When I wrote last week about registered Latino voters feeling apathetic about politics—so much so that many are saying they will not vote in the midterm elections next month—I received some mixed reactions from you.
"As a Latino, a feminist and a pro-immigrant activist, I am truly disappointed that you are encouraging our community to stay home and not vote," one commenter said. Several of you exhorted me and LATINA to "do better" while another claimed that I am a contributor to FOX News.
I appreciate the dialogue and discussion; in fact, that is exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote the post. But I do feel I need to make some important clarifications, as I take very seriously my position as a voice for our community, as well as your trust in me.
First, I did not at any time—nor would I ever—tell Latinos they are better off just staying home and not voting and was shocked to see that Latinos For Reform has released two ads today that say as much. I was simply reporting the results of a survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center that found, of the Latino registered voters they spoke to, there was a surprising number who were feeling so frustrated that they were thinking of sitting out the upcoming election. This to me felt like an important news update to convey to the community, in the hopes that it would inspire the very kind of thoughtful debate now occurring not only on Latina.com, but in the mainstream news media.
Second, I am in no way advocating one political party over the other. I chose to spotlight that Latino Republicans are becoming more mobilized and active, because, again, that was a finding of the Pew Hispanic Center's survey—i.e., that of the Latinos who said they are going to vote in November, many more are affiliated with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party. That, to me, was an interesting, newsworthy development I wanted to share. Does writing about one political party instead of another mean I am playing favorites? No; it simply means that LATINA is a place that is open to the many different viewpoints that we, as a community, hold—and that we may not always agree with.
As for FOX News, yes, this story was picked up by their new website, foxnewslatino.com—just as many, many Latina.com stories are picked up by other news websites of different affiliations, like AOL or Terra.com. I have also appeared on FOX News to discuss stories like that of the rescue of the Chilean miners, just as I have appeared on other news shows, like MSNBC and the Today Show.
These appearances do not mean that I am advocating one political party over another. Rather, I am trying to make Latinos heard in as many different places as I can. So often we do not get invited to be a part of the national conversation. If I can use my position to get us a seat at the many different tables out there that make up this national conversation, I am going to do so whenever possible.
The bottom line is, I can't decide for you whether you should vote, or how you should vote. Those are incredibly personal decisions that each of us must make for ourselves. All I can try to do is alert you to stories and ideas that we need to be talking about—and sit back and enjoy listening to the discussion.
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