Herman Cain Has Likely Lost the Largest New Voting Block in the US: Latinos

One wonders what would have happened for Cain if he made jokes about lynching black people who make no effort to work…but then later, much later, he said ‘awwwwww, that was a joke, and America needs to get a sense of humor.’

Unfortunately, Cain himself is becoming not a leader, but is seen as a reason to laugh as he blunders along trying to find his way into a presidential nomination.

He had my attention at first; talking about hard work: check. Talking about being self made: check. Good words.

But then came ‘the joke’ by Cain about building a fence 20 feet tall with barbed wire and electrified so it would murder anyone who tried to cross it. We already had this… and we still remember… at Auschwitz, at Bergen Belsen, at Treblinka, at Dachau, at so many places on earth, where evil was allowed unfettered.

Not to mention that Latinos who are citizens born here and naturalized citizens make up a huge voting block. It is an error to think that we do not also remember much of what is now US, used to be Mexico. The way it was appropriated is not forgotten. And though we work to be where we are and content, we have not forgotten the abject brutality of that time not so long ago when USA decided it would just take enormous tracts of land lived on, ranched, worked by the mostly poor Mejicanos.

But history of the lands aside for now… if Cain and others want to think that creating a well-crafted fantasy about electrocuting people is a joke, making his audience guffaw and cheer loudly and enthusiastically when he cries out that people will be killed by electrocution….and then, much later, says is a joke… Well. Fine. But, there’s a consequence for ‘joking around’ about electrocuting a specific racial group, that is, those who might have voted for him, will never ever trust him again, no matter what he says otherwise. The vicious slant of his ‘humor,’ the violence of his personal har har.

Ya basta. It is enough.

That Mr. Cain met with (sheriff of Maricopa County) Joe Arpaio today will cement for many, that Cain will bring a vendetta against a certain race of people in ways that are anything but family friendly.

The thing is, many Latinos still remember the hideous history of the Mexican Inquisition which was imported from Spain and enabled by those powers and the Catholic church, and then supported by knowing apathy and supportive forces from the US in the late 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Most do not know that Mejicanos say they will never go on their knees to a torturer again. Tierra o Muerte [land or death] is not just kidding around. Unlike Cain’s “joke,” o Muerte, is real, not to kill others, but to die defending family and land. There’s much criticism about the average US citizen knowing little about Islam. Many from our culture know most citizens appear also know so little about the culture of Mexico other than Taco Bell, folk dances, la cucaracha, sombrero salt shakers and maybe milagro beanfield war movie.

I watched today what some are calling “Cain’s Girlie Show” put together to seemingly salaam him singing off-key at a press convocation. It would seem that in those times (Cain is no longer CEO as he was assigned by his boss Pillsbury–who are the actual owners of Godfather’s Pizza chain, not Cain) Cain was also joking that he was a king, with well endowed handmaidens glorifying him. I think that’s alright if that’s what he likes. Bring on the girlie shows. That’s entertaining. But it isnt statesmanship.

Regarding Mexico and the terrible issues not only at the border, but deep into the states and Mexico now, as I was reading Cain’s comments about Mexico, none of us can know everything of each culture, but I have to say, it appears Cain doesnt know Chihuahua from a chihuahua. He is as close to a foreign policy expert about Mexico as anyone at the Chukchi Sea saying “I can see Russia from my house’… which is to say zero.

Cain may listen to ‘ten-seconds’ of cable tv’s third-hand news about Mexico, but knowing ‘news flap’ is not the ssame as knowing the long vulnerable and venerable history about the border, or Mexico. He doesnt appear to know the difference between all the many layers, heritages and classes of Mexican peoples. Just sort of ‘dadgumit, those people are bad.’ He doesnt know the difference between the cartels and the people who battle them and lose their lives to them EVERY day. He mentions nothing about the human trafficking going on, on both sides of the border. To be fair, neither does President Obama.

And It would appear from the lack of depth of knowledge about Mexico’s many many different classes of people, that Cain has never been more than a tourist at the border. His tourist ideas of what the border is, what the terrible issues actually are, what relationships exist between Mexico and USA, seem more like his wishful fantasies about what Latinos and Mejicanos are about.

So, sorry, and meaning no disrespect, but Ya Basta, Mr. Cain.

