Thursday, January 31, 2008

Xenophobia Watch: Ginny Brown-Waite

If you ever wondered if your elected representatives are stupid - the answer is yes. Ginny Brown-Waite is under the impression that Puerto Rico is not United States territory.

“Second, the bill sends hundreds of millions of dollars to people who do not pay federal income taxes, including residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam. I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes. Americans want an economic stimulus for Dunnellon, Brooksville and Clermont, not for San Juan or Hagatna. As the legislation moves forward, it must be changed to ensure that only federal taxpaying American citizens receive rebate checks.

I don't know if Brown-Waite doesn't comprehend geography or is playing to the xenophobic base of the Republican Party. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. The fact that Brown-Waite would issue a press release suggesting otherwise, does not speak well of her leadership skills.

Luis De Rosa of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce of the United States was angered my Brown-Waite's statement. He sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist's office.

Congresswoman Brown-Waite’s misinformed statement about the citizenship status of Puerto Ricans – referring to us as “foreign citizens” – underscores the lack of knowledge and interest in this vital and growing segment of our state’s population by our elected representatives and officials. As you are doubtless aware, the growing population of Puerto Ricans in Florida is estimated as 600,000 in the central part of our state, plus 300,000 in other parts of the state. As past elections and voter registration records show, this community has substantial registration in both national political parties.

In 2003, anti-French sentiment ran strong because of France's opposition to invading Iraq. Brown-Waite sponsored the American Heroes Repatriation Act. The bill called for the removal of deceased American WWII soldiers buried in France and Belgium. The bill went nowhere and Brown-Waite was tagged with the nick name the Undertaker. Brown-Waite's reasoning was to hurt France's tourism industry.

"Millions of dollars a year are collected by the French government and businesses from patriotic Americans visiting their loved ones who gave everything in defense of the French during WWII. It is not right that American citizens are compelled out of respect for the fallen to support the economy of a country who has turned it's back on us and on their memory."

Brown-Waite uses the power of her Congressional seat to punish ethnic groups whom she deems as not American enough. She told a crowd that the United States giving money to the Palestinians makes her want to "throw up." She attacked a WMNF news reporter during the same townhall meeting. The verbal assaults on Palestinians and the media was Brown-Waite's attempt to avoid answering questions about President Bush's Social Security privatization plan.

It is unrealistic to expect an unserious Congresswoman to answer serious questions. Brown-Waite latches on to attacking ethnic groups with the same passion an alcoholic holds on to a quart bottle. It's her crutch. Voters would realize there is no wizard behind the curtain, if Brown-Waite was forced to discuss the economy or health care.

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