Fidel "Butch" Montoya
As the global economic fallout continues to create fear and chaos around the world, it is difficult at best to try and listen to the two candidates discuss issues of little or no relevance in the debates.
In fact, the last debate was labeled by many pundits as simply, "boring!"
It is almost frightening to think the two candidates for the highest political office in the world are using cheap lies and campaign trickery at each other instead of providing solutions to a bankrupt American economy, and like it or not, to a global economy we worked so hard to create.
Recent poll watchers who follow Latino preferences and issues related to the campaign were dumb-founded to find out that Latinos like every other American voter, are most of all concerned about the economy.
Duh? It is the economy - stupid.
Read my lips...the economy.
Apparently too many pollsters and political "experts" believe that all we do is sit around all day against the cactus, sleeping with our large sombrero down over our eyes, and when we do get up from our siesta for that cold tequila, we immediately start plotting ways to exploit the immigration issue.
Surprise - surprise...."Latino priorities are American priorities." Arturo Vargas, the director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, wrote in his blog.
For some reason, the uneducated and unaware political advisor to McCain or Obama have created the false impression that all we care about is immigration.
Not to belittle the immigration issue, it is an important issue because with it comes the possible resolution to better jobs, more quality of life opportunities, better educational options, and believe it or not, less racism and bigotry.
Lack of immigration reform has allowed too many so-called Americans to spew out their hatred and racism at all "brown people." If you were to ask many of our "white citizens," most would tell you that all immigrants and brown people are from Mexico, and unfortunately, they truly believe what they are saying.
So while immigration reform remains an important issue, believe it or not, Latinos buy homes, purchase new vehicles, go the grocery store like everyone else, and have to buy gasoline for their SUV's like John Smith down the road. Four dollar gasoline prices hurt our budgets just like everyone else.
I worry about the long term prospects of the monthly mortgage payment, filling up the three cars we own with high grade gasoline, and whether or not, we get to go out to a movie and dinner this week.
So finally as some of the pollsters are finding out, Latinos are voters just like every other voter group out there. We are conservative, moderate, and liberal.
Our daughters like the color pink like any other American first grade girl.
We are not some strange "alien" like so many hate radio two faced talkers like to spew out on hate radio.
I worry about the war in Iraq, just like my neighbor down the street. We all worry about universal health care for our families, not necessarily better jobs, just jobs, and better educational options for our families.
It is amazing how pundits and pollsters like to "break out the numbers" from their polls and analyze how "the Latino is going to vote."
For the Democratic Party leaders, like it or not, most Latino voters are conservatives. Too many of us have been misled over the years to believe the Democratic Party is the party of the people.
In all actuality, Latino values are closer to the Republican Party than most want to admit. It is just that we have been sold a bill of goods all these years that says the Democrats are the party of the poor people. Fortunately, not all Latinos are poor people anymore and as such, aren't the good Democrats anymore either.
While we - the Latino voter - know the issues of poverty, lack of education, health care, and environment very well, we still remain strong opponents of abortion and gay marriage.
I find it amusing that for some reason, the Democratic Party finally discovered poverty this year as an issue. Let me tell you, poverty is an important issue and it is a real problem we have faced all of our lives, and trust me, poverty has never been trendy in our community.
Those old pair of shoes I got off the shelf at the second hand store in Center, Colorado in first grade were brand new to me...and those same shoes, were someone else's trash.
What the Democratic Party is trying to do is "pretend like poverty is much more important than abortion or gay marriage," and therefore, a priority for Latinos.
Poverty, gay marriage, abortion, health care, education have always been priority issues in our community. Don't try to fool me into believing that poverty is more important than abortion, both are equally bad.
Our value system are family oriented and center around the importance of family unity. Abortion is not about family and it represents something dark and unwelcome in our culture.
We celebrate life and the traditional marriage because it is an integral part of our culture and value system which represents the good we have.
Yes, we have gays in our community, but the 2% do not dictate to the majority what a traditional marriage is all about.
It is very plain in our culture, if you are part of the family, you are family.
Unfortunately, gays have been shunned in our community like any other community in our country. Gay bashers know no color or creed.
I love my family - no matter who you are. As long as my blood flows in your veins, you are family!
Arturo Vargas does articulate one more point about this year's election that is very important. "The candidate who speaks most directly and effectively to the issues Latinos - and all Americans - care about will find himself in the White House in January."
So while we the Latino voter are an important voter group in this election, unless we actually get out and vote on election day, our good intentions will not matter.
So how will Latinos vote in the general election?
Like any other American who cares about our country.
Don't use the right to vote, and you lose the right to complain.
Fidel "Butch" Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212