From John Hawkins at Right Wing News ...
I was talking to a very credible Capitol Hill source (who wishes to remain anonymous) today and that person told me a story that just blew my mind. Well actually, it should have blown my mind, but unfortunately, it is the sort of laziness and terrible messaging that we have too often seen from the Republican Party of late.
He told me the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 19th Annual Legislative Conference will be taking place next week in DC.
Here's the kicker: supposedly, the Democrats have 20 senators scheduled to attend various events and receptions. The Republicans? Are you ready for this? They have no senators currently scheduled to attend. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
As a Republican and an ethnic minority, I've said before that I really hate the paradigm of the "hyphenated American" and I hate talking about race and politics in such limiting terms. I truly think that what we see as ethnic minority voting blocs do not want to be treated as blocs. We can reach out to ethnic minorities, in large groups or individually, not by talking about their identity, but by talking about the importance of freedom and opportunity. Most importantly, ethnic minority outreach means "reaching out" to them where they are, not inviting them to where we are. But it doesn't mean pandering to them based on rhetoric tied to their identity.
But we still have to embrace the reality that communities are formed around common identities while also coming up with an agenda that can reach out to all communities. Apparently, GOPers on the Hill can't even get step number one done: showing up!
A message to GOP candidates and campaigns at the state and local level: follow the lead of 27-year-old Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) who in each of his races was not afraid to go into "urban areas" not only to campaign, but to listen to people's concerns and have a dialogue with voters. Visit the African-American church and knock on the door of an African-American family in your town. Attend a Hispanic community meeting and visit an Hispanic-owned small business in your district. Go to Asian-American potlucks and attend PTA meetings where Asian-, African-, Hispanic-Americans, etc. gather to talk about their children's education.
Don't preach. Don't lecture. Don't get impatient. Listen. Converse. Engage. Be willing to learn from their perspective, both as an American citizen and as a member of their community. And, please, just show up!