Monday, March 31, 2014

Quinn wants the Latino vote come November. Who will he honor to get it?

I’m starting to wonder if Gov. Pat Quinn is mistaking March for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Searching for voters at the theater?
Either he is, or maybe he’s just that eager to have Latino voters think he’s aware of us to the point that we’ll contemplate giving him our votes come the Nov. 4 election for Illinois governor.

IT WAS JUST over a week ago that Quinn went so far as to declare the day Benito Juarez Day across Illinois. For the one-time president of Mexico who helped ensure that the nation remain an independent entity and U.S. ally – rather than a French colony that would have given aid and comfort to those forces that wanted to split the United States in two back in the mid-19th Century.

Now, he’s made the declaration that makes Monday officially Cesar Chavez Day across the Land of Lincoln.

We’re not alone. This is actually the anniversary of the birth of the founder of the United Farm Workers labor union. He’d be 87 now, if he hadn’t have died at age 66 back in 1993. Many places with significant Latino populations (particularly in the southwestern U.S.) have made the same declaration.

Although it should be noted that Quinn made his declaration on Friday with a public appearance to add his praise to Chavez – who back in his own time would have had those who wanted to view him as a radical (just like Martin Luther King, Jr.). All because he touted the cause of people the establishment would have preferred to ignore.

BUT WHO NOW are much less venomous in their rhetoric – also just like King. Because they see now how ridiculous their rants were.

Of course, by doing his thing on Friday, Quinn got to get himself a plug on the same day that actor/director Diego Luna’s new film about the life of Chavez came out in movie theaters across the nation. It’s becoming his new tactic, just as he used to be the “Sunday press conference” man to ensure he’d get covered.

Which may mean all the people who felt compelled to see the film when it came out this weekend might be more inclined to think favorably upon the “Mighty Quinn.”

He wants to win
“Cesar Chavez organized the United Farm Workers to fight for fair wages, humane living conditions and basic dignity for some of the most oppressed workers on earth,” Quinn said, while also reminding us of the time he got to meet Chavez back in 1974 – back in the days when he was a low-level staffer in the administration of then-Gov. Dan Walker.

“HIS MESSAGE OF juntos podemos (together, we can) has stayed with me to this day,” said Quinn. Is he trying to be like Barack Obama's 2008 usurping of "Yes, We Can?" Or just different from Republican challenger Bruce Rauner -- whose minority vote strategy seems to be discouraging African-American voters from bothering to vote at all!

It’s not often that a governor is able to use a major motion picture release to try to gain himself some public attention. I don’t even recall him trying to use the Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln” to get himself support.

Then again, that film came out during a presidential election year cycle, and not a gubernatorial one..

Now I suspect that much of the audience for this particular film is going to be an ethnic-inspired crowd. I couldn’t help but notice that the one movie theater near I live that is actually showing the film is making a point of devoting two screens to it – one for showings of the film proper, and another for showings of the film dubbed into Spanish.

I KNOW SOME people are going to think it odd that a film about a Mexican-American (he was born here, and served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War) needs to be dubbed into Spanish, as though it were one of those tacky Japanese films about Godzilla or Mothra.

Will Quinn seek support here too?
But this will be one of those films that will attract a larger-than-usual Latino film-goers crowd just because it will be one of the few films that depicts a Latino as something other than a drug-dealer or maid.

So Quinn trying to reach out to voters by giving days to people of Latin American ethnic origins could be part of the political strategy.

I’m just wondering if he has a list of possible people already prepared. If he turns out to be a big-enough bat for the Chicago White Sox, will we get Jose Abreu Day sometime between Monday’s Opening Day and season’s end?


EDITOR’S NOTE: I haven’t gone to see the Cesar Chavez film yet, just as I will not be at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. I suspect if I wait a few days, I can catch the film with a smaller crowd on hand. Just as the White Sox will play 80 more home games following the opener for 2014.

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