Next week, a group of patriots, who happen to be Hispanic, will gather to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
It will be the kind of moment that runs counter to the narratives of the political and the media elite, but to those of us in the room, our celebration makes perfect sense.
If news of our inauguration party surprises you, recall that 29 percent of the Hispanic vote went to Trump. Remember, too, that Latinos are feeling the sharp pain of economic adversity that Trump has convincingly promised to change.
Remember also that one of the great economic beacons of hope for Hispanic Americans is small-business ownership, which is in precipitous decline in this country. Most traditional politicians have done nothing but pay lip service to small-business growth for a generation or more.
Finally, recall that Hispanic parents, like all American parents, want to be empowered to make the choice of sending their children to the best schools possible.
Our inauguration celebration will not just honor the new commander in chief, but the peaceful transfer of power, which is always an incredible moment in this country. Those of us most in touch with our immigrant roots may appreciate this on a deeper level.
For example, I am just one generation removed from being an American by choice — my father made the life-changing decision to move to this great country from Mexico.
He envisioned a successful life in a free and just country. My father achieved his American dream.
Choosing to be an American and embracing our country’s opportunities every single day of his life made him the greatest patriot I’ve ever known.
Love of country should help all Americans, not just Hispanics, get past their election-season passion or disappointment. The inauguration should be both solemn and celebratory, a moment of uniquely powerful possibility.
After all, we have proven as a nation, over and over again, that we can rise above petty and partisan interests for a much greater good.
Today, the greater good comes in the form of solutions to problems like the record 94 million Americans out of the workforce, rising 30 million uncovered Americans despite rising healthcare premiums, 40 to 50 million Americans receiving food stamps, a broken immigration system left unaddressed for over 30 years and the threat terrorism poses to national security.
None of these problems care who the president is. All communities, regardless of race, are impacted by these problems.
Why will a group of Latinos raise a glass to the new president next week? It’s simple — we love our country and want it to reach its full potential.
We want to help that happen with our community’s own incredible economic power and vitality. After all, the Hispanic population is “growing, young, increasingly educated, employed, connected, entrepreneurial, and upwardly mobile in terms of income as well as consumption,” according to a study conducted by the National Economic Research Association.
When I started my government service in Washington, D.C. years ago, I remember hearing that there are no permanent adversaries, only permanent interests.
Making America great is a universal interest with universal benefits. At our party, we’ll drink to that…with very good tequila.
Hector Barreto is the chairman of the Latino Coalition and the former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush.
Cited: The Hill