Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Outreach. What Does It Really Mean?

A story in The Americano on March 29th talks about the growth of the Hispanic community and the impact it has on the Senate race of 2012. It talks about the importance of reaching out to the Hispanic community. A topic that is on tip of many Republicans tongues. So what is the problem you ask? Too Many Republicans are looking for the fix all, the make everything better magic pill. I hate to tell you but it doesn't exist. It's going take real grassroots efforts to be able to get the message out and get people to see the truth. I'm talking about rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty kind of grassroots work. Grassroots is not just talking to people, it is interacting with the people. It's not going to the communities, its being a part of the community. I hate to tell you but having someone spend an hour of their day doing some sort of manual labor in a poor neighborhood is worth a whole lot more than a $50 donation. Don't get me wrong, donations are very important and are welcomed. But a check does not have a face or smile that people can remember. A check doesn't have an ear to listen to somebody's concerns. A check doesn't have a heart to be able to feel something for the people who have felt ignored for too long. The article makes a point that I have been saying for a long time. Javier Ortiz, a Washington-based Republican strategist, says Latino outreach tend to separate Hispanics from the rest of American society. Why would anyone want to be separated from the rest of the group? All anyone wants is to be a part of something. The Republican Party has to stop referring to Hispanics as "those voters". That makes Hispanics sound like caged animals. They should go after Hispanic voters the same way they go after non-Hispanic voters. At the end of the day a Republican tends to have the same beliefs as the next Republican no matter the pigmentation of their skin. So why go after them in a different way? The beliefs are the same, the message is the same then the outreach should be the same, in theory. Hispanics are getting tired of being referred to as Hispanic Republicans instead of just being called Republicans. Are Hispanics any less Republican than those who are not Hispanic? Last time I checked there are only two different lines at the voting polls. One says Democrat and the other said Republican. So lets stop the political correctness mumbo jumbo and stop prefixing Republicans.  

So what can be done to get more Hispanics to vote Republican? Well lets go back to the grassroots analogy. Grass doesn't grow over night. First you have to plant the seeds, then you have to water the seeds, you have to nurture the seeds and then watch them sprout and finally watch the grass grow. Same thing with Hispanics. You can't expect them to just change their minds over night. You have to engage them, start talking to them about values(planting the seeds), you have to educate them by teaching them the difference between what they  have been led to believe and what is really true and empower them, in many cases by getting them to register to vote (water and nurture) and then you'll see them participate in the election process and help elect the right candidates. (watch them grow)

Now the last thing we need to talk about this issue is support. It is great to bring in people from other places to come talk to a big group of people. In fact that's probably the only way you can get a big enough group to show up. But what happens after that amazing speaker leaves? Most of the people who showed up to the event won't attend another meeting or participate in any way yet they will complain that not enough Hispanics are voting Republican. People need to support and participate in the local efforts more. I see these people like Seasonal Catholics, or any other religion. I just picked this one because I see it more since there are so many Catholic Churches in El Paso. You know what I'm talking about. They pack the Church during the big holidays like Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday but the rest of the year the parking lot is bare. People want Hispanics to vote Republican but only do Hispanic outreach when a big name comes into town yet local Hispanic groups hold their meetings on a monthly basis. Until people in the Republican party can understand that a huge part of reaching out to Hispanics is simply being a part of their everyday lives and that they need to treat them like everyone else, they will continue to chase their own tails  and continue to make many Hispanics think twice before voting Republican even though many have strong conservative beliefs. Let's break it down plain and simple. Who would you believe more? Someone who told you they were concerned about you and your family or someone who showed you they were? I think the Republican Party has to become more like the state of Missouri when it comes to making Hispanics feel welcomed. Only then will more Hispanics vote for the party that represents their beliefs and stop voting for the party that baits them in with the race card.


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