Recently, I noticed several new followers on my Twitter account (@dadkind – what else?). What struck me was that they appear to be people of a conservative (or in one case extremely conservative) ideology. That’s not too unusual. I follow some conservative Twitterers (I still don’t know the proper plural) to try and gain an understanding of what makes people tick. But one, in particular, stood out: a minority member of the Tea Party.
I’m sure that there are many other minorities in the Tea Party, but I’d not met one yet (is it really “meeting someone” if you only do it on-line?). Looking at this “about me” on Twitter, I see that he’s a former White House Staffer under President Bush (GW, I suspect), a former Univision Anchor, and farm worker. I must admit that I’m taking his “about me” at face value; I haven’t Facebook-Stalked him or anything, so I’m assuming his description of himself is accurate.
We had an interaction (or two) on Twitter and he shared a link to a piece he’d written for the Washington post (if I recall correctly). It seemed fairly standard stuff: need to de-regulate businesses more because it will create a better economy, etc. At first glance he seems to be a mainstream Tea Party member. But what had caught my eye initially, was that this young man was a proponent of immigration reform.
Immigration reform is not something that you normally associate with the Tea Party (Tea Party Republicans Blast House GOP Immigration Plan As Unacceptable ). Looking into his group a little, one quickly finds that this young man’s organization is another Koch Brothers funded group. Yet, it seems, that even the Koch Brothers acknowledge that Latinos will need to be courted, if the GOP is to survive in the years to come. The Kochs’ motivation in helping the GOP gain Latino voters is clear: GOP policies will put more money in their own pocket at the end of the day.
But, I worry about people like this young man. While he may talk comfortably to conservative groups about economic policies (mis-guided policies, but that’s another post) and receive nods, “atta-boys” and slaps on the back, I suspect that when he speaks to this same group about immigration reform, the response is markedly different (Texas Republicans adopt stricter immigration reform platform). I may not agree with this young man’s views on economics, but I would like to see him succeed in helping GOP members realize that Latinos are just like them: they just want a better life for themselves and their family.
I earnestly hope that his stance on immigration reform doesn’t doom his future with the GOP. If this country is going to get past the current grid-lock that we see in the halls of congress, we will need people willing to work with the other side, for the benefit of all. He seems like he could be one of those people.