LatinaLista — A big part of politics, aside from the candidates stumping from city to city, are the campaign's television advertisements. In some cases, these advertisements outlast the candidates and the race itself.
Usually, the advertisements spotlight the candidates' interaction with the public and the issues of the day. The advertisements should be vehicles to move the campaign along.
Rio Grande Texan Navy veteran Virginia Torres died on July 4, 2008. She was given full military honors.
(Source: Rio Grande Guardian)
That's why, the latest advertisement by the McCain campaign entitled "God's Children" is a puzzlement and a sad commentary on the state of the Republican Party, not to mention, an offensive piece of footage to all Latinos, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, who should demand for its immediate removal from the airwaves.
This morning, the McCain campaign held a press conference to talk about the "God's Children" advertisement. Unfortunately, being 20 minutes late into the conference call, I found myself hearing someone, I'm assuming to be Sen. Mel Martinez, wrapping up the call by blasting an assumption that Obama works for immigration reform.
Yet, one has to wonder why a campaign would have to hold a special press conference on something that should be very self-explanatory since it's visual media. Well, a quick scan of the ad's script reveals all:
JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, I want you the next time you're down in Washington, D.C., to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You'll find a whole lot of Hispanic names.
When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today, you're going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background. You're even going to meet some of the few thousand that are still green card holders who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they're willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation.
So let's from time to time remember that these are God's children. They must come into country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
Why is this ad so offensive?
To begin with, anyone who is unfamiliar with the history of Hispanics in this country or Hispanics at all, would think after hearing the intro to this ad that everyone of us has just arrived on these shores â€” WRONG!
While the talk in the media is always about the undocumented immigrants, of which the majority are Latino, there are millions of families who have been here for generations. We have actually reached a point among U.S. Hispanics who have been here for generations where Spanish, beyond the Taco Bell menu, is unknown to our children.
The McCain ad makes it sound that every Latino soldier is an immigrant â€” WRONG!
While there are some notable examples of immigrant soldiers who are fighting for this country without the security of citizenship, compared to the overall number of Hispanic soldiers in service, they are a small fraction.
Finally, to have to remind viewers that these are "God's children" is offensive on several levels:
1. Obviously, the ad is trying to gently scold those party hardliners and anti-immigrant extremists to show some compassion towards Latino immigrants. Yet, what this also says is that too many in the Republican Party, who must be reminded that Latinos are God's children, will never act in the best interests of Latino constituents. This ad underscores just how relegated to the corner Latinos are by the Republican Party.
2. Because this ad endorses the false assumption that all Latinos are recent immigrants, it unfairly sets the mindset in those Americans who aren't familiar with Latinos, to equate all Latinos with undocumented immigrants and the problems associated with them.
3. Finally, this ad marginalizes every single Latino in this nation, whether citizen or not. And what's worse, is that it's doing it to our children, husbands and wives who are serving in the military.
As a show of good faith, the McCain campaign should withdraw this offensive advertisement. LULAC, the American GI Forum and NCLR, to name a few, should also stand together in this affront to the proud legacy of Latinos in this country and also demand its removal.
This isn't a harmless political advertisement â€” it's a prejudicial endorsement of how Latinos are different (because there is no distinction between citizen and undocumented in these people's minds) from mainstream society.
So different in fact that people have to be reminded that we are "God's children" too?