On Florida and Jan Brewer and Ann Richards

It is interesting to see the national media try to make sense of the HispanicLatino vote in Florida before the Republican primary on Tuesday.  The media speaks of it as one vote, and it is in a sense.  The HispanicLatino vote next week could be as much as 80 percent Cuban American.  But most HispanicLatinos in Florida now vote Democratic, so the media would be more accurate to describe the group voting next week in the GOP contest as the Cuban Republican vote, and they should point out that it is shrinking as each day passes due to its aging nature.  Continue reading

The Unreality of Being Lola

Everything seems unreal.  The economy is stuck with no prospect of renewal.  We are still in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Greece, its economy about the size as that of Massachusetts, could set off the next financial contagion.  Millions of additional homes and properties are still underwater and face foreclosure.  Next door in Mexico 40,000 people have lost their lives since 2006 as the drug cartels metastasize.  And no one talks about America’s impending decline.  Unreal.

Adding to the unreality was the Republican presidential debate Tuesday in Las Vegas.  Vegas.  The city in the desert that should not be.  The most unreal of cities.  A desperate city of desperate people.

The debate undid the German expression Einmal ist keinmal (once is never), the idea being that if something happens only once it did not happen at all, for how is anyone to know anything about it relative to something similar.  And so the debate was just like the last one, another example of our collective race to the bottom.

The idea that Herman Cain is really in contention to be the nominee of a party dominated by white southerners is unreal.  That Willard Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts signed a version of the Obama health care plan and now disowns it is unreal, but not as unreal as the Republican rank and file willing to forget that fact in their single-minded blood-thirst to beat the President.  That Newt Gingrich – who abandoned his sick wife in the hospital – can talk about the need for the nation to come together as a community to provide heath care is unreal.  And any race in which two Texans are running for office after the spectacular fiasco that was George W. Bush is beyond any reality.

That Michelle Bachman is on stage is equally surreal.  When Harry S Truman became president, the pundits bemoaned his ascension, thinking him unfit, barely educated and corrupt.  Yet Truman was real, and he had studied Latin and Greek and was not the illiterate, uneducated phony the press expected him to be.  That the country countenances someone like Bachman as a candidate for president shows the depths of the unreality that has gripped the country – and the superficiality.

Who are these people? 

That is the question the Republican electorate seems to be asking itself.  One survey suggests that almost 70 percent of Republican voters remain undecided about the current lineup.  I have to wonder how many will still be undecided after the nominee is chosen.

The GOP debate on Tuesday started at the same time as the telenovela on Telemundo that chronicles the life of the tragic Lola Volcán.  Over-the-top soap operas on Univision and Telemundo are easy ways to re-enforce one’s Spanish.  Dashing dudes and curvacious women do much to conjugate.  Verbs, too.  Thinking that the candidates’ show on CNN was more important and real than Lola’s latest travails, I started watching the debate.  Lola was hands down more real. And so I escaped into that reality, at least for an hour, as she battles yet another demon in her life, an evil named Diana Mirabal.

If we could only stand up to the demons confronting the country as bravely and as resolutely as Lola does hers.

But our unreality, alas, is real.

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