Editor’s Note: Part II of a series on Jeff Blanco’s journey into a Republican frame of mind. For Part I, click here.
So how does a guy like me, surrounded by Democrats in a Chicano neighborhood become a Republican?
Well, that willingness to fight gave me the ability to use my brain. One day I was over a friend’s house sitting at the table with another Chicano, the discussion came up about opportunities and how we won’t make it. That day, I was told that I don’t have a chance because I was poor and because of the color of my skin. That white people will hold me back.
I stopped and thought, how can this be true? We want white people to not judge us on the color of our skin, but we judge them all on the color of their skin?
So in response, I acknowledged that some white people won’t give me the opportunity, but there must be white people who will, and that what I ought to do is prove the white people who give me an opportunity right for doing so.
That didn’t sit well with one of them and he said “That’s just your Roman Republican brainwashing.” At first I was insulted, he called me a Republican, but what happened next changed my future. At that moment, the other Chicano stood up and said to me, “You’re a Republican? How would you like it if you died because you got kicked in the head by a Jackass?”
My first thought was that this guy was “Brave. Stupid, but brave.” That didn’t sit right with me, how dare somebody threaten me to change my thinking. I’m a free man, you don’t get to tell me how to think. So the next day, I went down and registered as a Republican out of spite.
Some epiphanic story right? That’s how I became the first Republican I ever knew.
That story finds a theme throughout the rest of the article because the biggest problem in poor minority neighborhoods isn’t white people, Republicans, Systemic racism, or the rich. The biggest problem are the people who constantly do things and say things to make sure that minorities don’t succeed, making sure they live in constant fear, to surrender, to accept their future as un-fulfilling and eternal poverty.
I was fortunate in that I had the courage to reject it and set out on my own path. Unfortunately many others buy into that programming and surrender their future before they even begin.
That day may have made me a Republican, or at least a Republican In Name Only, but it allowed me to open up to what the Republicans actually stood on, and many of the issues I agreed on.
Gun Control? Criminals don’t care about gun laws.
Illegal immigration? I have my own thoughts that differ from other Republicans, but definitely isn’t as irrational as the Democrat alternative.
Still the Republicans represented all the bad things and Democrats were all the good things, whatever you believed good and bad were.
It took a while, but the more I met actual Republicans the more I recognized that they weren’t all bad people. The more I met Democrats, the more I realized who many of them actually are.
The real epiphany came a little later. I had the thought come to me “Do I love freedom?” Weird question, but of course I love Freedom, why wouldn’t I? So, I answered yes.
Then the next question came “Shouldn’t I know what Freedom is?” I had no answer to what freedom was.
I mean, I felt free, I thought I was free, but I didn’t know what Freedom was.
That got me opening up books, reading about the Declaration of Independence. What were were fighting for, what were we fighting against, what were we trying to achieve. I began to research history and the more I learned the more I discovered that I didn’t know. There’s at least 4,000 years of recorded human history and billions of people, each with their own unique story. Whatever you think you know of history, I assure you, you don’t know enough.
One day, I decided I wanted to go somewhere outside the country. Whether Paris, London, or Madrid, well, that was a white person’s problem, meaning, I couldn’t afford that.
I did have family in Nicaragua and decided to go there.
Going back to the Blanco ancestral home was an experience on its own, and as anybody who’s been to a third world country, whether military or missionary can attest, you come back with a newfound respect for the United States. But I took it one step further. I lived like they did. I was completely immersed with no U.S. citizens to talk to. I came back with the ability to speak Spanish, to know what it’s like to live without hot water and with random blackouts. I saw poverty, real poverty, not the U.S. image of poverty. I saw with my own eyes just how bad things can be and learned that things could be much worse.
Yet, everywhere I went, people were proud of their country.
Since then I’ve taken a real interest in people from other countries. Whenever I meet immigrants, I take a genuine interest in them and their homeland. The stories are different, but they have one commonality, they still love their country but wouldn’t trade their U.S. citizenship to be back home.
The people who do the most bashing of the United States are people who were born here and never left the country to see what else is out there.
The only place it’s cool to hate the country you are from is here, in the United States. The rest of the world doesn’t respect U.S. Citizens who hate the United States, they think they are stupid and untrustworthy.
I have a saying- “Latinos hate socialism because they’ve already lived through it, white liberals love socialism because they never have.” It’s amazing watching a Venezuelan talk about what life was like for him under socialism while a white liberal roll their eyes as if they know more about it than he does.
In order to support socialism, one needs to not think of all the things they would have to trade in to receive a bowl of rice.
One needs the uncanny ability to ignore the people who have already experienced it. To be so selfish in their expectations without ever asking how that government they expect to provide everything to everyone won’t ultimately turn tyrannical.
There’s plenty of immigrants where ever you live, take the time to talk to them. We have two ears and one mouth, and there’s a reason for that.