The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) kick off their annual convention in Dallas today. This is an interesting time to meet considering the assault on the growing Latino community by the ultra right, errr, GOP.
Yesterday, NALEO announced that there are now 5,132 Latinos in elected positions across the USA. NALEO says that's a 37% increase over the past decade - impressive. Also yesterday, the GOP led U.S. House of Representatives delayed a vote on the extension of the Voting Rights Act - landmark legislation that has been key to Latino successes at the ballot box in Texas and throughout the Southwest.
The vote was delayed at the request of a few complaining Texas GOP House members. I guess they don't like the fact that of the 5,132 Latinos in elected positions across the USA, 42% of them are from Texas. One of the Texas GOP House members even wants to do away with bilingual ballots. You kind of get the feeling that they even want to build a fence around the electoral process. I guess I can't blame them. As more Latinos become registered to vote, they are not going to be inclined to vote for a GOP that has tried to kick them out of the country and shut them out of the political process.
The day before yesterday, another ultra right group crawled out of its hole and announced they were going to gather signatures on petitions to force a city of Houston vote on making the Houston Police Department an arm of the U.S. Border Patrol. I must have missed something. I guess we got this crime rate thing in Houston whupped. The TV stations must have made up the murder and robbery they reported on the local newscast this morning. If we're going to have our finest chasing down paperless folks, who's going to control traffic before and after the games at the yard?
And a few days ago, the GOP led U.S. House of Representatives - here they go again - announced that there probably would not be an immigration bill passed anytime soon, but in the meantime, hearings are going to be held. You know, the kind where the GOP controls the agenda and speakers and message, meaning, let's make Latinos the bogeyman for everything that is not right in America.
You know, you get the feeling that this might be an ugly race deal. Really?
Don't be surprised if the ultra right, errrr, GOP makes a play at Major League Baseball's Latino ballplayers. They probably will blame this human growth hormone stuff on the influx of Latino baseball players. Can you imagine the game without Pujols, ManRam, Who's Your Daddy and Vladamir? Scary thought. Scary times.
Still, it's good to be a Latino.
June 22, 2006, 9:00AM