Ousting Trump is the way forward for hard-pressed Latinos
Ricky Hurtado, a Democratic candidate for the North Carolina state house, right, talks to volunteers before they head out to canvass voters, in Mebane, N.C., Sunday, March 8, 2020. The plans could not be carried out as they had hoped, however, with the arrival of the coronavirus. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP

LOS ANGELES — In this country of abundant resources and talk of greatness we still have Latino children suffering from hunger every day and night. Their concentration and focus on education drift away because their minds are worrying about other things. Latino parents worry about keeping their families together, securing adequate housing, health care, protection from the COVID-19 infection, how they will provide for their family as the economy worsens, and financial matters, such as gainful employment. These are real concerns.

Dealing with day-to-day life issues leaves very little time to attend to other matters such as voting. Many poor, unemployed and working-class Latinos are just trying to survive in this time of turmoil and fear. The Latino community is trying to understand why policies by the current president have targeted their community, their families, their livelihoods.

Unfortunately, voting may not be a priority given all the obstacles pushed upon the Latino community. With this in mind, the Latino community has no other recourse but to push back. The current president, his administration, and all his allies in the Senate expect and want this non-voting attitude to infiltrate into the community. In fact, they want Latinos to stay home, to be frightened, to be ashamed, and make voting a household non-issue.

Refuse to be taken for granted

The Latino community is so much more important than to let this president and his supporters try to take us for granted, try to push us down in a country that Latinos help build on a land where Latinos have lived for centuries along with other Indigenous people.

They don’t speak for you, and they don’t want you. So they create an environment of hate, distrust, a fantasized “purity” of ideas aligned with white supremacists, and authoritarian anti-democratic leadership.

Let me be clear. I have heard many supporters of the president claim they are not racist. They do not hate people. They only want what is best for this country. Some supporters have said the president is like a friend. He speaks up for them.

There is an old saying, “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Supporting this president, his administration and policies will not address Latino concerns. The president and his allies do not speak for you. Supporting a racist, hateful, anti-democratic president and his related policies says much about his supporter.

Vote and vote early

The Latino community must make a real voting commitment. Voting is one way—not the only way, of course—to push back. In this particular moment, there is no more important time to get your family, relatives, and friends committed to vote and get out to vote. It is time for the Latino community to push back and push back hard.

The only real choice the Latino community has in this election is the Biden/Harris ticket. But your vote will not be the only ones that will count. Millions of people across this country are going to vote, even if they have to stand in line for hours as the pandemic continues to rage around us. They are going to vote out the current president and elect the Biden/Harris ticket and anti-Trump candidates all down the ballot at every level of governance.

In California this year there is no Senatorial race. But a number of critical races are taking place in states where incumbent pro-Trump Republicans are up for re-election—who voted against removing him from the presidency when they had the chance in the impeachment trial back in February. The Latino vote could be the deciding factor in such states as North and South Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Montana, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan and Maine. Democrats need to flip a minimum of three or four Senate seats (depending on who wins the presidency) to gain control.

With the election of Biden/Harris, and with a Democratic-controlled Senate, a more inclusive and democratic environment will move across the country. But it will take much hard work to rebuild out of the disaster “I alone” Trump has created. It will take the input of a broad-based coalition of political and community forces with assistance from communities of color, all working together, not against each other.

Stakes are high

Here are a few things Latinos and all those who want positive change can do to get involved in the elections. However, Latino participation in the upcoming elections in any way or manner is important.

Register to vote! It’s a simple form to fill out, or try registering online. Get assistance in filling out the form. There is no shame in getting help in order to get involved in the elections. Check your voting status. If you have moved, make sure you register to vote using your new address. You can register to vote if you are at least 18 years of age—or will be by Election Day, November 3. Don’t wait to register to vote. Do it now. Make plans now to vote. Every vote counts.

Get five (5) neighbors to commit to registering to vote between now and the November election. Consigamos que cinco (5) vecinos se comprometan a registrarse para votar desde ahora hasta las elecciones de noviembre.

Get three (3) of your relatives to commit to voting in November. Consiga que tres (3) de sus familiares se comprometan a votar en noviembre.

Get two (2) work associates or former associates, if retired, to commit to voting in November. Consiga que dos (2) asociados de trabajo o exasociados, si se jubila, se comprometan a votar en noviembre.

Together, we can reclaim our neighborhoods. We can change this country for the better. Voting accountability is up to all of us. It is so easy to just say, “No tengo tiempo” (I don’t have time.)  Haga tiempo! (Make time!) It must be done. This is one of the most important elections in our lifetime.

The Latino vote is critical. The Latino vote will help elect the Biden/Harris ticket. But the work of improving and saving the Latino community will continue because the problems left to be resolved in our community, and in the country as a whole, are deep and persistent. Long neglected immigration reform is obviously one of them. Working for general improvement is also a part of the democratic process. Now is the time to push back.

Let’s take one not so small example, which is currently on people’s minds. The Trump government is charged in 2020 with managing the decennial Census and has tried with every trick in the book to undercount the population, specifically non-citizens resident in the U.S. An undercount especially in our great urban centers, as well as in more rural areas where concentrations of Latino workers are in such industries as agriculture and meatpacking, will reduce those states’ political representation in Congress, and also reduce allotment of funds for schools, social services, health care, infrastructure, and planning for the future. If Hillary Clinton were the president in 2020, guaranteed, there would never for a single moment have been a question about the fairness and legitimacy of the Census, nor any cause for a non-citizen to wonder if filling out a Census form would put them or their families in danger.

Voting matters. The Latino vote counts.


CONTRIBUTOR

David Trujillo
David Trujillo

David Trujillo is a member of the National Writers Union, a playwright, writer, and community activist.

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