Hillary’s Time to Shine
By the time you read this newspaper, Hillary Clinton will have officially become the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. presidency against a strong cross-current of begrudging acceptance by Sanders’ brigades, many of whom were displeased by the undemocratic nature of the process. It was a contentious stretch that kicked off before the week began with “Wassermangate”—that forced Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign and stoked the fires of passion among Sanders supporters who were put off by the top brass’ plan to malign their candidate.
Caribbean Business descended upon the Philly conclave where we witnessed firsthand how leaked emails inflamed passions and nearly derailed a message of inclusion so essential in these turbulent times. Sanders supporters were bound and determined to release the stranglehold that superdelegates have on the party—they claim to want a more voter-centric process rather than placing so much power in the hands of a large contingent of the 2,383 votes needed to clinch a nomination.
The legendary author Norman Mailer was right when he wrote in “Miami and the Siege of Chicago,” that there is very little one can learn directly from speaking to a candidate who has uttered so many millions of words that it becomes as routine as chewing a piece of meat. Indeed, it is the outliers of political campaigns that are usually the most fascinating.
In that sense, what began as near mortal controversy served to bring out a diversity in a party that reflects what the United States is—two nations that seem divided under God: One with divisive rhetoric spewed by a clown and the other a big tent that gathers the many voices seeking empowerment.
It is fitting that Latinos played a huge role in the four-day encounter session—the nation’s fastest-growing minority has grown from a population of 50.7 million in 2010 when the nation’s first black President Barrack Obama was settling in with a message of “hope and change” to a population of more than 55.3 million in this historic election.
Some things, however, have not changed. The first time this journalist interviewed Hillary Clinton, prior to the Pennsylvania primary in 2008, a veiled sexism counteracted her electability. Voters interviewed for that report saw her as weak because she had shed tears during an interview on television—when she showed character she was called a bitch.
That is a sad reduction of a momentous occasion. Perhaps First Lady Michelle Obama put it best with this: It is because of the work Hillary Clinton has done that my daughters and this nation’s sons take it for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. Hillary now seems poised to capitalize on work that began in her days as an organizer with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a grassroots organization founded by the Democratic Party to reach out to voters. Her first work targeted Latinos.
Now, in the middle of the controversy underpinning her most recent run for the White House—Latinos are rallying to support Clinton. You see it in Rhode Island Secretary of State Nelly Gorbea, who as one of four vice chairs of the platform committee, has played an integral part in helping to build consensus after the email affront. The support is there from the millions of Hispanics and other minorities who contribute to a diverse society.
We believe this election is a crucial contest pitting the discourse of inclusiveness against a huge rhetoric—racism, misogyny and hate—sprayed on an ugly wall. We pray for the sake of all Hispanic Americans that the next United States’ President is a person who is well-acquainted with the plight of Latinos—including a Puerto Rico sorely lacking economic development.