Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Kirsten Gillibrand and Immigration; Gays, Are You Watching?
Latinos have cause to be concerned about Hillary Clinton's replacement in the Senate. Her successor, Kirsten Gillibrand, has more of a conservative streak than some of us can stomach.
In last week's edition of Latino USA on NPR, host Maria Hinojosa interviewed Univision's top anchor, Maria Elena Salinas (who just interviewed President Obama), who commented on Gillibrand's staunch policy on immigration that includes sending the military to patrol the border and penalizing so-called "sanctuary cities" that harbor undocumented immigrants. The ladies bemoaned the apparent affront to President Obama's promise to expedite a fair, realistic and compassionate immigration policy.
While I'd like to rail against the President and remind all of you that this isn't the first time Mr. Obama has called for unity and inclusion while inviting divisive figures to play in the sandbox, I think we should give his approach of engaging all points of view a chance. The man hasn't even been in office for a month, let's give inclusion, even when it means giving a platform to points of view that we don't like, a chance. For now.
But I would like to bring this issue to the attention of gays who might otherwise give Gillibrand a pass because she's pro gay marriage. As we seethe from the cold shoulder given to us by African Americans and Latinos on the Prop 8 vote in California, let's not forget the response these groups have given us: "When did you stand up for us?" I'll refrain from calling out racism within the gay community, but perhaps we are too self-centered to even consider how we can promote progressive thought (on immigration, on healthcare, on reproductive rights, and yes, gay marriage) instead of being all one-note about our issue being THE issue of the 21st century.
So, gays, let's please keep an eye on Kirsten. She's a Democrat and she has the approval of Mr. President and Mrs. Almost President - so let's cooperate, for now.