that we would have expected from Republican candidates, but instead it surfaced from the bowels of the center-right institutional currents of the Democratic Party. The tactics are absolutely deplorable and clearly demonstrate what the Clintons think of all people of color.

In other words, when they speak and refer to Senator Barack Obama in the racially disparaging manner in which they have, they are really referring to all of us people of color - African Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. Perhaps worst yet, they think little of white members of the electorate wrongly believing that such tactics would move white voters away from Senator Obama - the scary specter of a black candidate with little experience and questionable credibility assuming the reins of power. The repeated claim by the Clintons’ paid pollster, Sergio Bendixen that Latinos won’t vote for a black man is one more example of the polarizing self-fulfilling prophecy injected into the campaign of late. Certainly they will deny such a charge, but then again, they are not people of color and have not been the victims of their own invective.

MAPA has historically supported candidates it believed were competent to represent the corresponding electorate irrespective of their national origin, race, gender or age. The content of their character is what mattered most to us.

The leadership and membership of MAPA have resolved to endorse Senator Barack Obama as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, who also just happens to be African American.

We also observe with great pride growing numbers of young white voters enthusiastically embracing the message of Senator Obama, black voters turning out in greater percentages than previous elections exuding pride and hope, Latino culinary union members who see themselves in the candidacy of the young senator, and women who deposit their faith in the intelligence and oratorical imagery displayed by candidate Barack Obama. All of this bodes well for the future of America - seeing beyond race - capable of assimilating the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Senator Obama is the only remaining candidate who has declared in favor of issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants (much before the current campaign) and the right of immigrant youth to higher education through the Dream Act, pursuing humane immigration reform his first year in office, returning all U.S. combat troops from Iraq, (one of the few federal legislators who originally opposed the war publicly), and pursuing universal healthcare reform (albeit retaining a role for private insurance companies) - these are a few of his down-payment commitments to the electorate he seeks to convince that now is the time to carve the change required due to the current maladies plaguing the country. It is our obligation to move this campaign and candidacy still closer to the wishes and pressing needs of the majorities.

Si Se Puede con Obama, Yes We Can with Obama, is the recurring chant that we now will also raise to oppose those candidates who live in the past, seek dynasty, angle to divide and polarize us, or propose continued neo-liberal directions for the nation-state.

Si Se Puede with Obama, and with and by and for the people.

Nativo V. Lopez
National President

SO...how's that "Latinos Won't Vote For Blacks" meme working out for ya, Bendixen?

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Comentarios (16)

Rafael dijo:


Nativo V. Lopez

That alone says a lot, doesn't Nez?

Jay dijo:


Honestly I don't know how anyone who has an immigrant in their family or circle of friends would vote for the Clintons. IIRIRA which tore apart thousands of families was bad enough but Hillary Clinton is making speeches about removing due process for any immigrant who commits a crime. No immigration court, no BIA, no federal court. Just put em on a plane to wherever they came from says she.

If that became bigger news I imagine it would damage her a bit. Fortunately for her no one is paying attention.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


rafa, hell yeah.


no, jay, you are right. i have that link. i almost worked it into the recent post i did on bendixen. but figured it was...worthy of its own post. just very busy. thanks for mentioning it feel free to drop link if you have it onhand.

Jay dijo:


Here is a link to HRC's position. The effects of IIRIRA would be harder to dig up as it's been in effect for over a decade now. I have to deal with it's effects all of the time (immigration attorney) so I know it f'in sucks.

XP dijo:


To tell you the truth, now that it is down to these two, I am not going to participate in the primary election. I refuse to be forced play this dangerous game of damned if do and damned if I don't.

If I choose to vote for Hillary, then I am just the typical Highspanic who is voting for anyone but an African American. If I choose to vote for Obama, then I am just a typical Highspanic male dog who is not ready for a woman president. So fuck that shit.

cindylu dijo:


No ONE in my family is interested in voting for Clinton. I think it's funny.

I never paid much attention to the "Latinos won't vote for a black man" meme 'cause I know better, but I like my mom's assertion that there's just something about Hillary that doesn't sit well with her.

Oh! And I have voted for a black person. My representatives in the California Assembly and US House of Representatives are both black women.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


XP, we certainly dont have to let others' possible judgments on us define our voting...just obama's and hillary's stances on migrants says enough right now. let those issues inform the vote, i say. not what other people might call us for making the choices we do.


there you go, cindylu...upsetting bendixen again!

Tomas el Anglo dijo:


I'd rather mark the ballot for Kucinich, but he dropped out.

I liked that Dodd had the stones to push back against the President, but then Dodd dropped out, too.

And then I liked that Edwards was making a strong populist statement, but of course he's out of the race, as well.

Our primary is on Super Tuesday, and I'll be looking for those three names on the ballot (there's a time limit for getting a candidate's name removed from the ballot before the primary). So if I see Kucinich's name, he'll get my vote. If not, I'll look for Dodd. If Dodd's not there, I'll look for Edwards.

Not quite clear what I'll do if Edwards isn't there, but mi esposa is prepared to vote for Obama if Edwards' name doesn't appear.

No One of Consequence dijo:


Hiearchy of sins.

Clinton has held power in politics for longer, so her rap sheet is longer. But Obama has a passion for self-interested policies that she just barely matches.

In neither case am I getting health care. In neither case are the sick people in my family better off in the long run.

Pox meet houses.

I'll vote against the Repugs in the general which, physically speaking, means filling out the space near the Dem.

(I almost want to vote for Clinton just so the aristocracy doesn't get to use Obama's face as a stamp of approval.)

