These are perplexing times for Hispanics, especially for those who are Catholic. Actually, that statement is ridiculous, because these are confusing times for everybody, unless there’s some really enlightened individual out there who has achieved inner harmony while the rest of the world roils uncontrollably.
But getting back to those Hispanic Catholics, let’s address a question: In an election year, do they tap into their faith to lead them to the conclusion that we should be concerned with the poor and the plight of immigrants (liberal ideas) or do they lose their collective mind over gays and abortion (conservative ideas)?
Now that the nominees are set, will Hispanics back Obama – the Democrat and (as you may have noticed) a fellow ethnic minority? Or will they turn against him because he surged past Hillary Clinton, that perennial Latino favorite?
Will they go for John McCain, whose efforts to appeal to Hispanics have thus far consisted of learning how to pronounce the word “fajita” correctly? Or will they lump him in with the build-a-fence, deport-everybody Republican crowd?
At this point, it seems like the decades-long lock that Democrats have on this constituency is intact, but weakening. People like my pro-life, anti-war aunt don’t exactly feel a kinship to either political party. Her opinions are not contradictory to herself, but they cause pollsters fits.
Of course, being Hispanic is no longer synonymous with being Catholic. When I was growing up, encountering a Latino who did not know the rosary backward and forward was as rare as discovering an Asian person who was really into polka. That’s not necessarily true anymore, and I’ll address the de-Catholicization of Latino culture in a future post.
But in any case, it will be intriguing to see if religion and race mix in unpredictable ways this November.