Among the top grievances I have with the Left when it comes to racial politics is their continued lamentation over the lack of “proper” representation of protected classes in public office. Time after time, the media and the Democrats (and even the GOP) continuously tout statistics of minority and female representation in state and federal offices as though they’re supposed to be indicative of something. But what?
No really. What? What exactly does having a proportional representation of protected classes in public office accomplish? Or to turn it around, what does a lack of proportional representation mean for said protected classes? Better race relations and gender equality in the US? Worse? Are the views of these groups better represented in government simply by virtue of a set number of their group holding political office? Quite frankly, I thought we had grown past this ethnocentric line of reasoning in politics, but it’s becoming more prevalent than ever.
The simple fact is, most Hispanics in Congress do not represent me. I do not feel a “kinship” or sense of understanding with Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) for the simple fact that he’s Puerto Rican like myself. I have no sense of loyalty or admiration for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. I am not “represented” by them so why should I be outraged that there aren’t a “proportional” number of Hispanics in Congress? However, it goes both ways. Marco Rubio does not speak for me because he is Hispanic; he speaks for me because he is a conservative. What the Left doesn’t seem to understand is that I would rather see the Hispanic “representation” in Congress drop if it means I see a greater representation of my political viewpoints. I don’t need a set number of Hispanics in office to advocate for lower taxes and shrink the size and influence of the Federal Government.
What the Left doesn’t get in their Race/Class/Gender worldview is that it doesn’t matter worth a damn what skin color or ethnic background an office holder has; what matters is whether that office holder’s policies would benefit everyone, regardless of their status. We’ve had black mayors in nearly every major city which has a large black population. We now have (duh) the first black President of the United States. But have you seen the deplorable state of black Americans in this country? Or Hispanics, for that matter? Obama has not improved the state of black America in this country, nor even race relations. Hell, I would argue race relations have been worse under his watch. But according to the Left, if Obama was Hispanic I’m supposed to believe that’s an inherent good, no matter the actual status of the Hispanics? Spare me.
This mindset is just as visible in the judiciary as well. When Sonia Sotomayor was being vetted for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, Hispanic groups around the country were rejoicing as if they just received the right to vote! Congressman Charles A. Gonzales said, “The additional fact that the President Obama’s nominee will be the first Hispanic on our nation’s highest court is significant and is tangible proof of the strength derived by the diversity represented in American society.” It’s like the first thing they check is to see whether the person is of a protected class… and then they instantly stop all thought. She’s Hispanic? Awesome! Hurry up and approve her or else you’re a racist/sexist! What was MY mindset? It was something like, “Oh she’s Hispanic? That’s cool. Puerto Rican? Even better! So what’s her judicial philosophy? Really?! Oh. Ohhhhh.” You see the ultimate irony (for the Left) is that an Italian Catholic on the Supreme Court more likely represents my father’s views than Sonia Sotomayor, even though both she and my father grew up in The Bronx around the same time.
Maybe it’s that the Left presumes that minorities and women think like they do and a reduction of said groups in Congress means less of their ideology is represented. Perhaps they think that certain groups are incapable of “truly” representing other groups based on tribalism or some other form of race/gender-centric thinking. But all that being said, the Left likes to demagogue this issue to gain political points, and ironically make the case for me. The Left is all about minority and female representation, right up until they start seeing the GOP make inroads. Then all of a sudden ideology becomes king, which is AS IT SHOULD BE IN ALL CASES. But nah, that’s too difficult for the Left.