Friday, February 8, 2013

Bragging points to differ

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is going to get his own Latino “first” next week – he’ll be the first Latino Republican to ever give the official “response” to a presidential State of the Union address.
RUBIO: Listening to his madre

And he’ll be the first to do it in both English y Español.

THAT’S SOMETHING THE Republican partisans want to boast about these days – they want it known that they know how to include Latinos amongst their ranks.

Even to find someone who’s willing to say that President Barack Obama got it all wrong in setting priorities for the nation in his State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday.

Somehow, I wonder if they’re willing to boast as much about the other report that has Rubio in the news these days.

For it seems he spoke with Time magazine, and even played them a recording of a voice mail message his mother left him – one that can be interpreted as telling him to not take such a hard line against immigration reform such as many of his GOP colleagues have taken in recent years and might very well prefer to continue taking if it were totally up to them.

BUT IT ISN’T. The Latino population is growing. And it is interpreting the hostile GOP rhetoric on immigration reform as being hostile toward Latinos in general.

For as Rubio’s mother, Oriales Garcia de Rubio, told him, “don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please don’t mess with them.”

Her explanation, according to the senator, is a realization that the immigrants are just as legitimate human beings as anyone else living in this country these days. “They’re human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please, don’t mess with them.”

Words of advice from a mother, who probably knows other ways of persuading her son.

RUBIO IS AMONG the members of Congress currently working on crafting an immigration reform policy that might actually get support beyond the progressive end of the Democratic caucus.

Which is probably more significant than the partisan duty he will do on Tuesday in criticizing (in a polite way) the comments of Obama in his official address. Because a sensible immigration policy could go a long way toward eliminating the bureaucratic mess we now have, while also easing tensions caused in other areas.

Perhaps we should be thankful for Rubio’s Cuban immigrant mother (she came to the United States a couple of years before the rise of Fidel Castro caused the beginning of the Miami exile community).

Her bit of sense may have a longer-lasting impact upon us all than anything Rubio says Tuesday about Obama.


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