Saturday, May 25, 2024

Guest Blogger: Elianne Ramos “What Congress Really Needs: A Big Fat Whack With A Chancla”


As far as onomatopoeic interjections go, that is the scariest one –at least for those of us who grew up in a Latino household. The word, which loosely translates as “Whack” or “Kapow” (for you, non-Latino speakers), has been triggering compliance with pre-established Latino household rules for centuries. Rudimentary yet highly sophisticated as a punishment system, you could say this sound, and the instrument that produces it –the chancla – are the secret force behind generations of well-behaved Latino children.

The chancla is so powerful that even a glimpse of its silhouette, a mention of its impending usage or the always well-timed “look” by a Latina mom suffices. As we grow up, the memory of past chanclazos continue to serve for many of us as the “voice of reason” we all hear as we make the big decisions in our lives, the motivation that turns our oft-maladjusted minds back into the straight and narrow.

I bet many of us have had occasional daydreams of whacking some of our malcriados politicians over the head to make them stop and pay attention to the demands of our community. Which is why I am about to propose something I believe is sorely needed in today’s dysfunctional political environment: It’s time for us Latinos to wield the power of the chancla for immigration reform.

Yes, it’s time to bring out our Chanclas for Change! And our Chancla, my friends, is called the Latino Vote. Our collective voting “Chancla” has got to come out swinging for Immigration Reform. Just like our skillful Moms taught us, if politicians don’t do what is needed to develop an immigration plan that is just, compliant with civil and human rights and takes our concerns for dignity into consideration, they will be bluntly rejected at the voting booth by the Latino community. In other words, they will get to hear the loud, screeching, painful “Fuacata” of our collective chancletazos at the voting booth. End of story.

I’m pretty serious too: Think about it. Here we have a group of irrational, uncooperative characters –who are, mind you, supposed to serve their constituents – toying with the lives of millions of human beings like it’s a game of political chess. No regard for families being broken apart. No regard for those brought here as children who know no other country but this one. No regard for the outcry from millions and millions of American citizens who believe this is one of the biggest human rights crises in this country today. All we get is complaining, finger pointing… inane excuses.

I’m looking at you, Congress. Have you not learned the lessons of the 2012 elections? Have you not understood the statistical reports showing the unstoppable growth of the Latino community, our budding political power, the collective shade we throw your way each time we see and hear of your attempts at blocking immigration reform? Have you not learned to recognize the swishing sound of the impending chancla coming your way?

As any Latina mom could tell you, the chancla is coming. And, when it comes, they won’t know what hit them. In the last couple of decades, the Latino community has grown to make up 10 percent of the national electorate, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, up from 9 percent in 2008. But 10 percent is not nearly enough. We need to make sure we show up and VOTE.

At next year’s midterm elections, we have an unbelievable opportunity to hit the Congress with our metaphorical chanclas. Next year, WE THE PEOPLE decide who controls what. WE decide whether the hyper-partisan fog engulfing Congress for the past five years dissipates or becomes denser. And depending on who saves or dooms immigration reform, WE decide who gets the chancla.

So enough with the Congress pataletas: We have the chancla in our hands, it’s now time we use it. This nascent “Chanclas4Change” movement aims to go beyond mainstream, grassroots and current technology-based advocacy to turn our collective pain into collective action for immigration reform. But this movement will only be able to thrive with the power of coalition. Which means, we’ll need YOU.

You will be hearing lots more about the Chanclas4Change in the coming days. In the meantime, gear up, Latinos: Get ready to remind Congress who wears the chanclas around here. As for you, Congress, you have been warned: Don’t make us take off our chanclas… or face the Fuacata!

Elianne Ramos – Chief Chancla Officer
Principal and CEO, Speak Hispanic LLC
Vice-Chair of Marketing and PR, LATISM
International Advisory Board Member, World Brand Congress
Social/Cultural Advisor, Faces of Diversity
Twitter: @ergeekgoddess
Nominated: 2013 Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise
Winner: 2013 SmartCEO Brava Award
Winner: 2012 Game Changers Award, Politic365
Winner: 2012 Best Microblogger Award, LATISM