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El Weekender

No 70

Basta ya con “para que?”

First question, would you rather have swimming pool in your neighborhood or a good school?

Every one that has run for public office, did GOTV, registered voters, you name it, has heard the same thing many times; para que?  I have heard it so many times and as much as I try to convince a person that it is in their best interests to vote, I fail.  Somehow, I think I take it personally.  I learned in the military that leaders don’t fail and they don’t give up.  I ask myself “What do I have to do to convince people to vote?”

Political pundits like to blame the no vote phenomena with a simple explanation “They are not eligible to vote” meaning citizenship.  Then we are told that we Latinos “Are all different.”  Even that does not have a plausible explanation.  Many of us know how we are different.  Many of you don’t want to hear the truth.  Perhaps it is true, some people can’t handle the truth. 

Here is an explanation.  Spaniards are different than Italians.  Cubans are different than Puerto
Ricans.  Puerto Ricans are different than Mexicans.  Mexicans are different than Central Americans.  In America, there is this group called Hispanics or Latinos, take your preference.  America according to some is the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world surpassed by only Mexico.  The Latinos in America come from every Spanish speaking country of Latin America.  And they are all different.  Yes, Portuguese and Italian are also Latino. 

In this Latino milieu of America there are Latinos that go back to the original Conquistador Spaniards.  Then there are those that just landed.  Both may have the same last name of Garcia but perhaps that is the only thing they have in common.  I am saddened when I go back to San Antonio and visit the West Side where I lived.  It is no longer the West Side in which I grew up.  The people that I went to school at Edgewood HS have long gone.  Many of us scattered all over Texas and America.  My fond recollection of the West Side is not what I see when I visit.  Living in the West Side now are recent immigrants.  The store fronts tell you where they are from. 

What happened to the West Side of San Antonio also happened to Fort Worth.  Many have gone to other parts of the state, America or the Metroplex.  They too have been replaced by recent immigrants.  Recent immigrants have not experienced war or discrimination.  Not in America.  Through WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam we have been loyal, patriotic Americans.  Most of us were treated as bad as Blacks.  But we kept the faith hoping that someday things would change.  Things did not change until the Chicano Movement when we woke up and asked “Why?”.  The Chicano Movement changed the way we were perceived and led to many social, educational political improvement.  Improvements that have benefitted all subsequent Latino immigrants to America. 

The question was, would you rather have swimming pool in your neighborhood or a good school?

If we have not make more social equality it is because we have been our own worst enemies.  People that we have put in office have been more interested in maintaining the status quo than standing up for the people they represented.  We have a history of putting these people back in office even if they are not good public servants.

There is an election on Saturday.  Who are you going to put in office?  The Northside of Fort Worth elections have gone to the gutter.  How do politicians expect to be leaders when they don’t set the proper example? 

Individually your vote means nothing unless it is a tie breaker.  But you must look beyond your vote into what is best for your neighborhood.  Politicians look at the number of people that vote.  It is imperative that everyone vote.  It does not matter if you vote Republican or Democrat.  The only thing that matters is that you vote.  Let us stop being our own worst enemy.   Stop voting for candidates that do not support you.

The answer to “Porque?” is “Porque soy Americano.”

Felix Alvarado



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