(Chuck Muth) – So there’s this group called “Latinos for Reform” which can’t stand Sharron Angle’s positions on immigration reform but is also fed up with Democrats like Harry Reid and Barack Obama who have paid only lip-service to the issue for the last two years.
As such, the group – exercising its free speech rights – produced a simple and factual television commercial that urges Latino voters to show their displeasure with the candidates of both parties by freely choosing not to vote in this election. But judging by the artery-popping, apoplectic reactions of some, you’d have thought they’d called for shooting the Queen.
For example, Republican gubernatorial candidate, former state attorney general and former federal judge – meaning he should know better – Brian Sandoval issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “The television ad imploring Hispanics not to vote should be taken down immediately. It is outrageous, and has no place in Nevada. No voter should have their right to vote suppressed or denied.”
Whoa, whoa, WHOA!
The ad simply urges a protest vote in the form of a non-vote. It’s advocacy for making a political statement. How in the world is that something “outrageous” which “has no place in Nevada” and ought to be “taken down immediately”?
And no one is having their vote “denied.” If people disagree with the political position of Latinos for Reform they are still free to show up at the polls and cast their ballots. Those three Hispanic-looking guys in the Sharron Angle commercial aren’t going to be standing outside with billy clubs intimidating Hispanic-looking voters who might try to enter a polling location.
This isn’t Philadelphia, after all.
And would Judge Sandoval please explain to us how privately-funded ads urging people not to vote is “outrageous” while taxpayer-funded ads urging people to vote, even people who are clueless about the issues and the candidates, are “good”?
And how is staying home and not voting really any different from voting for “None of the Above,” an option approved by Nevada’s Legislature over 30 years ago? Would Judge Sandoval call a TV commercial urging Nevadans to vote for “None of the Above” outrageous and demand that it be pulled down?
But when it comes to manufactured outrage and unbridled indignation, Sandoval can’t hold a candle to Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics and a man so deep into Harry Reid’s back pocket that he’s the first to know whenever the good senator breaks wind.
“This ad goes against Hispanics and America,” Romero bleated to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “People have died for the right to vote.”
First, the ad was produced by a Hispanic named Robert de Posada who is unhappy with how politicians from both parties have treated Hispanics, so I don’t see how it’s an ad against Hispanics.
Secondly, since this is an act of both political speech and political protest, it is quintessential America.
And lastly, not only have people died for the right to vote, but for the right NOT to vote. Voting is an option in this country, not a requirement.
Let’s face it, what really has Fernando’s knickers in a knot isn’t that Hispanics are being told not to vote, but that Hispanics not voting probably means fewer votes for Harry Reid.
But this ad trying to persuade Hispanics not to vote for Harry Reid by not voting at all is really no different from the ads Reid’s minions are running trying to persuade tea partiers not to vote for Sharron Angle by voting instead for that fake Tea Party candidate, Scott Ashjian.
The bottom line is this: The “don’t vote” ad is free speech, period. It’s an effort at persuasion, not suppression. It doesn’t silence anyone. It doesn’t threaten anyone. It doesn’t deny anyone the right to vote. It’s not anti-Hispanic. And it’s certainly not un-American. It simply urges a group of people to exercise their right to participate in an election by freely choosing not to participate in an election.
Alas, the perpetually-offended race hustlers and speech police won again. The Associated Press reported yesterday afternoon that Univision won’t run the television commercial and has pulled a companion radio spot off the air.
Congratulations, Judge Sandoval. You’ve given Hispanics a reason to believe in you again. But those of us who cherish free speech, especially political speech, we now have reason to doubt.