Just when we think there is nothing more Republicans can do to alienate themselves from Latino voters, when they have made it clear to most Latinos that they don't want us in their "big tent," out they come with more evidence to convince even the diehard Latino Republicans that they are unwelcomed in their own party.
For Latino Republicans who had refused to see the hidden agenda behind the movement to make English the official language of government, last week's Conservative Political Action Conference served a huge dose of reality. For those who were naive enough to believe the "official English" measure supported by GOP presidential candidates was only a symbolic gesture to recognize English as our national language, CPAC should have been an eye-opener.
"In law, we must declare English to be the official language of the United States of America," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, "And the reason for that is that, if you don't, they will make all kinds of excuses, and declare, 'well, the national language,' you know. It's got to be the official language so that the official functions of government are in English."
Mind you, he was not just talking about language, but about the official "functions" of government. This is what some naive Latino Republicans refuse to see. When they hear Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul blabbering about making English official, they refuse to see this is a campaign against their own community.
Of course, there are GOP Latino spinners still trying to sweep their party's English-only agenda under the rug. After all, we are supposed to believe that Republicans "love" legal immigrants and only have a problem with illegal immigration.
Nevertheless, the anti-Latino agenda behind the official English movement was clearly spelled out at the CPAC conference. It's about eliminating all government documents and services in Spanish. It's about disempowering the largely Democrat Hispanic community by eliminating bilingual ballots!
The presidential candidates don't come out and say it that way because they figure they still can get a few naive Latinos to vote for them. But King was talking to right-wing extremists, and he wanted to be clear about his intentions when he introduced the H.R.997, the English Language Unity Act of 2011.
He said the bill would serve as an amendment to the Voting Rights Act because, he said, "it imposes multiple language use when it comes to voting," and he wants that requirement stricken from current law.
For a party that claims to be the ultimate defender of freedom, you would think Republicans would be fighting to give us the freedom to vote — in any language. But since most Latinos historically vote for Democrats, Republicans are looking for ways to make immigrant voting more difficult. Apparently, they believe in freedom, but only for those who would vote for Republicans.
Amazingly, King's diatribe was delivered at a panel discussion that was tailor-made for white supremacists. The name says it all: "The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity is Weakening the American Identity."
No, you don't have to pinch yourself. You are awake and living in the 21st century — a time when, incredibly, white supremacists still can conduct a workshop in a conference attended by presidential candidates, without causing widespread indignation!
After all, this is the conference where Republicans traditionally try to out right wing each other, the gathering where Romney, last week, tried to convince the audience that he had been an "extremely conservative" governor of Massachusetts. This was the place to feed red meat to those who are nourished by racism and xenophobia.
Hosted by ProEnglish, a hate-mongering organization devoted to censoring foreign languages, the panel featured Peter Brimelow, the anti-immigrant author of "Alien Nation" and founder of VDARE, a white nationalist website that promotes racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. VDARE was named after Virginia Dare, the first child born to English settlers in America.
Aha! Draw your own conclusions.
Brimelow, himself an immigrant from Britain, argues that immigration and race are winning issues for Republicans, but he says they need to "mobilize the white base — get them to turn out."
In his CPAC speech, Brimelow defined multiculturalism as "the determination of the elites not to press immigrants to assimilate." He argued that bilingualism actually hurts working Americans because he gets "email all the time from people at eastern Washington state and places like this, who say that kids can't get jobs at McDonald's and places like that because they don't speak Spanish." He said this is "a ferocious attack on the living standards of the American working class."
In other words, if we were all monolingual, McDonald's would have no need to hire Spanish speakers, and we could all live happily ever after. We would be promoting ignorance and isolating ourselves from the rest of the world, but that's OK with Brimelow.
"People like to say, 'well, it's a great thing for people to speak more than one language,'" Brimelow told the CPAC participants Thursday. "I think it's hogwash, myself. I've never felt the absence of more than one language."
What can you say when you hear an alleged intellectual promoting ignorance and rejecting diversity — and reality?
You would have to find a lost colony in the Amazon to perhaps see a place on this planet where there is no diversity or multiculturalism. But that's the America envisioned by extremists such as Brimelow — a white country of European heritage and as isolationist as an Amazon colony.
What can you say about the conference that allowed the participation of such a character and about the presidential candidates who also pandered there?
Were the candidates thinking about the Latino vote when they spoke at CPAC? With this new eye-opener, will Latino Republicans finally see the light?
When Latino GOP spinners tell us that Gingrich, Romney, Santorum and Paul are our "amigos," we should remind them that— if they work for the government — their candidates would forbid their use of Spanish.
To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.