Do Not Judge A Book By It's Cover
On the selection of a president
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer
Los perritos wanted to go outside tonight, just a while ago. I stood there with them, looking up at the dark skies, pondering all of the talking heads' statements about tonight's Presidential Debate.
Published on LatinoLA: October 16, 2012
What swing states may erode into one candidate's camp, or another's. What people have been saying since the last Presidential debate. How President Obama did not "perform" up to people's expectations.
And I am fearful.
Not because of the darkness of the night, but because it is apparent that some people have short memories. Others are not involved in the political machinations of the country, and simply tune in on one night or another and decide, on the basis of one and a half hours of disjointed questions and responses, who will gain their vote for the Presidency.
But, Mi Gente, there is so much more at stake for us. Not tonight, not on the next debate night, but on Election Day. Our quality of life is on the line. The future of our children and grandchildren is on the line. The opportunities offered to them and deprivations suffered by them will be written on Election Day.
We have reached, in this election, a fork in the road. Whereas so many of our options in life are, truly, viewable as shades of grey, this election is literally a black or white decision. It is so obvious. And the reason I write now is to rid myself of the fear, like a child crying out in the night after a bad dream. But also to sound a warning: That to select a President based on how he carries himself in front of a national audience for one and a half hours is sheer folly. It is madness.
We all, I am sure, have watched "soap operas" or telenovelas, where there is always one character who is secretly, or maybe not so secretly, evil and has negative motives. And we all sit and dislike them because, somehow, the writers and producers of the shows have clued us in on the "Bad Erica" of "All My Children" fame. Poor Susan Lucci, the actress who played Erica Kane all those years has given interviews where she mentioned people coming up to her on the street and telling her, "How could you have done that? Why couldn't you have let them be happy together?" or other similar statements.
Those people equated the Erica on the soap opera with the Susan Lucci walking down a New York street with her children and actively disliked her. Her persona was so imbued in the part she played, that she was hated in real life.
This may be an odd analogy to make to the debates, but we must be on our own toes here. Just because someone's body language may be off, or they make a comment that rubs us the wrong way at the moment, does not mean that he will be an awful President. Just as it does not mean the other person is the "best" person to lead this country. We cannot judge and make a decision based on what happens in one and one half hours. And we must not.
I will tell you why. So much has happened in the last few years -- and let us go back to the good times -- when President Clinton was at the helm. Sure, metio la patota with Monica Lewinsky. The Senate was gunning for him and impeached him. BUT, he left us with MONEY IN THE BANK. We were not a multi-billion dollars in the hole, as we are now. (I was going to say a zillion dollars, but I have to ask my brother-in-law, the economist who lives in D.C., whether that term is really for real.) We are in serious financial trouble here.
We got into the war in Iraq after 9/11. Rumsfeld said that that war "...would pay for itself...", as he drooled over the thought of ripping off all the oil. Well, that did not happen. It was said our troops would be met as heroes, with flowers and candy being tossed their way. I kid you not. And that did not happen.
Instead, night after night, I watched young men, boys, really, loaded to the gills with weapons, packed into their uniforms and protective gear in that hot, miserable desert, running and looking for the "enemy". Why? It has been documented that Bush gave the order to find a reason to attack Iraq. And when our troops had Osama Bin Laden in the crosshairs of their guns, everyone up the chain of command passed the buck -- and the opportunity passed -- and the war continued.
Then, our young men and women got sent into Afghanistan. And there they remain. Stuck halfway around the world, no way out, fighting against an enemy that wears no uniform and is unidentifiable. All of our troops are doing a valiant job. But what is this doing to them? We have veterans returning with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, physically and mentally maimed, their lives forever changed. Men and women whose mothers and fathers held them in their arms, hoping for a good and decent life as they looked into those innocent eyes, who return home as strangers.
Certainly President Obama did not have a hand in these events. He was not at the helm when this country's coffers were pillaged and the money "lost" due to bad economics. The man at the helm lives quietly on a street in Dallas, Texas, now. George W. Bush did not even show his face at the Republican Convention. Have you seen him campaigning for anyone? I do not think so. And he will not be seen anywhere near Romney anytime soon.
