I know I know. Sometimes I sound like a broken record when it comes to my absolute frustration with the near total absence of a Latino voice in the mainstream political discourse. (See Huffington Post/Bill Maher critique below.) And while I sometimes question the value of Brown folks blathering side-by-side with the 24/7 parade of talking heads (I mean, how many times can we watch Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes banter screwball-comedy-like making fun of Sarah Palin Christine O'Donnell?...OK...a lot) for better or worse we live in a cable news driven age.
What's blabbed about on Morning Joe becomes column inches in the Washington Post which then become signs thrust about at Tea Party rallies. It would be nice if on occasion a Brown perspective was contributing to the conversation.
If any good came out of the recent media attention on the Arizona anti-immigrant law it was the various cable channels need to actually put some Raza on air to see what was up. Not that talking to a Latino was CNN and company's first instinct.
As usually happens in these TV news narratives of Someone-Oppressing-a-Minority, the sage voice of the oppressed is almost always a black guy. Usually Al Sharpton. So no surprise, then, in the immediate days following Jan Brewer's signing of Arizona SB 1070, the good Reverend appeared everywhere. Homeboy even led a march of angry Latinos. Not that I don't appreciate the props from my fellow person of color, but it would be nice if Larry King would have let one of us speak for ourselves.
Enter U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D. NM).
Not sure where I first saw the good congressman, but from that moment on I was a fan. Any guy called Mecha-Boy by right-wing blogs and a weasel by Michelle Maklin is a badass in my book. And in the fine tradition of not only Barney Frank, but the late great Texas Congresman Henry B. Gonzales, the rumpled, disheveled look from Representative Grijalva somehow adds an "everyman" authenticity to his words. Not that he needs the packaging. Son of a migrant worker, Grijalva's father entered the U.S. through the Bracero Program. He's worked in education. And has called for the economic boycott of his own state.
Here's a video of Grijalva giving a tour of his office. (Thanks to Crooks and Liars for originally posting the video.) While the video's music of Flaco Jimenez is a bit of an obvious cue choice to my post-Chicano ears (Hacienda, perhaps, a more interesting choice? Or even Steve Jordan...) I am nonetheless, heartened by the attempt. Enjoy.