Having just returned home a few days ago from the incredibly long National Council of La Raza Conference, I find myself widely amused by the Presidential Nominees attempts to woo the ever present Latino vote. Obama talks about progressive immigration reform and offering solutions to the 12 million undocumented people that live in the shadows of our nation and McCain speaks about the honor, pride and patriotism of Latinos in the military. It is interesting to note from a first person perspective what I have seen.
When Obama entered the room, there was a sense of excitement, eagerness wild enthusiasm. The room exploded in applause and people were generally star struck. When McCain entered the room, the excitement was not as present, but rather what was noted was a sense of respect for a man whose service to our nation is undoubtedly a huge part of his character.
Much of the debate amongst people in the crowd was the picture of McCain placing a rose at the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, taken just a few days earlier. After speaking with some Republican friends, I realized that McCain’s outreach to Latinos is a far simpler subliminal message. Reaching out to faith-based voters, those Catholic devotees, this picture is brilliant.
Your average Joe and Jane, or Jose and Juana, just like every other American, are dealing with high gas prices, high food costs, a bad economy, bad mortgage rates and frankly, don’t have time to be truly focus on the issues, and with both candidates changing their platforms to reach the center, who really knows what is going on? All I can say is, from what I am sensing, reading and critiquing, McCain is going to give Obama a run for his online money. Immigration talk is great, but as we know, [undocumented] immigrants don’t vote, and when Obama says “You could be as powerful as your numbers” he is calling out on all those people that marched and claimed the sleeping giant had awoken, to register to vote, meaning, people he cant yet rely on. And for those that can vote, or the ones that do support immigration reform, they are going to remember McCain as someone who honors Latinos as patriots for serving in our nations military, which is a strategic form of acknowledging Latinos as American without uttering the word immigrant, and of course, they will remember McCain for having knelt in front of our Lady of Guadalupe, and to many, [especially those that see the virgen in tortillas, trees and paved roads] nothing could be more sacred. Nicely played McCain, nicely played.