As this issue of LATINO goes to press, anyone hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel may want to keep looking. Mueller’s seemingly momentous investigation ended not with a bang but a whimper, and President Trump’s position seems stronger than ever. Latinos tired of being the president’s piñata should therefore expect not just more of the same, but much more.
Reporters have described Trump as “angry and emboldened” after his so-called exoneration. There’s more to come on obstruction, though we may have to wait for the actual report to be made public. But our president will certainly increase his efforts to build a multi-billion dollar wall along the Rio Grande here in Texas, and further crack down on Central American refugees seeking asylum, as is their right under both U.S. and international law.
We can also expect Trump’s cheerleaders in the media to ramp up their attacks on our community. Recently, Laura Ingraham went so far as to mock Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ accent. Ocasio-Cortez took it in stride, giving as good as she got on social media, as usual. But the same is coming from Tucker Carlson and his ilk, enabled by advertisers who would be in dire straits if Latinos stopped buying their products . As the presidential campaign gears up, it will be all immigration, all the time, with Trump’s lurid tales of women tied with duct tape in big trucks crossing the border, hordes of gang members causing mayhem, and sleeper cells planning the next terror attack in your back yard [see Border Terror! p. 22].
Most of us who pay attention are used to this, now, and it will take more than a few gibes from Fox News about our accents to rile us. The hope we have is that our community will emerge tougher from this trial by fire. Trump is not the cause of the anti-immigrant animus he delights in stirring up. Rather, he’s merely a symptom of what was lurking beneath the surface of American society. And he’s done us a favor by revealing it, and forcing us to engage in arguments around the dinner table and the workplace and online that many of us would rather avoid.
Many Latinos prefer to avoid conflict, and argue only with those we agree with. For the past two years, we haven’t had that luxury. As a consequence, we know who our enemies are, and who are our friends as well. Some of those we might have considered our leaders have stood silent or faded away, and a new generation of has taken their place. At first, many of us were incredulous at the attacks leveled against our culture, our families, and our language. We can thank Trump for proving we have to defend ourselves, work together, and unite for once. Because if we do, we’ll be stronger than ever.
Our cover story by Roberto Santiago [Time for a Change, p. 16] features four of the ten newly-elected Latino Members of Congress: Reps. Veronica Escobar, Xochitl Torres Small, and Sylvia and Chuy Garcia. Plus, there’s an interview by Erika Hernandez [Great Expectations, p. 12] with Rep. Joaquin Castro, who was on our cover two years ago. These leaders bring not just diversity but passion to the 116th Congress, and have already made their mark just weeks after being sworn in.
But there’s much more besides politics in this issue, including a profile of Yalitza Aparicio, the star of Oscar-winning Roma, by Bel Hernandez Castillo [A Star is Born, p. 30] and a visit to Midland by Valerie Menard, where an Energy Renaissance is creating unparalleled opportunities for Latinos [¡Viva Midland! P. 40]
As always, many thanks to you, our loyal readers, the generous advertisers that support us, and all who attend our events around the country. !Gracias!