LatinaLista — Tonight's Univision debate was refreshing on so many levels that when it was finally over it proved to be an event that was not just historic but one all Latinos could be proud of.
Democratic presidential candidates stand together after Univision debate.
U.S. Presidential debates among same-party candidates can be a bore to watch. After all, with slight variations of strategy, most of the candidates parrot one another in answering the standard questions that dominate every debate: If you were president what would you do about the war in Iraq, healthcare, education, taxes, etc.
Aside from trying to interject some innovation into the process, the debates are all the same.
But the Univision debate was different and it proved more fun to watch.
First, the questions were good. Being such a niche audience helped focus the questions and forced the candidates into giving answers that were less generic and recycled, though that still existed on some questions like the war in Iraq and healthcare.
When the candidates were asked about Spanish possibly being made into the second national language of the country or why is the wall being built along the Mexican border and not the Canadian side or what will be done about the deportation of undocumented parents with American-born children, it was obvious that some of the candidates were thankful they could fall back on the excuse of trying to understand the translation coming through their earpieces as they paused to form their answers.
Could it possibly be that some of the candidates hadn't really thought about the other issues that concern a lot of Latinos?
Secondly, in a nation that was built on immigrants, it was nice to see one of the candidates try to answer in his "family" language. Though it wasn't unexpected that Bill Richardson's request to give his answers in Spanish would be overruled, it was refreshing to see someone stand up and defend themselves based on principle and pride in their heritage.
Thirdly, it was nice not to be inundated with empty-headed analysis from people who say the same thing over and over and over and seem to think that's it's all new or not noticed by anyone but themselves or that we're too dumb to figure it out for ourselves.
The calibre of questions posed in this debate, the professional conduct of the moderators AND the people in the auditorium all prove that Latinos are a contingency that deserve to be heard.
As moderator and Univision anchor, Maria Elena said,
The candidates will be speaking to the fastest-growing segment of American society. It's a sign of respect.
At the end of the broadcast, the two moderators openly invited the Republican candidates to participate in their own debate.
Time will tell if they too respect Latinos â€” or not.