By Sergio Espain
Special to the Runner
Last week, the cop killer’s hideout had just gone up in flames, and I was getting ready to watch President Obama’s State of the Union address. Little did I know, “going up in flames” seemed to be the theme of the day, as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, gave the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union, which is essentially a try-out for the Republican presidential nomination.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t followed this guy’s career at all. But after watching his catastrophic dry mouth rebuttal, I had to learn more about Rubio.
It’s odd to me that someone who is of Latino descent is representing the Republican Party, who as of late has gone off the rails. It’s common knowledge that the Republican Party is anti-immigration, pro-gun and out of touch with most of people, which is why I was interested in seeing Rubio give the rebuttal.
That was until I read that Rubio is anti-immigration. I was confused, because he is the descendant of Cuban immigrants. Moreover, President Obama’s immigration bill is strikingly similar to the same bill Rubio had been trying to sell to Democrats and Republicans, yet Rubio has gone on record against Obama’s proposal, releasing in a statement “if [such a bill was] actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress.”
Republicans are publicly perceived as fear mongers, sexists, race haters, and nonbelievers in education and intelligence. The fact that they allowed a guy like Rubio to represent them reminds me of whenever Taco Bell introduces a new item, because I always thought of Taco Bell as what a white person perceives Mexican food to be. Such is the case with Rubio, except in reverse; he’s a Latino trying to be what a white person thinks he should be.
It’s almost like the Republicans, who lack Latino support, are trying to compensate by putting Rubio on display. The Republicans need to drastically alter their image in order to erase the stigmas and stereotypes that people have towards them. If they don’t, they run the risk of perpetuating these beliefs.
In the case of Rubio, I cannot respect a man who flaunts his Latino heritage but is strongly opposed to immigration reform, nor could I respect a political party that assumes Rubio will get my vote because he is Latino. That’s like saying because comedian George Lopez is Latino, I should only listen to him. Rubio and the Republican Party need to understand that all Latinos are not the same. Some speak Spanish, and some don’t. Some eat beans and rice, and others don’t.
But all Latinos can smell BS.
Maybe Rubio is the catalyst for change within the Republican Party, and maybe he’s the guy who will help change the perceptions people have. But if he is, people need to see who Rubio really is. He’s betrayed his heritage, and he’s turned his back on the people he wants to elect him. It doesn’t matter if he’s pandered to Spanish speakers by releasing his speeches in Spanish because that won’t earn him any support; what matters is the message and what he stands for, not the color of his skin or his heritage.