But Ya basta [enough already], is not talk about murdering anyone… as Cain spoke about building a wall so it will murder others, specifically my people. Ya basta, is not ‘getting my people to laugh at a slaughter of your people,’ with emphasis on others’ stupidity …as Cain put forth. In fact we have been walkers, marchers, helpers, sisters and brothers to American blacks since the beginning… except for those from any side who have tried hard to put enmity between the races. We discount them as out of it, as provocateurs sent by certain special interests to unheave and divide, as prevaricators in order to cause discord so they themselves can get most of whatever the getting is. . . power, money, fame, whatever else.

Maybe that’s why it was shocking to hear Cain’s words. Literally centuries of interdependency between blacks and latinos, and it comes to Cain making jokes about death to others. For us, death at the border is very real, and has been for a sadly long long time, and in ways Cain has NO idea about helping, preventing, protecting or mediating.

To me, one who wants to harp on issues without truly showing up to help, is cheap talk. I do not recall seeing Cain at the border, ever. Not in the programs to daily drag water to the deserted dying in the desert, so young souls who are naive and uneducated who believed the coyotes, and who saved and scrimped and indentured family members to pay the passage, but were left to die in the impassable parts of the Sonoran or Mohave by the criminals. 88 children, men and women’s bodies found thus far in the last twelve months. Only counting those poor souls whose bodies have been found. There are likely many many more of the dead not yet found. Their families have never heard from them again.

I have not seen Cain at Mass or at churches that draw from both sides of the border in prayer and solidarity. I have not seen Cain at the immigration jail trying to help the souls who have three children taken away by Immigration from either side of the border whilst trying to cross. I have not seen Cain in the cities where ‘cartel gangs who protect the protectors who protect the protectors’ make the bloods and crips look like the little old ladies knitting club in terms of mutilating raw violence that values no life whatsoever.

I have not seen Mr. Cain crouching in his house with his children and grandchildren on the floor as my friends do, for the thugs on both sides of the border, have free run in backs of open pickup trucks with more loaded carbines than carter’s has pills. I have not seen Mr. Cain on any dangerous frontera. I have wondered what Cain’s military service was, for military service has often caused many a soul to see into other cultures in ways that show both the foibles and the gifts. But Mr. Cain leaves the gifts and the las luchas, the struggles of the decent souls out of his world view of the border. And gives the impression he would like to live in the lap of luxury away from all pain and suffering of others… and solely make cable-news-based pronouncements.

To we who are immigrants, we have in memory a way of seeing. People can flap their gums all day long about what’s wrong with our country in order to ‘het up a head of steam’ to try to ‘rouse the base… the tired base.’ But, we’re not moved. We’re not stupid. We know what’s wrong in this world in more ways than most politicians do. But there will never be a seat at the table for one who cannot say what is right, what is righteous, what is wrong and how to fix it in ways humane whenever possible, and ways of containment when absolutely needed … and know the difference between them all.

Many of us dont want another president, black, white, green or brown whose answer to everything is ‘kill ‘em.” Joke about your own people next time Mr. Cain, and see how that ‘electrocution wall joke’ thingie works out for you.

But, in case you have forgotten, or likely never knew, we have literally tens of thousands of peoples in Mexico for nearly five hundred years, who are Africans brought to all across the Americas by slavetraders, who were themselves both African and European. The Mexicano, El Salvadorean, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Belizian, Guatemaltecos, Costa Rican African-Americans ran for freedom into the US for millenia now. Without papers. Maybe you’d like the US to retroactively check back on them too Mr. Cain. Some may be your own ancestors.

I sincerely hope Mr Cain willl leave the African-Mexicans alone. And the Musims. And Mormons. And the African-Americans who want peace and parity in the US like the rest of us do. I think Mr. Cain has done enough now to set back the reconciliation of races and religions, right here at home.

Which is the shame of it all, for one minute of cheap jokes, Cain seeingly threw away what could have been a promising, balancing chance to be the Republican nominee. We Latinos not only remember the history of Mexico, and the history of the US and Mexico. For sure, we remember just last week …and all that was said, and how Cain fantasized about murdering a people most of whom are naive people trying to make it, then said it was all just a big joke. Just a joke. Like lynching can be a joke. Like that.

He said nothing about going up against the real criminals, vicious criminals both Mexican and from the US. But that would take true courage, true righteousness, for reasons not even needing to be said aloud. It’s much easier for Cain to attack 100 pound 5’2″ men wanting to earn a living for their mothers and their children, than strongmen with trucks, rifles and revolvers.

Ya basta Mr. Cain.

_____CODA
here is more Latino news reaction to Cain’s remarks about a fence he said he’d build for Latinos at the border that he says “This will kill you.”

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist