Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hispanic Nashvillians judge U.S. President candidates

Tim Chavez, Gregg Ramos, Fabian Bedne, Raul Lopez, and Dennis Nunez weigh in

"Both parties have betrayed Hispanics"

"I remain hopeful that this country will be better, more tolerant, and more accepting of those who may be a bit different"

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook asked some local voters who they support for U.S. president, and why. Here are the responses that came in.

Tim Chavez, columnist:

I'm neither a Republican or Democrat. Both parties have betrayed Hispanics.

Locally, Democrats and liberals were denying English language instruction to Hispanic children in kindergarten when I was investigating Nashville public schools in 2000 and 2001 following complaints by ESL teachers. I took that wrong and others to an official with the Clinton administration who was working for the Al Gore campaign. She sought me out as to why I was criticizing her candidate and party in my column for betraying Hispanic children. Yet she did nothing. Now Janet Murguia is the head of NCLR.

Overall, the Democratic Party is first beholden to the African-American political lobby. So it has been interesting to watch the split of this partnership by the Clinton-Obama race. And ironically, it was Hispanics in California, Nevada and Texas who rescued the floundering campaign of the wife of the supposed "first black president."

Only the election of George W. Bush brought action locally when I took the ESL wrongs to his administration during a White House visit. The district was subsequently found by the U.S. Department of Education to be out of compliance with a federal agreement on ESL education.

But now the Republican Party is driving anti-immigrant legislation in Congress and at the state Capitol. Their efforts have stigmatized all Hispanics, citizens or not. Republicans refuse to recognize the contributions of undocumented workers to this economy and their wealth. Half of undocumented workers initially enter the U.S. on temporary work visas. American businesses need Hispanics either because citizens here are too lazy to work or the businesses are paying too little for too much work. So Republican efforts smack more of bigotry than protecting the security of this nation. I can't be one of them either.

So I look at the candidate. I reject political labels of parties or ideologies. Labels just allow the other side to dismiss you.

I fought the TennCare cuts in my column. That would be considered a liberal position. I have opposed abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother immediately endangered. That's considered a conservative position. I oppose capital punishment; liberal. I like George Bush for No Child Left Behind, his humanitarian efforts in Africa and for trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform instead of punitive measures proposed by most Republicans; conservative. I support universal health care; liberal. I believe the mainstream news media has a liberal bias; conservative.

I could go on. But I've written too much.

Gregg Ramos, attorney:

I am supporting Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. This was a very difficult decision for me to make since I think highly of both Senator Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. I am incredibly impressed with their intellect, knowledge of the issues and communication skills. I also believe they are very similar from an ideological point of view. What tipped me in favor of Senator Obama however, is that for whatever reason Sen. Clinton seems to rub more people the wrong way. That is, her negative ratings are considerably higher than are Senator Obama’s. I believe this is quite unfair but is just the way it is for reason(s) I can’t pretend to understand. Since I believe this election may very well be decided by Independents and disgruntled Republicans who are tired of the status quo, it is my judgment that Sen. Obama will stand a better chance of attracting these crucial voters than will Senator Clinton. Hence, I am backing Sen. Obama.

I will add that although I disagree with Republican Senator John McCain on several issues, especially his stance on the war, I have the utmost respect and admiration for him. He was extremely courageous in my opinion regarding his efforts to reach across the aisle to try and achieve bipartisan, meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform. He also remained steadfast in his support for the war in Iraq at a time when the war was not going well and was hugely unpopular with most of the country. This, to me, demonstrated the strength and sincerity of his convictions, even when “smart” politics may have dictated a different position. How can you not respect and admire a person who stands up for what he believes notwithstanding the political consequences? I also appreciate Senator McCain’s ethics reforms and his unequivocal stance against the use of waterboarding by the CIA. John McCain is a true American hero in my opinion and would be a President I could be very comfortable with should he manage somehow to prevail over either one of the above-referenced Democrats in November.

Regardless of which of the above candidates ultimately prevails in November, I remain hopeful that this country will be better, more tolerant, and more accepting of those who may be a bit different.

Fabian Bedne, architect:

I support Obama, not because I think badly of Clinton, I just think that Obama will be less likely to compromise on core ethical issues as he seems to nurture his politics from core convictions. The Clintons have a tradition of pragmatism that may have worked well in the past, but in a moment where certain things need to absolutely get done I feel better with Obama.

Raul Lopez, business owner:

No matter who the Democrats nominate as their candidate, never have the differences on the issues been more stark than today:

Lower taxes vs tax increases
Success in Iraq vs surrender in Iraq
Strict constructionist judges vs judges who legislate from the bench
Health care for American families vs government-run health care
Fiscal discipline vs continued pork, wasteful government spending and earmarks

The future will look very different if we do not nominate and elect John McCain

Dennis Nunez, attorney:

I am a Democrat and I voted for Barack Obama. Although I like Hillary Clinton, I am concerned that Hillary will be another polarizing figure in the White House. Personally, I think Hillary Clinton has better credentials than both Barack Obama or John McCain. However, I am looking for a candidate that strongly desires to get us out of Iraq and that can swing independents and moderates to the Democrats.

1 comment:

  1. Tim said, "I like George Bush for No Child Left Behind, his humanitarian efforts in Africa and for trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform instead of punitive measures proposed by most Republicans; conservative."

    Actually, those are fairly liberal positions which just so happen to be supported by a conservative Republican.


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