The habla in Washington for a nanosecond is the so-called latest “take down” book of this city’s political and media establishment–This Town by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich. Maybe it’s all the years I spent working my way up in local news before I arrived in the nation’s capitol. Or the fact that as a daughter of immigrants, I always feel like an imposter–the scholarship kid, not the legacy student, feeling that my hard work is parenthetically embraced by the assumption that I’m here because of affirmative action–liberals feel good about including a Latina, conservatives are p.o.’ed because I took one of “their” spots.
I don’t mind being an outsider because it helps me stay focused on what really matters–regular Americans. As immigration hangs by a thread, the chattering class has the gall to ask, if Speaker Boehner or Senator Rubio or President Obama are going to “survive.”
Actually these men will be O.K. In fact, people like them are always “set”, leaving politics to move into well-compensated non-profit work, speaking engagements or private sector gigs. Don’t believe me: checa what Bill Clinton, former Senator James DeMint, and philandering hubs General David Petraeus are up to these days.
But how about John, Jeeyoung, Juan, or Shanikwa Doe struggling on Main Street or rural ‘merica? The kids who go to bed hungry? The bright students trapped in failing schools who aren’t getting an education that will prepare them to attend college or compete in our global economy?
I don’t know how they survive.
But they are, by the same proverbial thread.
So when I hear terminology like: the filibuster “nuclear option” to force a vote on the President’s appointments, I am exasperated with how completely out of touch the Washington echo chamber is. Yes, it’s true. When Labor Secretary appointee Tom Perez’s confirmation is delayed, there’s a leadership vacuum which can trickle down and impact worker’s conditions and rights. But there’s nothing nuclear about this. And here’s one more thing: filibusters aren’t such a bad thing, depending on the context. Ask Texas state senator Wendy Davis who was unknown to the world, until this legislative tactic (and her running shoes) catapulted her to international fame when she stood up–for 13 hours–defending women’s reproductive rights in the Lone Star state.
So spare me the manufactured drama. The real math that matters is the one at kitchen tables across the country–how am I going to make it to the end of the month? This is where the focus of the media and our leaders in “This Town” should be.
Click below to watch my appearance on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd where I appeared with Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz and theGrio.com’s Perry Bacon. In addition to the so-called filibuster nuclear option, we spoke about the impact of Montana governor Brian Schweitzer withdrawing from the 2014 Senate race on the balance of power, and where immigration stands. We also gave “shameless plugs,” including Dan’s Happy “¡44th anniversary, Honey!” to his wife and my own–the progress of my education and literacy organization’s–Latinas for Latino Literature (L4LL)—summer reading program. I squeezed in another: ¡Happy 5-O wedding anniversary to Mami and Papi!
This segment aired on Monday, July 15, 2013.