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November 30, 2010 / Megan Taros

Tea Party, beware! It’s time for some tequila and lime with those politics!

Tequila and lime lined up

The proposed Latino breakaway political party, the "Tequila Party," leaves us all wondering just that--are we ready?

Yes, it’s true! In light of the skyrocketing notoriety of the Tea Party, there’s a new group looking to steal the spotlight. The story starts in Nevada,  and was broken by the Las Vegas Sun. This new group, the Tequila Party, is being proposed by Latinos (at this point, primarily in Nevada) who are disgruntled with the Democratic Party’s inaction toward immigration reform. At the same time, Latinos are angry at Latino Republican counterparts for marginalizing the community, but calling for their vote yet “turning away” on what they believe to be important Latino issues. The Sun’s article sites the case of Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval, who reached out to Latino voters while simultaneously supporting Arizona’s immigration bill. As of yet, it is unclear if this movement will be entirely a grassroots campaign or if this “Tequila Party” will work with the Democratic Party as Tea Partiers, whose victories were generally hit-and-miss before aligning with the GOP, do with the Republican Party.

Now the next question being asked is: Will this be successful? Considering the power of the Latino vote, which helped tip the scales toward Obama in many states, if enough Latinos get on board, this could be a significant stepping stone, not only for progress, but for the much-needed unification of all Latinos. At this stage, with a staggering drop in Latino votes (only about 18 percent in previous elections in California, not including the presidential of 2008) and even encouragement over Latino inaction (see my previous post), unity may be just what we need. After all, cutesy, sentimental quotes from Jerry Brown about liking Mexicans and Mexican food and harsh, ignorant jibes by those like Meg Whitman, it’s no wonder apathy is looking sweet. Joining together may be a jarring force the Latino community needs to stand up for itself and become more informed about how this country’s policies affect (or even hurt) them.

The downside, however, is with the increased prejudice toward Latinos since Arizona’s immigration law came into play, or even the perceived increase in prejudice, it could lead to an even greater backlash against Latinos by those against immigration reform. It could create this idea that Latinos are fighting against the country, instead of trying to stand alongside it. After all, the third comment on the Sun’s article about this new party reads as follows:

Good idea here! If the Latinos have their own party, perhaps the communist-er Democrat-party can be stamped out and buried in history! Those Latino immigrants who don’t want to assimilate into American culture and become true Americans should have their own political party. — “Richard Hopkins”

Already we see the idea of the anti-American Latino trying to run amok. Trying to take such a risk is definitely liable to garner these consequences, which could lead to the failure of the party as well as giving those against Latino reform issues a “reason” to keep fighting against them. Not to mention, the name itself, the “Tequila Party,” isn’t exactly serious and quite frankly, a little racist, even coming from a Latino. If we can’t get people to see we mean business from the get-go, we’re dead in the water. After all, the unification of Latinos for the sake of our rights and issues should be respectful. I don’t know about anyone else, but the last time tequila was in my life, I didn’t see anything respectful going on. As a commentor by the name of “mred” noted as well, “Tequila is a Mexican beverage, not a Latino beverage.” The group must also beware to not slant its attitude more favorably to any one subset of Latino, and be about all Latinos–not just the ones people are “comfortable” with.

That said, I believe the only point left to be made is to Mr. Hopkins, who commented about Latino “assimilation.” American culture is all about the public finding a means for political and cultural expression. If this isn’t positive assimilation, I don’t know what is.

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