Oh Hillary. My sweet, sweet Hillary. Why must you vex me so?
For the majority of this presidential race, Hillary Clinton has been the frontrunner as far as Americans are concerned. She’s generally well-liked, she has the experience and she’s got the last name to back her up. The Clintons are practically D.C. royalty.
But when it comes to royalty — “Game of Thrones” has taught me one thing: Usurpers gonna usurp.
Bernie Sanders has been applying the pressure to Lady Clinton in the race for the democratic nomination and as such, she’s starting to look a little desperate. No move has proven more desperate than her most recent launching of campaign initiative: “Mujeres in Politics.” For those of you who failed high school Spanish, that translates to “women in politics.”
“Mujeres in Politics” will work to caucus Latina voters for the Clinton campaign and will also work to make progress on the issues in which Latina voters have shown concern.
As a Latina with many concerns about the direction of this nation — I have a simple reply to Mrs. Clinton’s initiative: Back. The Fuck. Up.
Latinas are not a medicinal treatment that can be applied to increase the immunity of a campaign against a loss. We are U.S. citizens. We are regular people. We are vastly different from each other. The concerns of a Puerto Rican voter are not going to be the same as a Mexican or South American voter.
I want to know why my cousin who lives in Puerto Rico can’t vote for the president despite the fact that she will be affected by all of his or her decisions. I want to know why my cousin’s boyfriend is able to serve in the U.S. military but not vote for his commander in chief.
Maybe someone who has Mexican roots doesn’t give two craps about Puerto Rico — and that’s fine by me because that voter might have bigger concerns.
This is a complete publicity stunt and it insults my intelligence. Hillary didn’t care about Latina voters the first time she ran for president. Were we not important eight years ago?
Clinton’s Latino outreach director Lorella Praeli told NBC News that Latinas care about issues that people “wouldn’t assume right away they are talking about.” What people? You mean white politicians? White politicians didn’t think we were talking about the issues? Was everyone under the impression that we just got together to trade taco meat recipes? Furthermore, what about our Latino men, where is their representation as a marginalized and frequently stereotyped group?
People of Latin descent, not just the mujeres, have played a part in American political movements since before they were given the right to vote. Our people stood with the suffragettes, we stood with Dr. King, we stand with #BlackLivesMatter, we stand with Sonia Sotomayor; we are here and have always been here. We’ve fought for ourselves and we’ve fought for those that were equally oppressed.
Yet only now do politicians choose to shine a spotlight on us that has nothing to do with immigration. In the 2012 election, more than 11 million Latinos went out and voted. That’s more than 11 million people who made themselves aware of the issues and inserted themselves into the democratic process.
To top it off, our numbers are growing. The Latino community is on track to be the biggest voting block in the United States.
“[Latinas] were talking about small businesses and national security and gun control. So you are seeing a sophisticated electorate because they have their heads everywhere. They are thinking about how to make sure the family has food… they are thinking about how do we get ahead, about their kids going to school.” -Lorella Praeli
We are seeing a sophisticated electorate. What were we seeing before? — an unsophisticated electorate? Latina women didn’t fall from a tree this election cycle and suddenly understand the complexities of domestic politics. We’ve been living it.
A report was released in 2014 stating that there were more than three million Latino business owners and entrepreneurs in the U.S. Those business contributed more than $400 billion to the economy.
Latinos talk about gun violence because we fall victim to it. The second leading cause of death for Latino youth is homicide. We worry about feeding our families the same way every single human being with a family worries about it. As far as school, find me a person that isn’t concerned about education and I’ll campaign for Hillary myself.
I don’t doubt that on some level deep within, Hillary has good intentions with trying to incorporate Latinas in the fold. The problem is that she’s neglected two important things. The first is that Latinas are already all up in that fold — and we had no intention of leaving it. The second is that you can’t invite mujeres to the table and pretend as if the hombres (men) don’t exist. Feminism is about everyone getting an equal shot regardless of gender, race or social status.
Latinas are a strong and fierce group. While we’ve come very far, there is still a long path that lies ahead. But we will blaze that trail ourselves as we have before. We are not going to get there on the back of Hillary Clinton, nor will she get to the White House on ours.
No — we will get to where we’re going with the only tools that have been easily handed to us: our feet.