News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two Latinas become first ever sisters to serve in congress

By Linda and Loretta Sanchez with Richard Buskin
Grand Central Publishing – September 2008

A book review by Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Linda and Loretta Sanchéz are the only sisters to ever serve in the United States Congress. Their new book, DREAM IN COLOR, does much more than define the Sanchéz sisters as politicians, however. In an engaging and candid narrative, we discover the sharply distinct identities of two women who share a rich legacy of values.

The Sanchéz sisters were raised in the same working-class household, but their personalities and professional styles could not be more different. Loretta is fastidious and an early riser. Linda is laid-back and does her best work in the wee hours of the night. Yet both were given a rich inheritance in a home headed by Mexican immigrant parents. From their mother Maria, the sisters received the gift of compassion, a love of learning, and a passion for community service. From their father Ignacio they gained a tireless work ethic and a respect for the dignity of honest labor. Even as their family immersed itself into the U.S. mainstream, Maria and Ignacio encouraged their children to retain the Spanish tongue and Latino customs. These assets would serve Linda and Loretta well as each later found her way into the world of politics.

More than an inspirational story, DREAM IN COLOR, gives us an insider’s glimpse into the bare knuckles arena of congressional politics. Despite the undertow of Washington’s political gamesmanship, the Sanchéz sisters emerge with their ideals intact, thanks to an upbringing that was modest in affluence but rich in social values. The Sanchéz sisters’ book reveals the challenges all legislators face in Washington’s swirl of competing agendas; a place where yesterday’s opponent becomes today’s ally. The sisters pull no punches either, bluntly disclosing the details behind their public feuds with other elected officials.

The rise to success of the Sanchéz sisters is a testament to the values shared by many Latino immigrants: a devotion to family, a tenacious work ethic, deep faith, and a strong sense of community. Engaging, revealing, and inspiring, DREAM IN COLOR is a portrait of two new faces in Washington who portend much about the future face of the United States.

The LPGA takes a mulligan on English its proficiency penalty

Shortly after announcing a new policy that would have fined foreign players who were not proficient in English, the LPGA withdrew the proposed rule. The reversal came following a widespread public outcry with many calling the new policy racist and xenophobic.

"I hope they consult civil rights groups, community organizations and leaders, so they don't come up with the same stupid decisions they came up with the first time," California state assemblyman Ted Lieu told the Los Angeles Daily Breeze.

Few would argue that proficiency in English is a worthwhile goal for foreign golfers playing in the United States. But the LPGA’s punitive approach created a well-deserved firestorm of protest. After hitting one this far out of bounds, let’s hope the LPGA will take a better shot at helping its players adapt to the demands of playing in a U.S. league.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Political spin personified

Want to see the art of political spin in action? Watch this.

It's an oversimplification, I know. But I've seen a distinct pattern in the ways each party campaigns.

The Democrats resort to double talk, trying to sound reasonable by giving vague answers to difficult questions.

The Republicans use lies, distortions, and unfounded accusations then call it "straight talk."

Most people who voted for George W. Bush later regretted electing someone who seemed like "a great guy to have a beer with" but turned out to be a disastrous president. Now Sarah Palin comes along and the same people are going to vote Republican once again because Palin seems like "the hockey mom" next door.

We get the government we deserve.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez