Diversity In Rural Wisconsin Should Be A Good Thing

I recall in many of my school years a fellow student named Adrian would often be in classes. His parents were migrant workers who traveled seasonally and worked when crops demanded their labor. As such he was in school for periods of time and then gone again.

The most poignant memory I have of him came after a series of taunts and ridicule from other students, language and insults they had no doubt heard in their homes, about the ‘big car’ his family owned.  I recall that in a flat conversational tone he simply said that the car was not only for travel but also “that is where we live when working.”

I will never forget that conversation and the weight it had, especially for me as the decades have rolled along.  Living in Waushara County meant that we often rubbed shoulders with Hispanics and as such, it would seem that more sensitivity to their lives might have resulted.  But it never developed in that county to the degree that humanity would hope.

We had a few children on our school bus route who lived in small cabin-like dwellings not so far from where I lived, that were used by migrant families. Some would snicker that a scent of their morning breakfast would trail along when the kids ran to their seats to sit down.  

One of those boys was always friendly and I once asked what breakfast was like in his home. He told me usually had fried bread on the stove with meat.  I recall being told his mom made it herself with flour and it rose overnight for the morning meal.  Decades later I was reminded of that bread when in Arizona a Native American vendor was making fresh flatbread on a low stone fireplace near a road.  It was greasy to the touch when eating, but powerfully good. I imagined that was perhaps akin to what that boy had for breakfast many years prior.

Getting to know people has always been something I have embraced.  Without really knowing it was happening or even why I am designed this way has allowed for good friendships to form, and a better sense of the world around me. 

We all have assumptions about people, be it why some spend their money on a larger car, or the scent that comes from the coat near to the kitchen table so to wear when the bus approaches.

I just know that Adrian felt apart and different and some of his classmates made that divide deeper and more troubling. His parents were hard-working and obviously determined to have their child in school.  So the snide remarks and bigotry from some of the homes that found their way to the school grounds was something no kid should have to encounter.

This is why I will always recall his flat and conversational tone about explaining his family car. No kid should need to confront such situations which resulted from bigotry, but that he handled it in such a calm manner is what strikes me these nearly 50 years later.

And so it goes.

Thank You To Reporters For Info On Immigrant Children


It is a sign of how effective reporters are when watching how upset Trump administration officials happen to be on any given day.

The latest moral outrage comes as Trump and Company are upset that they got caught mistreating more than 300 migrant children separated from relatives and living in horrid conditions at a detention center in Texas.  How do we know such conditions existed?

Because reporters who report and write for the the AP and The New Yorker broke the stories.

We know that Stalin, the Soviet Union’s “Man of Steel” still has his words about the press repeated by Trump.  But for the rest who value truth and information we say thanks to the reporters who allowed us access to information about the conditions of the children.  It was the Associated Press who first reported accounts from lawyers who visited the facility and found toddlers who were dirty, hungry, and inconsolable, and older children who were struggling to take care of them. Some had been held there for three weeks; 15 children were sick with the flu and another 10 were in medical quarantine.

The value of the work these reporters did has the stamp of history upon it. It will be noted in 2019 this is how the United States handled small children.  At the same time the party in power in the White House was working to stop abortions they were not caring for the children who had already been born.

History will also show why these children were treated so terribly by the conservatives in this land.

Because they were brown.

No other time, than the one we now live in, could a president allow this to happen to immigrant children and the GOP sit like neutered dogs. This is where we now are–and historians will write about it for future generations.


A Diversifying Electorate Needs To Brought Fully Into Democratic Tent

This is the type of political realignment that Democrats are working to incorporate into a new governing majority.  This is the same type of political realignment that Republicans seethe over and can not seem to accept as the future of this nation.

The dream of a so-called rainbow coalition has been part of the liberal imagination since at least the presidency of Richard Nixon, when the left envisioned it, albeit prematurely, as a counterpoint to his “southern strategy.” The term itself was coined in 1968 by the activist Fred Hampton, who hoped to build a multiracial alliance devoted to revolutionary socialism, but it entered the mainstream in the 1980s, when Jesse Jackson endeavored to make racial justice a central tenet of the Democratic Party’s platform. Democrats have consistently been more supportive of social programs that benefit low-income people of color, including immigrants, than have their Republican rivals, which has helped cement their minority support.
In recent years, meanwhile, the white working-class share of the electorate has dwindled, in part because of rising education levels, low native birth rates, and an influx of working-class immigrants—trends documented by Ruy Teixeira, the political demographer and prophet of rainbow liberalism, in his new book, The Optimistic Leftist. The promise of the rainbow coalition thus seems ever closer to fruition. Among true believers, every liberal defeat, up to and including the 2016 presidential election, is best understood as little more than the dead-cat bounce of white resentment politics.
Confident pronouncements about the coming triumph of the liberal coalition tend to neglect an awkward question, however. Who will be in control of this bloc when it finally achieves its inevitable victory? Will it be college-educated white liberals, who play such an outsize role in shaping the left’s ideological consensus today, and who dominate the donor base and leadership of the Democratic Party? Or will it be working-class Latinos, whom white liberals are counting on to provide a decisive electoral punch?

