LatinaLista — An odd thing happened this morning in Mexico City where Sen. John McCain is “having talks” with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
McCain, his wife and entourage, descended upon the Basilica de Guadalupe, at 8 a.m. The Basilica is the Mexican version of Mecca for Catholics of Mexican descent. In fact, every Mexican American community in the United States has at least one church in their town named after the patron saint of Mexico.
John McCain and his wife Cindy listen to Monsignor Diego Monroy Ponce explain the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
(Source: El Universal)
It’s a fact that should not be news to an Arizona native like Sen. McCain and for that reason, and because the Senator is Protestant, Mexican pundits were having a field day with McCain’s visit to the Basilica. As one reporter who has covered many presidential campaigns said, “The Basilica is usually not on the list of presidential campaign stops.”
However, when you’re stumping for Mexican American votes it just might be.
According to a video report featured in the Mexico City daily El Universal, McCain was met by a young protester outside the Basilica. The student derided McCain’s support of the Iraqi War and accused the candidate for only visiting the Basilica to “get votes.”
It’s that transparent.
That this is Sen. McCain’s first visit to Mexico City is a little hard to believe or that this would be his first visit to the Basilica. The Basilica, a national treasure, is usually visited by most tourists to Mexico. To use his visit to the Basilica as a way to show solidarity with Mexican Americans or that he is “in touch” with the culture is a misguided campaign move.
As a Senator from Arizona, he should have long before visited Mexico City and the Basilica.
If McCain really wanted to reach out to Latino voters in the U.S., he should try visiting anyone of the hundreds of Our Lady of Guadalupe churches in the United States.
Yet, that prospect seems unlikely. Since most of these churches are in the heart of Hispanic communities and have large Latino congregations, the territory may not be as desirable for someone trying to appease his own conservative colleagues while asking for votes of a population under attack by his own party, which is leading the charge against them.
So McCain plays it safe by paying his respects to a revered Mexican figure — across the border.
If McCain really wants the Latino vote, and in the process assure Latinos that he can equally represent Latino constituents along with others, then he needs to come where we live — not where our cousins, grandparents or ancestors lived.
Evidently, McCain thinks by holding closed door meetings with pre-selected Latino community members or appearing on a Spanish talk show — as he will this week on Azteca America’s Issues: Caras y Voces, he’s reaching out to Latinos.
Esta equivocado (he’s wrong).
His campaign still refuses to work with most Latino bloggers and some Spanish media. He isn’t going into Hispanic communities and talking cara a cara (face-to-face) with people.
The Senator’s behavior, as most of the Republican Party candidates running in local elections, don’t illustrate an honest effort to tell the Latino electorate that he/they can be a President/Representative for ALL people.
So far, it’s pretty obvious that the only times Senator McCain feels comfortable coming face-to-face with Latinos is when it’s on the other side of the border.