As the young folks in this country are increasingly non-white, so wanes the GOP’s commitment to investing in education, infrastructure, and health care. All of a sudden, we can’t afford the kind of investment we made in these areas in the past.
There was a time the government quite literally gave out land for free, via Homestead Act. Hundreds of millions of acres. There was a time the government gave land to the States to help build universities, via land grant institutions.
When the market failed in the 1920′s, the government stepped up with massive programs to help those affected by the hard times. Federal Housing Assistance changed the landscape of home ownership in America. The GI Bill extended opportunities for education to a generation of people for whom the payoffs back to the country are incontrovertibly positive.
Today’s baby boomers now have two programs that, in my five-year old’s words, are hu-normous, designed specifically to keep them alive and comfortable in their twilight years. Fully a third of the Federal budget is dedicated to this very task, not to mention the defense budget, for whom I know few minorities who sit on the boards of Boeing and other contractors who supply our war machine.
Today’s boomers might as well be Swedish, they’ve grown up with government sticking their nose into every part of their lives. They and their grandparents have benefitted handsomely from the US government’s investment in their future, and to this day, millions of checks are cashed to ensure we don’t fail as a society by letting them suffer as many did during the Depression.
This is as it should be. We have no business as the most resourceful country in the world, allowing our older neighbors to suffer needlessly. Is it efficient to do so? Probably not. But unless you are an Ayn Rand flunky, who cares? Efficiency is not the greatest virtue.
I say all this because I sometimes wonder if this demographic shift in the country will also soften the Republican Party’s stance on abortion. Is a Hispanic zygote equal to a white zygote? The Republican stance on abortion makes no exception for instances of rape or incest. This is amazingly disconnected with not only the views of a majority of American’s, but with common decency.
The GOP tied up the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act in Congress because the law extended protections for swarthy people; undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and Lesbians. Which is weird, because if they were zygotes, the GOP might be more resolved in their desire to protect them against violence.
The GOP really needs to expand their message to reach out to more demographic groups, but zygotes don’t vote. Besides, a good number of them will be Democrats, gay, or possibly undocumented. Why wait?
The GOP version of diversity at the Convention seems to be that they play both kinds of music, country and western. They’re going to need to do a whole lot better than that. They can start by treating everyone as they wish us to treat zygotes. Hug a Hispanic, GOP. For they, too, were once zygotes.
Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.