What the Government Shutdown and Hispanic Heritage Month Have in Common

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

I see a suspicious trend. I think the Tea Party may have taken their idea to shut the government down from the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, birther or debt denier, but follow me on this because I think I’m on to something.

First, there’s a striking coincidence: Hispanic Heritage month and the shut down ended on the same week.

Then there’s the  coincidental end to their means: Hispanic Heritage Month forces everyone to pay attention to Latinos for a 30 day period (like those bait-and-switch satellite TV deals) then pretty much ignore them for the other 11 months of the year.

The shutdown sucked the attention of the nation for a couple of weeks, pointed the key lights on the Tea Party, then faded.

See the similarity?  They force feed the nation for a few days only to take advantage of it later. The advantage for Hispanic marketers and Tea Partiers? Money.

Hispanic Heritage Month has nothing to do with Latinos (or Hispanics, or whatever … ) The month long marketing orgy, con acento, has to do with a sales pitch aimed at big box products. So it’s about the burger place and the auto maker and the national brewer.

The Tea Party tantrum was billed as an opposition to Obamacare, but what it did in reality was excite the excitable fringe. The forty or so members of congress who owe their allegiance to that fringe lost nothing with their shutdown stunt. What’s more, they may have gained something:  fringe credibility, bragging rights, fundraising momentum. It’s the last item on that list that matters.

Big GOP donors didn’t care much for the right wing fringe to begin with, so if the big donors withdraw their support, it’s no big loss. But the people who matter to the fringe-forty, huddled in their gerrymandered districts, will now be more loyal to the cause. As will the big box industries that hired the bog box advertisers to make noise during Hispanic Heritage Month. They feel their money is well spent because they don’t know any better. And everybody’s happy, even though at first glance it looks like each produced no results, happened for no apparent reason, produced no change and made no discernible difference.

But then there is this to consider: Hispanic Heritage Month started as a week-long celebration. And it morphed into a 30 day shindig. There’s always the possibility that a one month celebration can turn into a year-round thing …

On the other hand, this shut down idea could grow from a few weeks into something more substantial.

I take it all back, they’re both bad ideas to begin with.

[Photo by Loren Javier]

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