If I could wave my magic wand and change the federal election laws, I would force all registered voters to take a simple geography test. This test would require them to name at least five sovereign nations in the Western Hemisphere, besides Mexico, located south of the Texas border. You know the place I'm referring to.... that other part of the world that dares to call itself America. Fail this test and you don't get to vote in this country ever again, until you put down your cheerios and spend a few seconds looking at a world atlas.
Donald Trump made headlines last month when he climbed aboard the clown car otherwise known as “Republican politicians running for U.S. President”. Standing on a podium, surrounded by cheering throngs of admirers ( a number of whom were allegedly paid for their enthusiasm), Trump said: “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists...”
Predictably, many people took umbrage at his remarks– chief among them, Univision news anchor, Jorge Ramos, who challenged the hotel and casino magnate to “Try running your business without Mexicans for a single day.”
Personally, I was ready to ignore Trump's remarks because we all know he isn't a serious candidate. But then I read where a poll of Republican voters in New Hampshire actually ranked him second behind Jeb Bush as the candidate they were most likely to vote for in the 2016 presidential election.
That's when I started fantasizing about my geography test. Apparently there are a lot of Republican voters out there who agree with Trump's opinion of immigrants living in this country. And that's why I decided to ask my friend Luis Ruiz if I could use a photo he had shared with Facebook friends for the cover of this month's La Voz.
You see, Luis and his brother German are but two examples of the millions (literally) of immigrants who have come here from Mexico and throughout Latin America and are working hard to make this country a much better place for all of us.
Luis came to the U.S. when he was just 8-years-old. He worked hard, studied hard and graduated from Armstrong State University in 2010. Today he is a successful professional photographer and is proud to share the accomplishments of his brother, German, who arrived in the U.S. as a baby and recently graduated from Savannah Technical College with a dual degree in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts.
“His decision to take the culinary route was based on his love for creating things with his hands, while making use of his creative abilities,” big brother Luis said. “Just last year, German participated in Savannah Tech’s yearly Wedding Cake Decoration Contest, placing among the top three in the competition, and this is when I became aware of his true potential.”
Today German Ruiz is skillfully practicing his culinary skills at Dough Punchers, a new bakery in Bluffton, South Carolina, that specializes in all-natural ingredients.
I could fill every page of this newspaper for the remainder of 2015 with examples of hard-working, successful immigrants whose lives prove the ignorance of Donald Trump's remarks. But the problems facing today's Republican party go much deeper than trying to defending the reputation of this billionaire blowhard.
From a field of 16 announced candidates, only Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham have expressed a willingness to deal realistically with the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. The rest of them are too busy pandering to Tea Party conservatives to consider the benefits an enlightened approach to immigration reform would bring to our country.
And as for Mr. Trump, I'm reminded of an old expression popular when I was a kid– “If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?” Except in Mr. Trump's case, the question is– “If you're so rich, why ain't you smart?”