The Fallacy that starts with the word "democrat". By Luis F. Brizuela Cruz
At a doctor’s office in Hudson County, New Jersey, home to one of the most prolific headquarters of political corruption and confusion across the nation, ten or twelve patients awaited -impatiently.
It happened during the final days of the Bush versus Gore Presidential race. On the ample flat screen of the television set which serves as controversial prelude to the placebo healing of patients who attend these medical offices, we could see and hear, repeatedly, the voices of the candidates and political experts rendering their take on the upcoming elections.
Contrary to anyone’ s assumption, in this type of setting most of the patients opt to look or just listen to the television in silence, while others read, sleep or pretend to be asleep. It is rare to hear a comment regarding the current events on TV by any of the awaiting patients. But when someone chooses to verbalize his or her opinion, it often triggers a readjustment on the emotions and behavior of others. Throughout my exasperating visits to Hudson County’s medical offices over several decades, I have witnessed intelligent exchanges as well as heated arguments which have derived from the audacious first comment by one of those waiting to be seen by the physician. The topics that usually incite the most controversy are those political in nature, whether these are local, national or international in their scope.
The affable octogenarian man who initiated the conversation that autumn afternoon spoke in a neutral Spanish –almost classic- from the days when it was not easy to detect the regionalism of the speaker. What started as a simple commentary developed into a lengthy monolog which captured the attention of everyone in the room. These were his words:
“I came to this great country with my wife and kids in the early sixties. I brought along my dreams and youthful energy, ready to work and provide for my family a better life than the one we had back in our country of origin. We were confident that here we would find the field of possibilities to carry out our projects, a feat which had become very difficult in our beloved homeland.
The day after we arrived I started to work at a factory. There were many back then and plenty of work as well. One could feel a sense of pride in the production of whatever was manufactured, from the most simple to the most elaborate. Through the years my jobs and my salaries improved. Little by little we saw how our plans would materialize and we felt more American each day, thankful for the kindness and abundance of this wonderful nation.
During those early days we highly depended on the always sincere help from our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, who can be credited with being the precursors of the Spanish pride that today we so strongly proclaim here in the United States. If we needed to communicate with our “boss”, there was always a Puerto Rican co-worker that would put down his task and come to assist us with the translation. If we needed to go somewhere to resolve some paperwork or even for leisure, there they were, those magnificent Boricuas, always willing to give us a hand.
I remember so vividly the day that I asked a Puerto Rican co-worker about American politics. His answer was quick and short. He explained that there were two main political parties known as the Republican and the Democratic. He said that I would have to choose one of them as soon as I would become a United States citizen and immediately I would have the right to vote in any American election. The words “democratic” and “democrat” became automatically ingrained in my mind. To be “democratic” was precisely the reason why I had come to this country. So, as soon as I became a United States citizen, I registered in the Democratic Party. This, I felt, would officially seal the purpose of my mission coming to this land of opportunities and social wellbeing.
The years went by and I consistently exercised my vote, always in favor and within the Democratic Party. But not distant was the day when I would come to realize that it was not the same “democracy” as “democrat”.
It happened during the campaign for the Presidency between Reagan and Carter. My wife and I were seating in front of the television set and the former Hollywood actor and democrat was giving one of his campaign speeches.
Ronald Reagan spoke that night about the decaying American pride. He explained how a brave and dignified nation like ours had been losing its exemplary position in the world. He said that the root of the problem was in each one of us, the citizens of this once great nation. But the part of his message that mostly caught my attention was the one where he stated what the role of government should be and that he would do just that, if he was to be elected as the next president of the United States. The most fundamental role of the government, he said, was to teach its people “how to fish”, not just give them the fish. Right then and there was that I realized that I had come to this country to “fish”, to earn my keep. The social and moral points Reagan was making that night were exactly the ones with which I totally identified. How had it happened that the word “democrat” had confused me so much since my arrival? After so many years I had just realized that the Republican Party really stood for my own principles and philosophy as a Hispanic with aspirations and the desire to fight for a better future for my family. I did not want the fish to just be handed to me. I wanted to “fish it” and thereby enjoy the fruit of my labor and contribute and reciprocate to this land that so piously and kindly had taken me in.
The next morning I went and switched political parties and since then I have supported the republican line. I am always cautious and analytical about my picks, since there are good and bad politicians in both parties, but nobody can tell me today that the democrats are more representative and receptive to our needs as Hispanics. It is actually the total opposite. Our conservative principles, our wish to prosper by the result of our effort, even our religious values all coincide with the philosophy of the Republican Party.
How did this awful confusion ever come about that the democrats are the ones who help the poor, the ones at the bottom? Don’t you know that there are more wealthy individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party? Yet, the statistics decisively reveal that the republicans donate so much more to charitable causes than the democrats. Be very careful and analyze things clearly before throwing yourselves behind a philosophy based solely on rhetoric phrases and words that may sound pleasant to your ears like the word: “democrat”. Remember that we have come to this country in search of democracy and that could easily confuse us with the word “democrat” or “Democratic Party”. It is not the same, if you give it some thought.
Beware of the Fallacy that begins with the word: “democrat”.
This initial mistake that many of us make as we arrive, can, very easily, be the primary reason why our progress of integration into the American society is often slow or impeded. This is true particularly today, when there are so many opportunistic liberal demagogues offering the world to the new generations of Latinos. These individuals are only seeking the Hispanic vote because they know that we are a rapidly growing group. All they want to do is reinforce the base of their paternalistic and unproductive agendas which continue to diminish and deteriorate the true progressive principles of this nation. They often speak of giving to all, of redistributing the wealth, but the reality is that they are simply building a culture of dependency that will result in misery for all.
I am Dominican and love my motherland, but I also love and respect the United States of America, the country that gave me what my own country could not. Please, analyze carefully all details before supporting a political party or a candidate, but do not let yourselves be confused by the word “democrat”. It is not the same democracy as democrat”.
November 5, 2012
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