I’ve mentioned before that Hector Uribe, the Democratic candidate for Land Commissioner, may be my favorite candidate for this election cycle. I said that because he showed early on that he had a sense of humor and wasn’t afraid to use it. Uribe has a lot more than that going for him, as he demonstrated in an email he sent out today. I’m reprinting it here, because it deserves as much of an audience as it can get.
An Open Letter
On May 5, we emailed supporters and those interested in the campaign for Land Commissioner a light-hearted “happy Cinco de Mayo” message. My email celebrated the sentiment behind the day, which in my view is a very Texan “against all odds, we can do it!” attitude.
In the email, referring to both Linda Chavez-Thompson (the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor) and me, I wrote the following phrase:
“Linda and I are both running so that we can represent all Texans.”
We received hundreds of responses. Nearly all were positive. A few were not. One reply from a Mr. Thomas Lake, asked, “So, who exactly are you representing, and are they legal?”
The Texans I said I want to represent? They’re Texas Texans. Texans are Americans. Americans are, in the context you mean, legal citizens of the United States of America. Even citizens like you, Mr. Lake, are legal – at least unless hate is outlaw.
Lately, it has been hard to miss the fact that people who share Mr. Lakes’s obvious views seldom pass up the opportunity to display their obsession with race and culture, couched in terms of citizenship status. Frankly, Mr. Lake, I’m sick of it. So are a lot of other Texans who agree with me that it’s high time we focused on tackling the very real challenges Texas families are facing.
The immigration reform debate in Washington is long-overdue and welcome, and I very much hope that the Congress reaches a fair conclusion that takes all the complex social and economic factors into account and moves the country forward fairly. And most Texans understand that the debate has little to do with the business of the Land Commissioner.
I want to be the Texas Land Commissioner to help lead the way to a 21st Century energy era which promotes renewable energy – wind and solar, so that Texas can continue to lead the world in energy development and production, while also doing our part to ensure that we have clean water to drink, and clean air to breathe. For all Texans.
I want to be the Texas Land Commissioner to ensure that our hundreds of miles of coastline stays clean, and that our beaches remain a tourism-based economic engine which helps keep communities strong, and helps keep taxes low. So every Texan can reap the rewards of our natural landscape.
I want to be the Texas Land Commissioner to make absolutely sure that we repay the gift Texas’ military veterans gave us with their service, by maximizing low interest loans so that they can achieve their dreams, just as they helped protect our American dream with their service.
And I want to be Texas’ Land Commissioner to ensure that we protect pristine public lands such as the Christmas Mountains, so that future generations of Texans won’t be disappointed that we squandered what we were entrusted to protect.
Mr. Lake, I will not apologize for my heritage, my ethnicity, or my culture. I am a proud Texan, following in my family’s footsteps since the 1800′s. But if my ethnicity bothers you, sir, I encourage you to not vote for me – because I’m proud of it.
I will not apologize for wishing folks a happy Cinco de Mayo, which incidentally, Mr. Lake, is in large part a uniquely Texas celebration, much more so than in Mexico.
Mr. Lake, I will not accept the sad attitude you demonstrate, in which you insult me and countless other proud Texans like me, in your zeal to promote an agenda with shameful, barely-masked roots, designed to divide Texans into “us” and “them,” instead of bring Texans together in the spirit of ensuring that our state remains the best place on earth to live and work.
Mr. Lake, when I said I want to represent all Texans, I even meant you, and if elected I will do so fairly and proudly. But while I would be pleased to represent you, I don’t particularly want your support, or that of those who share your views. While I’m not sure he wants your support any more than I do, I invite you to contact my opponent to see if you fare any better with him than you have with me.
I hope that answers your question with crystal clarity, Mr. Lake.
And as we continue this campaign, I will continue to run for one purpose– to represent all Texans.
There’s almost no one left in my family from my grandparents’ generation, and with their passing I’ve essentially lost touch with my ethnic heritage. I’ve got my memories, and I should do a better job of passing them on to my children, but they’re all I’ve got. Despite that, deep down I’m still an Irish/Italian kid from New York, and if there’s one thing I know about my heritage it’s that if this were 1910 instead of 2010, it’d be my family that the Thomas Lakes of the world would be looking down on. If it’s all the same to him, I’ll stand with Hector on this.