But as Latino immigration slows, and as working-class Latino Americans come into their own politically, Gratton’s work leaves us with an irony-laden prediction about what is to come: A coalition of cosmopolitan whites, Asian Americans, and blacks may well fight to open the U.S. labor market to growing numbers of desperate people from Asia and Africa, whether out of class interest, ethnic loyalty, or devotion to rainbow liberalism as an ideology—but these new immigrants could be met by a coalition of working-class whites and Latinos who favor closed borders.

If you doubt that second-generation Latinos who are being raised in disadvantaged circumstances will ever embrace a more hard-edged politics, whether of the right or the left, I can hardly blame you. To believe it would be to accept that the ultimate consequence of working-class Latino immigration will be not merely the availability of low-cost services and the infusion of new cultural energies into our communities but also, in time, a wrenching redistribution of wealth and respect from privileged white liberals to a rising generation of justly dissatisfied outsiders. The question we face now is how to lay the groundwork for this future: Will we face up to the challenge of delivering the American dream to the millions of working-class newcomers who already live among us, even if that means sacrificing a measure of comfort in the present? Or will we continue to sentimentalize their struggles, confident in the self-serving belief that working-class immigrants and their children will forever accept second-class status?

The ‘Struggles’ Caucasian Voters Have In America

You have to read this news story if you too have been trying to grasp, since November 2016, what made so many Caucasians lose touch with reality.  I constantly read and talk with many who cross my way, and though I hear the Caucasian resentments I never can make it sound rational.  I can not get my head around how people–as in the story in the newspaper– truly process the happenings in their local communities with such a high degree of fear and loathing.  To make that so would mean those Caucasians are bereft of religious training, morals, or any historical background about the nation in which they live.  They would have to be totally lacking of any sociological understanding of the present times.  I can not fathom how people can be so adrift from the rest of the nation.

“I swear to God, if they don’t say anything in English, I’m going to freak out.”
Heaven Engle

In a country where whites will lose majority status in about a quarter-century, and where research suggests that demographic anxiety is contributing to many of the social fissures polarizing the United States, including immigration policy, welfare retooling and the election of Donald Trump, the story of the coming decades will be, to some degree, the story of how white people adapt to a changing country.

It will be the story of people such as Heaven Engle and Venson Heim, both of whom were beginning careers on the bottom rung of an industry remade by Latinos, whose population growth is fueling that of the United States, and who were now, in unusually intense circumstances, coming to understand what it means to be outnumbered.

There were days when Venson imagined what might await America. This would be a nation where whites weren’t only a minority, but disadvantaged, punished for their collective crimes, because, as he put it, “we haven’t been the nicest race.” Speaking Spanish wouldn’t just be beneficial, but essential, and people like him would never be able to recover from what they didn’t know. “Screwed for life,” he said.

These were relatively new thoughts for him. Until now, his entire life had been lived in one America, the America of Jonestown, Pa., where he shared a drab two-story rental with his mother in a neighborhood of neat yards, basketball hoops and trucks parked in the driveways. He graduated from Northern Lebanon High School, whose demographics the principal, Jennifer Hassler, struggled to describe as “Diversity isn’t necessarily — we don’t have a lot of diversity, we just don’t.” On weekends, his family took day trips to nearby Hershey’s Chocolate World.

But since he’d started at Bell & Evans, and been plunged into another America, this one less familiar, race had been on his mind all of the time. He thought about it when Heaven said she wanted to quit. He thought about it when his mother vented about finding jobs for the immigrants at her temp agency, and when he watched the news on his big-screen television in his room, amid his sports posters, work boots and video games.

He didn’t understand why people said the United States should allow in more immigrants. If a Syrian needed asylum from a murderous regime, then yes, the country should help. But anyone crossing the border seeking jobs, even government assistance — that didn’t seem fair. What about the people already here? What about the homeless? What about him? He was the one, after all, whose career had been shaped by Washington policymakers, who he believed didn’t know what it was like to be an outsider in your own community — a feeling that had become as ordinary to him as the wrench in his back pocket, which he now took out to tinker with a malfunctioning batter machine.

“The motors are burning because they’re constantly running,” Venson shouted over the clamor, but only got confused looks in return.

Three white mechanics in blue smocks were huddled around the machine. Ten Latino workers in white smocks were huddled around them, watching as Venson unscrewed a clogged pipe to drain the excess batter, then screwed it back on. The white men stood up and, with another job done, returned to the mechanics’ break room, finding a mess of junk food and drinks and a giant American flag hanging in the back from ceiling to floor. They took off their smocks and hairnets. Venson sat at the picnic table. He took in a slow breath and let it out.

