Jose de la Isla, who writes weekly for the Hispanic Link News Service, has recently opined concerning the "Republicans' worst nightmare."  It is, in his view, the danger of becoming "a permanent minority party."  In a nutshell, his contention is that the party must recruit Hispanics in order to win majority status.  Now, you ask, what will it take to recruit Hispanics?  Well, Señor Isla is really not specific about that other than to state that Republicans must discontinue "acts of meanness" and "political derangement" which disaffect his people. The party must, in short, "cozy up to, not alienate, Hispanic constituents."  Pardon me.

Would all Americans who are sick and tired of "identity politics" please stand up?  That is precisely what Isla is selling. Clothing a political threat with the veil of objective journalistic observation, he warns the Republican party that, if it refuses to cow tow to Hispanic self-interest, disaster awaits. Shameful!  Señor Isla should take a bow as one who demonstrates the political morality of Pancho Villa.

Please note that there is not a single sentence in Isla's column that expresses confidence in Hispanic voters to analyze and to evaluate for themselves what is in the nation's best interest.  Not a word!  The implication is that Hispanics will not think twice about relegating Republicans to permanent minority status unless they do Hispanic bidding.  I do not think the gentleman is exactly heralding the magnanimity of his people, do you? 

Does anybody except Isla, and others like him, expect positive and constructive outcomes to emerge from ethnic politics?  If everyone is afflicted with this type of tunnel vision and votes his own narrow self interest, then, pray tell me, who will be addressing the monumental issues which are bearing down on our republic?  Is anyone asking, "What is best for our nation?"  Certainly not this guy.

Let me pose a few additional questions to the pundit, by speaking to him directly.  You indicate that the Tea Party movement is tinged with "nativism and Know-Nothingism." Yet you offer no concrete statements by Tea Party officials to support your outrageous contention.  Are you aware, Sir, that the Know-Nothings desired to prevent Catholics from running for public office, to impose a 21-year residency requirement for voters and to implement a 21-year probationary period for immigrants?  Have you heard any Tea Party spokesman advocating these or similar positions?  If you have, then proffer your evidence; otherwise, button it up.  My suspicion is that, considering the void of evidence from which you are writing, you are attempting merely to propagandize your readers instead of educating them through fact and reason.

Sure, you may have heard Tea Party advocates emphasizing the need for American citizens to be able to read and to write English and for the country to safeguard its own borders.  But there is nothing seditious or un-American about these propositions. The English language has been a cornerstone of American culture since the first British settler set foot on this continent.  Moreover, the necessity of safeguarding the country's borders and its territorial integrity is anything but an outlandish proposal.  John Locke, on whose thought the founders heavily relied, believed that the failure of a government to safeguard its borders constitutes a just cause for revolution by the people.  So, Señor Isla, donde está usted?  Are you specifically advancing a policy of open borders?  If so, are you setting forth a similar policy for Mexico?  Are you proposing a national policy of bilingualism?  If so, does this mean that you would favor an immediate national plebiscite on the issue?

I see that you are offended that a Tea Party protester yelled to U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) "Go back to Mexico." But the protester's words constitute neither a racial nor ethnic slur, and are hardly a violation of the First Amendment.  The speech is blunt and rude perhaps, but understandable in light of Mr. Rodriguez's despicable voting record on immigration.  In case you are unaware of the fact, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has analyzed the Congressman's record on immigration and given him a big fat zero.  (FAIR is a national, non-profit, public interest organization, united in its support of immigration reform. Founded in 1979, the organization believes that America can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country. FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest.)

Lastly, it appears you are piqued that a resolution honoring Cesar Chavez's birthday was blocked for the fourth consecutive year from getting a Unanimous Consent adoption in Congress.  You interpret this turn of events to mean that "Republican leaders are going out of their way to be spiteful."  Has it never dawned upon you there might be a thoughtful opinion about Chavez's work that counters the one routinely held by liberals?  Consider, for example, his union's "successful" boycott of grapes.  The union's success over the long haul in raising wages and improving conditions for workers would have meant that thousands of migrant workers would have been compelled to remain in Mexico, in more miserable conditions than those Chavez protested! Furthermore, there is something about a boycott, is there not, that rubs many conscientious people the wrong way?  Its rationale is to hit 'X' in order to punish 'Y.'  In Chavez's case, the small corner grocer was the guy who suffered the most in order for the United Farm Workers of America (UFWA) to bring the wealthy growers to the collective bargaining table. Is it really fair to contend that refusing to honor Chavez is nothing more than a matter of Republican intransigence and spite?  The facts need not lend themselves to this conclusion at all.

You conclude your rant by reminding Republicans, who are embracing the Tea Party movement, of Richard M. Nixon's statement:  "Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them.  And then you destroy yourself."  Your explicit point is that Republicans must "take the barbed arrow out of the heart of the party that the fringe groups represent."  There is a marked difference between hatred on the one hand and white-hot anger on the other.  Tea Party protesters are angry, but there is no evidence, other than sheer hearsay, that they are hateful bigots.  On the other hand, those like you, who moralize so freely about the hatred of others, while simultaneously promoting every initiative benefiting a particular ethnic group, should give reasonable people pause.

April 22, 2010