LatinaLista — In the days since Obama’s face-off with Romney, he’s pretty much let his campaign staff ‘debate’ his performance with TV pundits. But today Obama broke his silence and identified what went wrong — he was too polite.
“I mean, you know, the debate, I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite, because, you know, it’s hard to sometimes just keep on saying, ‘And what you’re saying isn’t true,’” he told Tom Joyner in an interview Tuesday. “It gets repetitive. But, you know, the good news is, is that’s just the first one… And, you know, I think it’s fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one.”
It was a humiliating lesson but, as he says, one that he pledges not to repeat. It’s a lesson that many wish Latino voters could learn as well.
Time and time again, the Latino community has been on the receiving end of either discriminating political or policy decisions or insulting rhetoric. Yet, through it all we continue to elect the same people who are on record for doing everything from trying to manipulate voting districts to disenfranchise Latino voters, cut programs that advance educational and business opportunities for (so-called) minorities, neglect basic maintenance services for Latino-majority neighborhoods, ignore the needs of urban public schools…the list goes on.
Many non-Latinos interpret this inaction as complacency or simple resignation. And while that may be a part of it, the feeling has always been that Latinos were just too polite to challenge anyone or anything — then came along the DREAMers.
The DREAMers served as examples to a larger population, who weren’t activists, union members or organizers. These young people with their ongoing civil disobedience showed it was time for Latinos to stop being so polite and be as firm in their convictions as those who opposed them.
It’s a lesson the larger Latino electorate is still learning and it won’t be until the November election when the verdict arrives as to how well we’ve learned it.