Thursday, February 1, 2007

Trouble in Caucusville

Sorry for posting so late today, there was a lot to talk about and read about on lots of news outlets and blogs. I spent most of the day reading up on the fallout from the Washington Post's William Arkin blog claiming that the US military should be supporting America more vs. asking America to support them. It was as if I were reading the words, comprehending their meaning but I was reading a foreign language. I thought about blogging about that but decided that I would let my boys on the milblogs have their say on that, Lord knows they earned it. Uncle Jimbo at BlackFive.

Then, there is some "fun" brewing over at Michelle Malkin. It seems that NY Times reporter and a Getty Images photographer over in the Sandbox committed career suicide by reporting and airing on the NYT website footage of a dying US Soldier, Sgt. Hector Leija of Texas. Now, reporting on the death of the Texas hero wasn't the faux pas, the fact that they aired it well before the family was notified and give the usual 24 hour reprieve is what has them in big doo with the DoD.

This afternoon, I finally found something to 1) dig my linguistics teeth into and 2) that hasn't already been addressed by some of the other major bloggers so far. There have been accusations on the part of Rep. Loretta Sanchez,D (CA-47) that the Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joe Baca, also of California called her "The P Word". For those of you unfamiliar with Spanish, it translates to "The W Word" in English.

Now, being someone who has studied Spanish, lived in a Spanish speaking country and with Spanish speaking people for quite some time, it is quite possible, that if Baca called her the Spanish translation of this word, the contextual definitions are almost limitless. Without going into too much detail or stepping on the toes of George Carlin, "the P Word" in Spanish is almost as multifunctional as "the F word" in our beloved English Language. The context of the usage is more defining than simply the word itself. The issue remains, did he mean "the W word" or "The B word" or several other possibilities. Regardless, she resigned from the Caucus and denial is the word of the day from the Baca Camp.

This flap lead me to look into origin of the caucuses, both Hispanic and Black and what I found was rather intriguing.

Black Caucus
Hispanic Caucus

The Hispanic Caucus' Mission Statement is as follows:

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus aims to address national and international issues and the impact these policies have on the Hispanic community. The function of the Caucus is to serve as a forum for the Hispanic Members of Congress to coalesce around a collective legislative agenda. In addition to covering legislative action, the CHC also monitors Executive and Judicial issues.

CHC legislative priorities cover all areas that have a direct impact on the Hispanic community. In order to best address these diverse issues, members work in smaller task forces that draw on their expertise and develop priority legislation within each area.

The Black Caucus' Mission Statement is as follows:

The Caucus describes its goals as "positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation," and "achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services."

The CBC encapsulates these goals in the following priorities: Closing the achievement and opportunity gaps in education, assuring quality health care for every American, focusing on employment and economic security, ensuring justice for all, retirement security for all Americans, and increasing equity in foreign policy

In a previous post I have stated that I take issue with those who base their vote solely on someone's gender, race, color or even sexual orientation. Now, tread carefully, I said only,not that it isn't or shouldn't be a factor but it shouldn't be the only factor. People who only vote red or only blue, they too are questionable voters. We all must be educated voters and at the very least, learn a little bit about each candidate before pulling the lever.

The question has arisen, do we still need caucuses? Do they really serve a constructive purpose in the 21st Century? Do they make a positive difference? Do they have any impact at all? Going a step further, what's next? A Muslim Caucus? A Catholic Caucus? Why isn't there an Italian Caucus? An Irish Caucus?

Now here is the surprise for me, both the Black and Hispanic Caucuses historically are almost exclusively Democrats. According to the link above, in the Black Caucus there have only been three Republican members since its inception in 1969. My question is this, since minority groups tend to be Democrats, this is no big surprise but the point that needs to made is, aren't we just giving the Democrats another avenue to organize and influence?

Would we accept a Southern Caucus whose states are traditionally Republican? Hmmmmm ....

Here is more on this from Michelle Malkin

No comments: