LatinaLista — Today begins the 40th celebration of Hispanic heritage on a national coordinated scale.
While Hispanic Heritage Month has always been a celebration of the collective accomplishments of Latinos, it’s also been about looking ahead to where we want to be.
Needless to say, this year’s observance is a little more special than most because it affords the opportunity for both presidential contenders to speak to the Latino community in a personal way during a month dedicated to Latino heritage, contributions and aspirations.
Yet in reviewing the two statements, one can’t dismiss the fact that Obama seizes the opportunity to address Latinos in a meaningful way while McCain misses an opportunity to say anything of substance.
In fact, in an election season, to miss out on the opportunity of capitalizing on a national observance isn’t just odd but truly disappointing because it translates to that community that they’re just not that important to that candidate or his campaign.
Believe it or not, while the McCain campaign may think nobody notices what is said or not said in their press release regarding Hispanic Heritage Month, McCain’s statement was noted, in of all places, a blog on the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper’s web site for what it didn’t say.
No matter how you look at it, it’s hard not to walk away from reading it and think only one thing, courtesy of a book title paraphrase: “He’s just not that into the Latino community.”
Too harsh? Well, as Levar Burton always said on Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it” You can read it for yourself:
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement on Hispanic Heritage Month:
“This month, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the many contributions that Hispanic Americans make each and every day to the United States.
Our country would be poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of Hispanic Americans who have made this country better and stronger. We honor those who have come here to live the American dream, we recognize those who have been here for generations, and we thank those who are serving our nation in uniform here and overseas.”
Chicago, IL â€“ Senator Barack Obama joined millions of Americans today in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 through October 15, and issued the following statement:
â€œThis month, I join all Americans in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Itâ€™s a time to honor the achievements and sacrifices of Hispanic Americans, from their long and proud tradition of military service to the visionary leadership of CÃ©sar Chavez to todayâ€™s ongoing struggles for opportunity and prosperity. Itâ€™s a time to recognize all Hispanic Americans who have helped write the social, economic, and cultural story of America.
â€œAnd after all the progress we have made together, we cannot turn back. We must march ahead. Iâ€™ve walked alongside the Hispanic community in Chicago, Iâ€™ve stood with you at immigration rallies, and I will fight for you in the White House. And now is the time for us to create good-paying jobs, reduce the student dropout rate, and finally enact the DREAM Act. Itâ€™s time to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform, provide 15 million uninsured Latinos with affordable, high-quality health care, and end the war in Iraq. Itâ€™s time to make sure the next four years donâ€™t look just like the last eight.
â€œAt this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to always march ahead. What has always distinguished the Hispanic community â€“ and what distinguishes us as Americans â€“ is our belief that in America, you can make it if you try. This month, and every month, we keep that promise. This November, we must renew it.â€