LatinaLista — One Twitterer that I follow posted the understatement of the day: “Did anything happen today?”
Confirmed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
For millions of Latinos across the country, there was a swelling of collective pride over the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the first Latina and third woman to join the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 31 negative votes couldn’t even dampen the pride as press releases from various organizations were issued congratulating Judge Sonia Sotomayor. All of them were basically the same — In addition to offering their congratulations, they reiterated her high qualifications for the job.
Of course, the implication is to silence those critics who made accusations that Sotomayor was chosen more for her ethnicity than her qualifications. Yet, Laredo, Texas Mayor Raul Salinas decided he needed to spell out the reason why Sotomayor was chosen — not for the critics but for the children of his city.
Thirty-six percent of Laredo’s population is Hispanic. Twenty-eight percent are under the age of 18. Mayor Salinas knows that Latino children sometimes have difficulty aspiring to greater heights and that role models play an important part in motivating Latino youth to go on to bigger things.
That’s probably the rationale behind Mayor Salinas’ statement today that was clearly directed to the children:
“The nomination of Judge Sotomayor was a moment of great pride for every Hispanic in America. Her confirmation today by the United States Senate is a matter of great pride for all Americans. For the Senate did not confirm her because she was a Latina; rather, the Senate confirmed her because of her steadfast devotion to the law and her work ethic.
I hope all children in Laredo schools understand that it was Judge Sotomayor’s hard work and devotion to the law brought her to President Obama’s attention, not her heritage. There is nothing that will prevent Laredo children from achieving their goals if they work hard and are steadfast in the devotion to the task at hand.”
Yet, as evident by the Republican/conservative opposition towards Sotomayor, her high achievements weren’t sufficient to satisfy her critics. Though she has a record illustrating her moderate rulings, she was continuously attacked on exaggerated charges.
Those attacks sent a wrong message to the Latino community and to the children. As Sen. Menendez told today’s host of the MSNBC Ed Show, even with all of Sotomayor’s outstanding qualifications and lengthy experience, and she was still found to be lacking by conservatives, illustrates to the Latino community that no matter how hard we work and persevere, we’ll never be good enough.
And being good enough is what it’s all about.