Why? Because the Republican Party wants us to forget what happened between 2000 and 2008. The years when this good country was close to being ruined, our world reputation besmirched, our morale failed, and millions lost their jobs and their homes. Instead, they blame it all on President Obama. We have not pulled out of this tailspin fast enough. And Karl Rove is still in the shadows, writing the script. THAT is truly frightening.
I see things on the news: Elected officials comparing women to "farm animals." Republican state officials making "rules" that people have to have photo ID's in order to vote. Republican officials claiming that "illegal aliens"--for they do not have the decency to say "undocumented individuals"--must be drummed out of this country, that a huge long wall must be built to keep "us" out.
They have toned this down for a while, but believe me, if Romney is elected President, he is going to make a big event when signing off on bills restricting women's rights, taking away Latinos' rights. Right now, THEY WANT THE LATINO VOTE. We are precious to them. Later, we will become one big Arizona. Fijense.
Republican state officials closing down the clinicas that women go to to get mammograms, or pregnancy exams. Republican officials -- generally men -- making rules that women must undergo trans-vaginal ultrasounds before other procedures. And, Mi Gente, if you do not know what a "trans-vaginal ultrasound" is, ask your lady friends. We can tell you what that is, how it feels, and I would say I would rather have a tooth extracted with no novocaine.
Romney appearing and saying, "I like to fire people." Bain Corporation, a Romney entity, buying factories where people were employed and banking on their retirement. Then taking out loan after loan until the place went belly up and employees learned from a sign on the gates: Factory Closed. The tender story of Romney meeting his sweetheart, Ann, getting married and being so poor in college that they almost (ALMOST) had to dip into their stock portfolios to help them out financially. Who the hell has stock portfolios?
The recently discovered accounts that the Romneys have in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland. OOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Bank of America not good? You gotta go hide the big bucks in places where the balance is top secret and you do not pay tax on it. Let's face it: the Romneys are filthy rich. More rich that you or I can probably imagine. I mean, I buy the occasional Lotto ticket and pray to Diosito maybe I can win and give money to my family, maybe some to my college, where I received such a tremendous education. And certainly to Mi Mami, who told me once, "We went to the cemetery to visit your Papi. Pero, Lupita, we did not have enough money for flowers, so I sang him a song."
Romney, pictures of him proudly looking at Ann on her bike, demonstrating IN FAVOR of the Vietnam War. Yet, refusing to serve because of his religion. Romney, encircled by all five of his brawny and healthy sons, none of whom have ANYTHING to do with the ongoing wars now.
It is said that, just prior to the 2008 election, both now President Obama and Senator McCain were taken to the White House and given a full briefing on what they would face were they to be elected. They were probably told much more than anyone will ever know. What I know is that I would have walked out of that meeting and said, "Olvidalo. Uh Uh, I'm OUT!"
President Obama appeared at the annual Press Dinner for News Correspondents. It is a fancy dinner, kind of like a roast. He was certainly "ON" that night. The night he knew he had given the order to kill Osama bin Ladin. President Obama has made tough decisions, after receiving much input. One of my supervisors used to say we, as attorneys should strike "...hard blows, not foul ones..." And that is what President Obama has done.
He has allowed families of deceased veterans to chose if they want press coverage of their returning loved ones, in caskets. Not like Bush, who brought the deceased veterans back and there was no press coverage of their heroism, little mention of their names. He did not want you and me to see the results of his stupid and thoughtless decisions. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice did not even figure out an exit strategy to the war. They just started it and I suppose they figured an end would come, somehow.
When one of my nephews was little, he used to say, "Remember, remember...", as if casting a spell on us. (Well, really, he used to say "wemembew, wemembew...") That is what I ask of you, Mi Gente. Tonight, as we watch the debate together, remember what has gone on in the past twelve years. Remember who has been on our side. Remember who grew up with his Abuelitos, who loved him and gave him the best they could.
Remember the man who, against all odds, now sits as our President and makes the best decisions he can to pull us out of the hole that we were left in by Romney's colleague. And remember that the man who wrote Bush's script now helps Romney.
Que Diosito nos ayude.
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer:
Writer, Political Analyst and Los Angeles Attorney