Rubio Says "Latinos will move to Mitt Romney," He Couldn't Be More Wrong
I remember very clearly when I first read that Marco Rubio believed Latinos would move to Mitt Romney. I remember being slightly offended, but not surprised that the GOP would think Latinos would flock to a party that hasn’t stood with us on our core issues; that we would move to their side just because they deliver a message to us in our language. Now Senator Rubio thinks that Latinos, in time, will flock over to Mitt Romney and will vote for him during the 2012 elections when they learn about Mitt Romney’s economic plan. Senator Rubio, and any other elected official, should know that social, political, and economic issues are intertwined — when Latino voters state the economy as their number one interest for the upcoming election, they aren’t just talking about economic stability and jobs: they are also thinking about ways that our government stands with and protects a historically and socially disadvantaged community to ensure we have the same opportunity as everyone else to achieve the American Dream.
The American Dream means living healthier lives than your parents. When Mitt Romney said nonchalantly that he wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, he was directly attacking Latinos’ access to reliable, affordable health care — plain and simple. Romney, in a matter of seconds, dismissed the fact that our community faces great obstacles to obtaining and benefitting from sexual and reproductive health, mainly because our economic disadvantages make it extremely hard for us to access health care. We are more likely to be uninsured than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States — this is an economic issue, a basic rights issue, an issue that cannot be overlooked. And when the Affordable Care Act was passed, which would ensure nine million Latinos previously uninsured received coverage, Mitt Romney said that he would repeal it during his first day in office.
It’s important to note that Latinos make up close to 25 percent of patients at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide; to be clear, that’s one of every four people that walk through Planned Parenthood’s doors. This means Mitt Romney’s attacks on Planned Parenthood are bigger than Planned Parenthood: Mitt’s attacks are a direct attack on Latinos’ ability to live more productive, healthier lives, and to take a shot at achieving the American Dream. How is that not an economic issue? Rubio’s belief that Latinos, in the future, will support a candidate that has stood against our progress is disrespectful, nay insulting, to our community.
Mitt Romney has taken extreme positions on issues important to the Latino community: immigration reform, health care, the economy, and education, among others. Romney, and Rubio for that matter, can tell us about their positions in Spanish all they want. But talking to us in our language does not change the message that is delivered, and I can assure you that my community will not be flocking to Mitt Romney’s side any time soon. Latinas are watching Mitt Romney, his attacks on Title X funding, on birth control, and on our access to reliable health care. We are watching, and we won’t forget.