Voting for Sanity or Fear

By Victoria Cepeda

Now that “Sanity” has been restored (or “Fear”), we will have to put our money where our mouths are. Come Tuesday night, November 2nd, results will show whether voters succumbed to fear or regained sanity. As an independent voter, I pledge to vote smart and abstain from letting my emotions get the best of me. I am going into the voting booth with a cool head with just the facts that I have gathered within the last two years. What I will not ignore when voting are those leaders that led bigoted and biased campaigns. My vote will go to those that understand the huge responsibility of leading this nation and how important it is to unite versus divide.

Did you hear about a recent Pew Hispanic survey? With a sample pool of 1,375 Latinos 18 and older, including 618 registered voters. They found that the top issue for those registered to vote is education, followed by jobs and health care. Immigration ranked fifth, behind the federal budget deficit that illustrates that we are just as concerned with the same social and economic issues as non-Latinos.

Another research performed by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), dispells certain myths. For instance there is a myth that Hispanics/Latinos are politically apathetic when the fact is that Latinos are registering to vote at a rate six times greater than the general population and turning out to vote at a rate five times greater than the general population. The USHLI goes on to say that “the Latino population explosion has dramatically changed the complexion of the United States and has had an extraordinary social, economic, cultural and political impact on American society, with no apparent end in sight.”

  • By 2042 no ethnic or racial group will comprise a majority of the U.S. population and it is predicted that the U.S. Hispanic population will reach or exceed 100 million when one in four persons will be Hispanic. And, experts predict that by the end of the 21st century the U.S. population will be 40% white, 33% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 13% Asian.

Yet some Latinos feel certain contempt for voting and wonder why they should care particularly in a time where an anti-Latino wave makes a ripple effect across the country. “Go back to your country” they are told often when sticking up for hardworking immigrants’ rights. “You are not American enough” chime in others while bringing up that their forefathers reached this land as legal immigrants or waited their turn to become so. Those pointing fingers at Latino immigrants argue that most Europeans adapted to the American way of life and learned English (for those not already fluent) better than us. To them I say that whenever anyone leaves behind a country riddled with misery, hunger and perpetual disenfranchise from the wealthier class, chances are that they do not want to look back. Therefore, Europeans that came in the late 19th and mid 20th centuries felt displaced in their home land because many faced persecution and starvation. Most could not even afford the ticket to reach our shores let alone another one to return. Wait; is it not more or less the same circumstances that surround Latino’s immigration to the U.S.? Immigrants leave their homeland in search of a better future, period. Consequently, yes those predominantly European immigrants, to which Latinos are constantly compared to, stayed in the U.S. and made it their objective to adapt. They had no choice because it was long sea voyage back home.

Furthermore, what some fail to grasp is that Latinos have ancestors that were already living in the Americas way before the Europeans arrived. For some home has always been Florida, the southwest, the west coast or just south of the border. Thus, I would argue that geography (place of origin) is what truly differentiates us from other immigrant groups. Latinos, already originate from the Americas and shares the same continent where the United States sits.

I mean there has to be a reason why Latinos are courted by social media giants such as Facebook, AOL , and MSN. Why else would companies provide Spanish speaking operators willing to accommodate our non-English speakers?  Why translate directions and instructions on packages into Spanish? After all it is no where stipulated in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights that the U.S. should provide services in any other language other than English. However, as a courtesy, many American companies offer this service to Latinos. Are these companies then in part to blame for some Latinos not assimilating? Could we single out these companies/businesses for  making it easier for Latinos not to learn English? It would not be fair to do so.  I am inclined to think that it all has to do with our purchasing power that translates into revenues and profits to local and national business , retailers and providers of goods and services across the country. With our patronage we are ensuring continuity to many businesses in the U.S. That is why we must vote. We need to close the gap between what these businesses want and need (our attention and money) and what politicians have failed to heed. After all, I am already home and pride myself in being a vital engine to the U.S. economy.

Who do you trust to represent you? Let it be known with your vote.


Poll: Latinos three times as likely to be Democrats, but less likely to vote


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