OPINION

Opinion: Why is the GOP outraged by Trump comments on McCain, but not on Mexicans?

FILE - In this July 11, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a "war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." McCain spent 20 years in the Navy, a quarter of it in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp after his jet was shot down over Hanoi during a bombing mission Oct. 26, 1967.  (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

FILE - In this July 11, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a "war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." McCain spent 20 years in the Navy, a quarter of it in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp after his jet was shot down over Hanoi during a bombing mission Oct. 26, 1967. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Over the last two weeks, we have seen a frightening rise in Donald Trump’s poll numbers, which is bad news for Americans and America as a whole. The fact that a candidate like Trump — who has made hate and racial division a centerpiece of his campaign — could rise to the top of the Republican polls is either a sign that the GOP is on the verge of imploding, or that America is on the verge of fascism.

Donald Trump stands for an ugly, intolerant America rooted in the racial hatred we have worked so hard as a nation to overcome, however clumsily

- Arturo Carmona

Moreover, the fact that Republicans stayed silent when others were under attack, namely Mexicans, Latinos, and immigrants, but spoke up only when one of their own (John McCain) was in the crossfire, is deeply troubling. The denigration of a war hero was wrong, but there is a plethora of hateful and tacit endorsement that has gotten us to this point, and giving a man like Donald Trump the national spotlight is no way to alleviate it.

The time has come for GOP leaders and their Presidential candidates to take direct action and discredit Donald Trump along with his vile and virulent hate speech as part of the presidential campaign. Donald Trump stands for an ugly, intolerant America rooted in the racial hatred we have worked so hard as a nation to overcome, however clumsily

We are at a turning point in America. Latinos are the majority now of California’s population. Major cities across America are quickly becoming majority minority, with generations of immigrants living, learning, and working side by side. Latinos in America now have a collective buying power of more than a trillion dollars.

That turning point has scared much of the GOP, and Trump’s campaign is rooted in that fear.

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In a worshipful revival of 1950’s era dog-whistle politics, Trump is whipping up hatred from sea to shining sea. Republicans might see victory in the midst of that fear, but they shouldn’t. Embracing the worst America has to offer will harm us all.

Communities of color are victims of state-sponsored discrimination, police profiling, harassment, and brutality. We use drugs at far lower rates than white Americans, but are arrested, jailed, and imprisoned more frequently and longer for them. Local and state governments allow the pollution of our neighborhoods more often than our white neighbors. Latinas in America make an embarrassing .56 cents on the dollar to that white men make, robbing them of key opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our young people are literally dying in the streets at the hands of the police and fearful of the stereotypes perpetuated by men like Trump.

The reality is that hatred makes a monster of us all.

The forceful response from the GOP in reaction to Trump’s tone-deaf and repulsive mocking of John McCain’s war record shows that many of those in the GOP have a moral threshold, they just fail to exceed it when one of their own isn’t involved. Who won’t they speak up for next?

If morality cannot drive the GOP, perhaps self-interest will. There is a lot on the line.

Latinos are now 10 percent of the electorate, and our numbers are growing fastest in swing states like Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado. Our votes matter, even if Trump doesn’t think our lives do.

We are not so different at a glance. The GOP also says it stands for liberty, freedom and the ability to pull oneself up by your bootstraps, which happens to be the story of countless Latino and immigrant families throughout the nation.

The time has come for the GOP to take a side. Every leader within the party should push to bar Donald Trump from the presidential debates. Reince Priebus, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and every candidate for President in 2016 must choose between the GOP’s past or future.

Latino voters will remember their silence.

In his maniacal quest for power, Trump has uncovered the worst of America’s history with hate, racially divisive language, and incitement towards discrimination. And the GOP has allowed that painful history to be dragged out, propped up, and given life support.

These relentless, unapologetic attacks on Mexicans, Latinos, and immigrants incite continued discrimination against our families and communities. They are also detrimental to the GOP as they seek to win over Latino voters. This hate will continue—and likely escalate—unless the Republican party takes action.

The time has come, GOP. Are you with us or against us?

Arturo Carmona is Executive Director of Presente.org.

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