The truth was that he loved this job. He didn’t have a vocational degree, like some of the mechanics, or any experience, like others. But in just one year, he’d gotten so good at it that his bosses had bumped his hourly pay from $13.50 to $17. When the Pacmac or the DSI Portioning System acted up, he was the one who knew what to do, not because he was a savant, but because he’d worked at it, day after day, which was why he became so frustrated when workers in that department didn’t ask him for assistance. They wanted help only from Juan Leon, the shift’s lone Latino mechanic, a Puerto Rican transplant whom Venson genuinely liked and appreciated, but who didn’t know those machines. Venson did. So why didn’t they ask him for help? Why did they want solely another Latino? How did it get to be this way?

Challenge DACA And Democrats Will Win The House Of Representatives

There is the moral test of leadership which is front and center when it comes to standing by the young men and women who are impacted by DACA.  But then there is the political storm that will fall on those in congress who fail to meet the ideals and standards that the majority of this nation holds dear.

The Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program next year could have a broad effect on Democratic efforts to retake control of the House in 2018, and nowhere more so than in California, where more than a fourth of the estimated 800,000 recipients, often called Dreamers, are thought to live.

To secure the 24 seats they need, Democrats are specifically targeting nine of the Golden State’s 14 Republican members of Congress, several of whom represent districts with large minority populations. Stories of the 200,000 or so Californians affected by this decision will likely be a recurring theme of campaigns for the next year.

Now that the president is putting the issue on Congress’ agenda, the vulnerable Republicans will be squarely in the center of the debate.

Nearly all of them have opposed DACA, which delayed deportation for hundreds of thousands of Californians in the country illegally. Just two of the GOP lawmakers with districts that could flip in the midterms publicly tried to persuade the president to leave DACA in place. 

On Aug. 24, Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock and David Valadao of Hanford joined four Republicans who represent heavily Latino districts in other states in a letter to urge Trump to keep the deportation protections until Congress can craft a solution. Valadao’s district is more than 75% Latino, and Denham’s is nearly 45% Latino, according to the 2015 census estimates.

Early Hispanic Vote Shows Why GOP Needed To Embrace Diversity

There have been endless news stories and conversations about the blow-back that would occur to the Republican Party if they did not alter their views about Hispanics and Latinos in America.  A major political party can not act bigoted and present harmful policy ideas for millions of people and families and then expect to be rewarded on Election Day.

The results are already demonstrating my point.

There is a 99% increase in Latino early voting in Florida now compared to this point in 2012, with 133,000 Hispanics having already cast their ballot in the state.  That figure came from the latest field report yesterday from the Hillary Clinton campaign.  In bellwether Pinellas County in Florida, which is 10% Latino, Democrats now maintain a voter registration advantage that’s increased since March.  That is precisely the ground work that will be required to take a state.  And it needs to be underscored this is exactly the type of campaign infrastructure that Trump simply dismissed.

These numbers are fitting into the playbook the Clinton team had worked for as Latinos comprised 17% of the state’s electorate in 2012, and has increased since.  But Florida is not the only state where large Latino populations have made an impression this election.

In Nevada’s Clark County, a major population center that include 75% of the state’s residents and is 31% Hispanic, 51,000 people voted on the first day of early voting, with 55% registered as Democrats, while 27% were Republicans.

In Arizona, a traditionally Republican state that in many ways represents the key to a Clinton landslide, the numbers look awful for Donald Trump.  With more than 300,000 votes already cast in Arizona, Democrats lead Republicans by 1,000 votes but trailed Republicans by 20,000 votes at the same point four years ago.

I have said throughout this election that in spite of all that made this cycle so different, and in many ways pathetic, the bottom line would remain the same.   The political rules of the road would still apply.  In this case the degree to which state-by-state organizing starting a year ago was essential for a win.  Big bombastic rallies are not the path to victory.

The other rule of the road is never treat a growing portion of the constituency with utter disdain.  Polls have shown Latinos largely repudiating Trump for his rhetoric and policies throughout the campaign season.

The day of reckoning for the Republican Party draws nigh.

Pretending Hispanics Do Not Exist

A powerful read from Politico.  For years I have pointed to the fact that the GOP’s refusal to address the nation’s changing demographics will harm them severely.

With 46 days until the November elections, and as early voting begins in a handful of states, Trump is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition.

While the majority of Latino voters are English-speaking, Trump’s refusal to campaign in Spanish is a powerful symbol of how little heed Trump has paid to America’s shifting demographics. Latinos now make up about 10 percent of the national vote, with electorally potent concentrations in crucial battlegrounds such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and even North Carolina.

Do Americans Think Donald Trump Would Help Minorities?

From ABC News

Despite GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s recent pitches for African-American and Hispanic support, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would do more to help minority communities if elected president.

ABC News together with our partners at SSRS survey research firm asked our online opinion panel about Trump’s recent appeals to minority voters.

Sixty-four percent said Clinton would do more for minority communities as president while 36 percent chose Trump.

Asked to give a one-word response to a video of one of Trump’s recent appeals to African-American and Hispanic voters.  56 percent reacted with a negative word, such as “liar,” “lies,” “disgusted,” or “stupid.” 

I suspect other responses are not printable.