Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans In Search of Camelot
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They then set out to build clubs, develop banners and fliers, and send out their leaders to speak to anyone who listened about Kennedy's commitment to Mexican Americans.
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To succeed, they had to accomplish two particular goals. One was to convince their followers that John F. Kennedy was a real friend, and, two, they had to develop a national agenda that spelled out their grievances and their demands. The first they accomplished by calling him a friend, a fellow Catholic and an ethnic American like themselves every chance they got.
By making him different from many other white Americans, they created a space in which Kennedy and they could comfortably coincide politically. The document sought to underscore: that Mexican Americans were not foreigners in this land but were actually "people living in their 'traditional home'"; that they were "subject people," invisible to most Americans; and that the nation had an obligation to deal with their poverty and powerlessness.
The document spelled out the problems associated with being Mexican Americans, but unlike past documents, it emphasized that not all Mexican Americans were poor or uneducated. Some were quite successful and were waiting for the nation to use their talents.
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The reformers called for the end of the Bracero Program, a program they believed was responsible for Mexican-American poverty and illiteracy, particularly in the rural areas. The program, which brought workers from Mexico to make up a supposed worker deficit in U.
The document ended with nine recommendations. The most salient of these were based on an active and unobtrusive government and a pluralistic society that would deal with poverty, segregation, political powerlessness and which would recognize the talent of the Mexican-American middle class. The recommendations were utopian in nature in that they painted an America as a place where fine-tuning was always necessary but fundamental change never a need.
While these reformers constantly and sometimes scathingly identified the lack of fairness in the larger society, they never rejected the s vision of an America of plenty, of equality and, ironically, of fair play. While the assessment of their people's ills and the proposed solutions were "Camelotish," they nonetheless created a national agenda that dealt with the long-forgotten concerns of Mexican Americans.
They tied those concerns with a national electoral campaign and made many of their people believe that it was possible to make change by becoming part of the political process. The failure of the American political system to adequately deliver on those concerns opened up the barrios to a larger civil rights effort in the s. This new generation fought for many of the same rights. That, however, was in the future.
Ebook Viva Kennedy Mexican Americans In Search Of Camelot
When JFK arrived at the Houston banquet that Thursday in November , all he could think of was how to recapture the past enthusiasm, and how he could at last deliver for those who chose him as an amigo long before he fully understood them. President John F. Presidents -- Election. Relations with Mexican Americans. Mexikanischer Einwanderer. Electronic books. United States -- Politics and government -- United States.
Contents Machine derived contents note: Iatroductio, a 1. E ncton Results: Appintnents ai i appointmelnts k. A-SO F orward, 7. Notes Includes bibliographical references p. Electronic reproduction. Viva Kennedy.
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