Thursday, February 26, 2009

Listen carefully to Abel Maldonado's vote

The Republican from Santa Maria, who rose from City Council to the Legislature, has gained recognition after joining Democrats to pass California's budget. Apparently he didn't feel the need to stay in line with the Republican party on this issue. Probably he felt he didn't owe the party anything. A party which still has to come to terms with the issue of immigration. As Jim Nicholson wrote in recent weeks. The party should "Rethink immigration". The election of a colored American as RNC Chair, Michael Steel, was off course inevitable in the current context.

It is however not enough. Rethinking immigration is more, it is the clear determination to include minorities in the party leadership. The vote of Abel Maldonado shows us that this process probably hasn't even started.

As in Europe, it is extremely unhealthy when one party is considered the party that is naturally entitled to the immigrant vote. Just as in Europe, while on the one hand most progressive and leftist parties are taking the immigrant vote for granted, on the other hand conservative and liberal (in the European sense) parties are focusing on Judeo-christian culture and values, closed borders and the low education levels of new immigrants.

Abel Maldonado shows us that all those answers are not sufficient in Rethinking immigration. It is not sufficient to take the immigrant vote for granted, it is not sufficient to focus on judeo-christian culture and the level of education and the cultural differences. Abel Maldonado has taught Republicans a valuable lesson: Take Latino's seriously as citizens.

I have been disappointed about the fact that this important issue has gained so little attention. The articles focus mostly on Abel Maldonado making a name for himself. I don't think that is correct. Abel Maldonado's vote is a very strong warning sign for the Republican leadership. Rethinking Immigration is not the hobby of some idealist dreamers, it is the "make or break" issue facing the Republican party and Abel Maldonado has officially given the start signal of this crucial debate.

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