This week Leader Reid turned on the lights in US Senate. As expected when you turn on the lights some creatures are scattering. Reid has committed to add the Dream Act to a Defense Authorization bill. The Dream Act will allow undocumented students to finish school or enter the military legally.
Immigrant communities across ethnic lines and geo codes have been waiting for this moment of truth. Who will stand with them? Reid clearly has tired of protecting the Senate privileges of the intransigent GOP and the political fear of the conservative Democrats while some of the most deserving of the next generation feel their spirits crushed under the weight of their very own dreams.
But now the light shines. Clearly Democrats have 51 votes for the Dream Act Amendment but McCain has promised to filibuster the entire Defense authorization bill to placate the Arizonans who hallucinate about drug mule nannies and headless corpses. The once reasonable McCain has been blinded by the glare of his own personal ambition and has kicked immigrant families, and his own dignity, to the curb.
GOP candidates that have scoured their States looking for Latino voters this summer speaking in broken Spanish and taking Mariachi photo opps are now nowhere to be found. It is odd that the GOP "amigos" have gone from being vociferously bilingual to incredibly silent in record time. This is the GOP's opportunity to speak loud and clear, not in English or Spanish, but in the language of opportunity, the inspiring prose of the Statue of Liberty, and in the mother tongue of America's immigrant tradition. But apparently Rosetta Stone has no courses in these dialects.
Likewise thinkers on the left who have touted the future long term demise of the GOP often cite the incredible position Democrats find themselves in with the Latino communities. Demographics we are told are in the Democratic Party's favor. This is a partial understanding of the truth. The majority of Latinos will vote and adhere to the Party that honors our families and respects our cultures. The Dream Act vote is clearly about both. While DC Latinos may need to say otherwise the powers that be need to understand for their own good that Latinos are a community not a Democratic Party sub-committee nor are they easy pickings for the GOP. The vote this week will spotlight who is with our families and who is not -- regardless of their party.
In essence the switch has been turned on by a Senate Leader who has done his best to keep his promise to a group of young people that have been frustrated until now. The Leader is doing so despite seemly politically dire circumstances. Reid knows that some will scatter and some will stand in the light and make good on Americas promise. Others will take advantage of the light to take notice of who stands for whom.
Mario Solis-Marich is a talk show host that can be heard on AM760 in Denver and streamed at www.GoToMario.com.