By Randy Hall ~
Since this is a presidential election year, it’s not surprising to find harsh comments and angry rhetoric regarding candidates running to occupy the White House next January.
However, Fabiola Santiago — a columnist for the Miami Herald — set a new low in an editorial that was published on Friday entitled “Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio aren’t the Cuban dream team.”
At the top of the article are some “Highlights” from the editorial, including: “I’m one of you, Cruz was saying, but we know better,” and “Rubio, Miami native son, is a climate-change denier.”
Those comments drew the ire of columnist Alex Griswold on the Mediaite website, who responded: “Turns out allegations of race treachery are perfectly okay when applied to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.”
“Most of all, Miami Cuban-Americans don’t hide roots to gain acceptance of the mainstream. You can’t sound like a cubano arrepentido, a denier of your heritage, and get a rousing welcome,” Santiago claimed.
Their “denial of their heritage” amounts essentially to their holding conservative political views.
Rubio is “a climate-change denier” who doesn’t support ObamaCare; Cruz “has no empathy for undocumented immigrants” and likes guns.
“This is idiotic for several reasons, but mostly because anyone familiar with Cuban-American politics knows they are easily the most conservative Hispanic subgroup in the United States,” Griswold noted.
“Cuban Republicans aren’t over-eager” Tea Party darlings, Santiago continued. “Though conservative on foreign policy, on social issues they resemble their Democratic counterparts” on such topics as same-sex marriage, Medicaid expansion and immigration reform that puts “undocumented immigrants” on a path to citizenship.
“Setting aside the fact Rubio in particular actually talks a great deal about alleviating poverty, she presents no polling data indicating this is the case,” the Mediaite columnist noted. “How do we know Cubans are so different from other Republican-voting blocs? Well, she can just feel it, kinda like how she can just feel that they aren’t real Cubans.”
Griswold also asserted: “The pinnacle of this stupidity is when she claims both men aren’t authentically Cuban because they oppose President Obama’s warming of relations with Cuba, which she chalks up to blind hatred” of the president. “Yep, the sons of Cuban exiles are now betraying their roots when they question cozying up to the Castros.”
Meanwhile, Santiago “also frets that ‘Cruz doesn’t speak Spanish.’”
“On this point, she’s simply wrong,” Griswold noted. “Cruz absolutely speaks Spanish,” but “I guess even Googling ‘does Ted Cruz speak Spanish’ is too much research when you’ve got an ox to gore.”
“The notion that learning and exclusively using English makes one no longer Hispanic is patently offensive,” he continued.
Griswold then remarked:
No one has demanded that Bernie Sanders speak Hebrew, Donald Trump speak German or John Kasich speak Mailman on the campaign trail in order to prove that their backgrounds are legitimate.
Only Hispanics are regularly asked to “prove” their heritage by reciting a foreign language before a judging committee. It’s a terribly bigoted double standard, and it’s a shame to see a Hispanic in a major newspaper uncritically forwarding it.
“Rubio and Cruz are Cuban-Americans whose parents and grandparents benefited from America’s generous heart and were admitted into the country under generously created and bended rules,” Santiago added.
“Now they want to rule over a country that closes the door on others seeking refuge,” she concluded. “In Miami, we have one word for that: Feo. Ugly.”
I can’t believe we have to say this in the 21st century, but erasing someone’s heritage because you disagree with them politically is backwards, anti-intellectual and demeaning even to those you do agree with.
What Santiago demands of Cubans is nothing short of unadulterated loyalty to liberal ideals. If you dare to think outside the box, well you can’t be a Cuban, because apparently all “real” Cubans are all slavish idiots who think and act the same way.
“Demanding that someone think and act a certain way because of the color of their skin or who their parents were goes against everything that drew immigrants to this country in the first place,” the Mediaite columnist stated.
“I’m just disappointed that some at the Miami Herald seem to have forgotten that,” Griswold concluded.
As NewsBusters previously reported, this isn’t the first time Cruz and Rubio have been attacked regarding their Cuban heritage.
In November, Hardball host Chris Matthews stated: “I’m not sure the right word is Hispanic for them because they are Cuban nationals or whatever.”
Two months later, Matthews had to apologize for calling the GOP candidates “two Cuban guys.”
As the election process continues, the name-calling and insults are bound to get nastier. We can only wonder what pundits like Matthews would say if a Cuban Republican were to win the White House.
Randy Hall contributes Posts at the NewsBusters site.