I will not be surprised if Vaughn Ward, a candidate for Congress from Idaho, does not suffer much of anything for the fact that he exposed a piece of ignorance this week with regards to international relations.
Ward is a Republican running in the Idaho primary against Raul Labrador, who is of Puerto Rican ethnic background.
DURING A CANDIDATE debate, Labrador was questioned about the whole “statehood for Puerto Rico” issue, and Ward got his chance to expound on the issue. For the record, he opposes it – on the grounds that the United States already has enough troubles that it shouldn’t be taking on more responsibilities.
Such as taking on other “countries” for their territory.
Some people are getting all worked up over the fact that Ward thought Puerto Rico was an independent nation, rather than a commonwealth whose people are U.S. citizens by birth. They’re trying to claim it is evidence that the one-time Marine and CIA operative (that’s what his official biography claims) is too stupid to serve in the Congress.
The part that bothers me was his response to Labrador’s attempt to correct him on Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status.
ACCORDING TO THE Hill (that newspaper that specializes in covering Congress), Ward said, “I really don’t care what it is. It doesn’t matter.”
Not caring about the specifics, and wanting to think that some things “don’t matter,” is the real problem, as far as I am concerned. But somehow, I expect the kind of people who are inclined to back Ward’s campaign will be thrilled to hear such talk – since many of them are the kinds who wish they could just erase certain aspects of our society that don’t intrigue them.
For all I know, Ward is probably going to receive praise. I’m sure the mood among those people who attended his Friday morning campaign stunt – a fundraising rally in Boise with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – was positive toward him – with probably a few slurs made toward anyone who cared in the least about Puerto Rico.
It will be interesting to see what happens come primary Election Day on Tuesday. Because non-voting by Latinos when Election Day comes around has the overwhelming chance of producing more elected officials like Ward -- whose initial reaction to many of the growing Latino population's concerns will be to think they, "don't matter."