Don’t dismiss GOP diversity

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The parade of accomplished minority and women speakers at the Republican National Convention truly stood out, particularly because of the  alleged Republican “war on women” theme and relentless accusations of Republican racism.

But sure enough, there was no shortage of critics showing dismissive regard toward GOP speakers that included New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah congressional candidate Mia Love, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sher Valenzuela, the lieutenant governor candidate in Deleware, Puerto Rico First Lady Luce Vela Fortuno, and former Democratic congressman Artur Davis, who is now a Republican.

Proof is in what people do, and it was Republicans who put these people in office and at the convention podium. People should believe what they see, yet they continue to hear things like this from Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “I think we believe that women can see through that nice shiny packaging that the Republicans have been putting out there, through to what’s inside, which is really a disaster for women’s future, extreme policies.”

OK. Republican policies are fair game. But diminishing the women who were featured at the convention as “shiny packaging”? With language like that, just who is waging the “war on women”?

Or how about this remark from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: “You can’t just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate.”

No, you can’t expect that, but these speakers were indeed elected and advanced in the GOP.

The prize for insulting, obnoxious temerity goes to Los Angeles Times columnist David Horsey, who essentially accused Republicans of resorting to tokenism — and worse — at the convention.

“It would be easy to dismiss this as tokenism and window dressing — which, of course, it is — but there is something bigger behind it,” he writes. “Republicans truly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that the best thing a poor Latino or an unemployed African American can do to better his or her condition is to vote for a party that intends to let rich people keep more of their money. Showing off all those non-Caucasian officeholders is a way of saying to skeptical minority voters, “These guys have chosen the Republican path and just look where it has gotten them!”

Tokenism, it seems, suggests unworthy people who were plucked off the street and put at the podium as props. But that simply wasn’t the case. Many of the minority and women speakers named above are accomplished leaders, and in some cases, rock stars in the Republican Party. They deserve to be featured, rather than dismissed as being somehow illegitimate or unworthy.

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