Recently, a column of mine drew heavy response from an excited group of Hispanics far to the left that disagreed substantially with the points I made. If they had been state prosecutors, they would have charged me with many felony counts of turning my back on my people, on ignoring their needs, of betraying the principles they live by and insist others do too and for selling out to “the Man,” Whites.
They use two words as ultimate pejoratives: VENDIDO – sell out; and COCONUT – Brown on the outside and white on the inside.
I am neither, end of discussion.
I am what I believe in, I am what I am because I have the tools to think on my own, to realize that everything we need to know socially, economically and politically is written down somewhere in book, on the net or passed on to us by our families.
What these critics refuse to understand is that as ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said some years ago – Reasonable men looking at the same facts will arrive at the same conclusions (at least he said something like that).
The problem then, is what is a reasonable person?
For example, I choose most of my political affinity through history, say 75%.
The party I choose was organized to stop the spread of slavery in the United States in 1854. It morphed into the party that ended slavery for all time. The party refused to see the United States of America destroyed by special slave-holding interests and defended the country and the Constitution by organizing and successfully defending it from those who would have destroyed it. My party reinvented the United States of America when it amended the Constitution to guarantee:
-Equal protection of the law
-Due process of law
-Ended slavery by amending the Constitution
-Guaranteed American citizenship to all born in the United States
-Military service for Black and Hispanic Americans
-Passed into law the vote for women
My party did these things by democratic processes, political leadership and a profound respect for and desire to save the country. At every step of these processes and the Civil War itself, the other party fought my party in Congress, in the states and on the battlefield.
It was the other party that winked and nodded the Ku Klux Klan into existence as a domestic terror group to terrorize by fire, rope and death American citizens of the Black persuasion and foreign born Catholics and Jews. It was the other party that smothered Hispanic citizens in Texas while my party was electing the first Hispanic statewide officeholder in California, the first elected Hispanic congressman (California), the first Hispanic governor (New Mexico), the first Hispanic U.S. Senator (New Mexico) and even appointed the first Hispanic Navy Admiral (Farragut) and first Hispanic Army General (California Native Cavalry, Union forces).
It was the other party that shut down the South when Union troops left; it reinstituted segregation, took the vote away from American Blacks and refused them the rights and privileges of American citizenship and of human rights in general for the crimes of being Black and Republican.
As late as 1940, it was the other party and it’s President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that opposed anti-lynching bills in Congress.
It was my party that led the United States into the world and turned the 20th Century into the American Century. Teddy Roosevelt did that; he laid the groundwork for our becoming a world power, he started the Panama Canal making the Pacific Ocean an American ocean which it is to this day.
It was the President of the other party that invaded Mexico twice in 1914 and 1916. That same President led the way for the 16th Amendment and its income tax.
It was the President of the other party that wanted to disband the United States Marine Corps, America’s first line of defense after WWII and was stopped in time for the Corps to save the war in Korea, much to that President’s chagrin.
It was governors of the other party in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other southern states that prevented Black children from attending schools ordered integrated by the United States Supreme Court, not governors from my party.
It was the President from my party that ordered United States troops into schools so that Black children could attend schools formerly reserved for Whites-only, not a President from the other party.
It was U.S. Senators from my party that provided the votes to override southern Democrat inspired filibusters and to vote for civil and voting rights in enough numbers to defeat efforts to kill the bills in 1964 and 1965; it was not senators from the other party.
My party wins the historical argument hands down; my party is Republican.
Contreras formerly wrote for the New America News Service of the New York Times