Even as the number of Latinos in Nashville and elsewhere around the country grows, misinformation abounds about the fastest and youngest growing demographic community. The biggest misconception is that Latinos all speak in one voice. This is patently false and does a great deal of disservice to the millions of individuals who are unique and different in their own way.
To be sure, there are many things that unite our community: language, culture, a hard work ethic and love of family. But there are also important differences, including political philosophy. In short, there are some Latinos living in this country who are more likely to see big government policies as a sign of strength. But for other Latinos, particularly those who have fled from tyranny and oppression (as is my case), individual liberty is to be cherished, seldom at the expense of a growing government.
Unfortunately for most of our country’s recent history, many of the oldest and biggest Latino advocacy groups have mostly been promoting big government policies and towing an ideologically liberal line. Of course, in a democracy like ours, this is a good thing. Thankfully we are free to join and support groups that represent our values and advance public policies we believe will make our country better.
But, our democratic process also thrives when we have a healthy exchange of ideas. It’s incredibly dangerous in a republican democracy like ours if there are no disagreements and everyone agrees on everything. E.J. Dionne Jr., a liberal columnist for The Washington Post, said as much in a recent column:
“An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy. The United States needs conservatives willing to criticize the grand plans we liberals sometimes offer, to remind us that traditional institutions should not be overturned lightly and to challenge those who believe that politics can remold human nature.”
Thankfully for the Latino community, we are slowly beginning to see the emergence of ideologically and philosophically diverse advocacy organizations. One such organization is The Libre Initiative, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing the principles of economic freedom and the free enterprise system to the Latino community. It is accomplishing this by educating the Latino community about the power of the free market.
It is also putting together workshops across the country to register Latinos to vote and get involved in the political process. And just recently, The Libre Initiative was passing out turkeys during the Thanksgiving holiday for families in need.
As the executive director for Latinos for Tennessee, a local nonprofit that is dedicated to promoting the principles of faith, family and fiscal responsibility, we are glad to know that there is a national Latino advocacy organization that is representing many of the values of our local membership.
We plan to continue taking our message to more and more Latinos this year and beyond because we believe that this is an exceptional country that has been the greatest source of refuge for all those seeking liberty and a chance to succeed, no matter your pedigree. This is precisely why we are committed to ensuring that the next generation of Americans — including Latin American immigrants — have the same opportunities many of us have been blessed to have.
Raul Lopez is the executive director of Latinos for Tennessee, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting faith, family and liberty in the Latino community in Tennessee. For more information, visit http://latinosfortn.com.