Right off the bat I am going to make clear that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Invariably when I write about one political party or the other, party operatives jump in to argue that I am party blind. As a foreign citizen I cannot vote in the upcoming presidential election. That said, as a resident of the United States, domestic policies and foreign relations between the United States and other countries affect me as much as it affects others in the US. Since I cannot vote, I hold no allegiance to any political party in the United States. Like most politically engaged individuals, I have specific trigger points that draws me or repels me from a candidate. Very few voters vote on the whole of the candidate, instead voting on specific issues, like economics, foreign relations or health care, among others. These are trigger points for each individual.
As an immigrant, my political trigger point is immigration issues.
I have always found it curious how US citizens dwell so much on the issue of race, as in the color of the skin. The reality is that discrimination is much more complex than the skin color. It involves complex issues like culture, economic status and even education. There are many people who still view skin color as something to abhor, however much of today’s discrimination is based on other factors. When the Oscar controversy over diversity came up, something struck me as hypocritical by many adherents to the Democratic Party.
Anytime the Republican Party is discussed, it invariably devolves into a discussion about Republican values based on intolerance. The notion being that Republicans are racist. That notion is not without foundation because the Republican base is xenophobic. Xenophobia is not racist but it does exclude one group of individuals based on skin color but more so based on their country of origin. In the case of Donald Trump, his political rhetoric is designed play up to what he perceives to be the Republican base. Trump argues that the danger to the US is through the US-Mexican border, forgetting the European dangers through the major airports and the Canadian border.
Focusing on south of the border creates the illusion of racism. However, it is not racism but rather it is discrimination based on culture and economic status. Xenophobia, if you will. This notion is given even more ammunition by the vocal minority within the Republican apparatus that espouses racist views.
However, when you peel away the layers of political rhetoric you see something real interesting.
This election cycle, it is the Republican Party that is diversified. Of the top three GOP presidential contenders, two are of Hispanic origin; Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Both placed high in the Iowa Caucus.
Now look at the top three Democratic Party presidential contenders. Clearly, the Democratic Party is not diversified, far from it, as a matter of fact.
Yet, the notion remains that the Democratic Party embraces diversity.
As an immigrant, it is my opinion that the Democratic Party has been less welcoming than the Republican Party when it comes to immigration legislation. It has been the Republican Party that has opened up immigration.
I am not deaf to the anti-immigrant rhetoric emanating from Ted Cruz and his ilk. He is loud and obnoxious. Marco Rubio has been more welcoming but his tone has evolved negatively as the party politics has pushed him in that direction.
None of that removes the fact that Republicans are fielding two Hispanic contenders to the presidency while the Democratic Party is fielding exactly zero.