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


well, i dont see it quite that simply. first of all regarding the "obama's face" thing, it is no different than using a woman's face/presence in the same way. for she would be a symbol for women, just as he would be a symbol for the racial aspect. harm could be done behind both and harm both causes.

and there are definitely different stances they have taken regarding some of the things that interest me. and i know both of their rap sheets go back as long as the vote for the iraq war. let's not forget judgment on the iraq war. its a very big thing, i'm sure you'd agree?

finally, i agree that neither does says or stands for everything i want. and yet. do we give up on the whole process? vote capriciously and casually or spitefully? or do we hope and try our best? a personal call for sure.

No One of Consequence dijo:


Well, you don't give _up_ on the process, but that doesn't mean the process deserves anything but your contempt. This is the process that destroyed the best candidates (Kucinich and Edwards) with superlative ease.

I believe that Clinton is about as dirty as Obama on Iraq. Yes, Clinton voted for it and Obama spoke against it, but Obama happily supported it once it started; forgive me if I think he's wholly untrustworthy.

Look, if we all believe that our institutions are fundamentally corrupt, we should be concerned with appearances and leverage over the undecided (stupid) voter. We should _definately_ be concerned with image vis-a-vis democratic voters, since that's the party that has even a snowball's chance of doing something right. Since I believe that Obama and Clinton will yield basically the same policies -- actually, I suspect Clinton will have a better health care plan due to the criticisms leveled at Obama's, but I doubt either of them will attempt to implement it in the first place (more for Obama) -- but since they're basically the same, we should vote for the one that weakens the establishment the most in the long run.

I think that's Clinton.

Obama will get more done than Clinton. I think the cachet of being the first black president will give him more leverage. But that's what I'm afraid of. I'd rather the less-effective Clinton. Because I do not think he's better than Clinton, I want the president that will have the fewest opportunities to fuck up.

This isn't spite -- despair-colored, perhaps. If I had even an iota of evidence that Obama had a policy advantage on Clinton, I'd cleave* to that shit. Seriously. But I've been down on WonderBoy since around 2003. When I heard he was against Iraq, I became a one-issue vote: Barack Hates Iraq II, yay! Then when I heard him backing our empire, then saber-rattling for Iran, then dismissing the Palestenians -- eh, I exaggerate, he lost me with Iraq, the rest was icing.

I don't begrudge anyone an Obama vote. But are people seriously finding vast chasms of policy between the two leftovers? That is not rhetorical, I want to know.

*How come we have a word in our language that simultaneously means to adhere closely to and to split apart? We are a fucked-up people.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


thank you for taking the time to type that. i appreciate it.

i am working on a post that wil, i hope, make my position clear. i respect yours and the energy with which you state it.

No One of Consequence dijo:


Not trying to be a dick*, Nezua, but when you're writing your reply keep the following things in mind:

Krugman notes Obama copies Repug smear ad. from the 90's.

Erie parallels between now and several decades ago vis-a-vis health care, and the shortcomings of both the Obama-Clinton health care plans.

Click on the links, ye Obama-confident, and despair.**

The sadness is large, it is encompassing. Come into the abyss, mourn with us as we choose between two indifferent-when-not malicious gods, She of the Boobs and He of the Melanin. Cease your struggle to differentiate them and let the cool despair guide your hand as you pull the lever. I'm up past my bedtime; this will read much more goofily tomorrow morning.

*But I may yet succeed. It's a gift. :-/
**Note the size of the comments on what's usually a sedate blog. Irrational exhuberance for any candidate is a dangerous thing, but for a thoroughly corporate shill, it's downright terrifying. Grudging support of Clinton is a different critter than fanatical support of Obama. This gets back to the enabling meme in my last post.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


i dont know that i'm part of the cult for obama or the cult against. in fact, my friend, i dont need to join you in the abyss, because i was there as a teenager, and i've never left. that is, i think all these politicians are full of it. but cool despair does not make me pull a lever. it makes me turn away completely.

my vote, if it happens, has nothing to do with boobs or melanin, actually. it would have to do with a couple things. one definitely being the iraq war vote. no article by krugman can erase that difference, which to me, is vast. huge. inarguable. what if all, or enough, had voted as obama had?

no war.

think about it. that's quite a difference.

the rest is what my post is about.

thanks for the links.

No One of Consequence dijo:


I recall thinking that shortly after the Iraq vote went down, it may well have been that Obama wanted the war, but, knowing the war vote would pass, voted against it to stand out. This is rather nasty speculation, but I and other progressives floated the idea. Did we believe it at the time? I didn't. I expected these doubts would be negated after shit went pear-shaped.

That didn't happen.

If anything, Obama's vote shows him to be more cunning, not more ethical. Obama has not led an antiwar movement. He has not led a pro-health-care movement. Neither he nor Clinton have led much of anything.

Is this nit-picking? You betcha. The conflict is minor, nothing but nits left. Edwards vs. The Other Two was worth drawing knives in the streets. Clinton vs. Obama is worth a quiet discussion in a drawing room. (Kucinich? Kucinich? If he had the cajones and skill to back up his ethics, I'd max out my credit card, sell my possesions, buy a katana, head up to Washington and put myself in his service as his first samurai. But he doesn't, so I post on blogs.)

By the way, I by NO MEANS meant to imply that you were part of Obama's OcCult (damn, I'm so clever!). There are perfectly valid reasons to vote for Obama that do not require you to go batshit insane. The cult was noted only because of the irrational effect flowery rhetoric has had. Obama's speeches suck -- compare them to any of the strong speeches of the first half of the last century from any pol. We're so starved for non-sound-bite rhetoric that good grammar impresses us.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Author Profile Page dijo:


its a very cynical view. and maybe the world deserves it. or maybe not.