Opinion: Latina Rachel Campos-Duffy doesn’t speak for me

Yesterday Rachel Campos-Duffy, wife of Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, wrote an opinion piece on NBC Latino that bothered me, so I took some time to write her a note:

Dear Ms. Campos-Duffy,

My name is Diana. I am a woman. I am a Latina. I am a mom. However, I am not “conservative” at my core. (Nor are most of my Latina family and friends, but i digress…) I believe in a woman’s right to choose, in a woman’s right to decide what she is going to do with her body, about when (and if) she is going to procreate. No one should tell me what to do with my body, much less politicians in Washington. I believe in not judging other for their actions, I believe in allowing people to marry whomever they want to marry.  I am very much a Liberal Latina.

I am disheartened that you, as a mother of six, would not support access to basic needs such as healthcare and early childhood education that the Republican party wants to cut. I am a Latina working mom, and I do have doubts and fears about motherhood daily. (doubts which you have dismissed as “angst of modern American motherhood”).  I have doubts and anxiety about how to balance work, family and life. You criticize a lot of governments in Latin America, calling them dysfunctional…but isn’t it ironic that these governments have done more to protect mothers than the US has done in the realm of work/life balance and working mom rights, offering  working moms paid maternity leave? While I understand that you are a stay-at-home mom and that paid maternity leave or other working mother rights may be irrelevant to you, some women choose to (or have to) work, and they should have the right to do so, for equal pay might I add. (another thing the Republicans don’t seem to support or care about.)

I want to live in a country where I know that, if I fall on hard times, and become unemployed, I have access to unemployment insurance until I get back on my feet, and that my kid will continue to have medical coverage. I want to live in a country where I do not have to worry about what coverage my parents will afford to buy with the voucher the GOP wants to hand out. I want my parents to have access to healthcare and to retire in dignity. I want to live in a country where all children will have access to early childhood education, good elementary education, where kids graduate high school and are prepared for the future… where kids do not burden themselves with debt while attending college. Your party wants to lower federal financial aid for college students and slash early ed. programs, among other things. I want to live in a country where people who have pre-existing conditions will not be denied health coverage by insurance companies. I want to live in a country where we value individuals as people, not put corporations’ needs and profits before the health of citizens. I want to live in a country where a person who makes millions of dollars pays at least the same percentage in taxes as someone who is making less than $100,000 a year. The idea that Mitt Romney pays LESS (percent) taxes than me is simply outrageous.  

You speak about the debt, do you remember in what state the economy was when Bill Clinton left office? If you don’t remember, I can remind you, there was NO DEBT. There was a SURPLUS. The failed policies under the Bush administration left the economy in such a bad state, this is what President Obama inherited.

You are right about a couple of things. Latinos are entrepreneurial, as you mentioned. Latinos have helped lift dying cities all over the country into vibrant communities. Most importantly, Latinos are extremely hardworking. I still watch my father, nearing retirement age, work double shifts to make a little extra money. We value work, but we also want to live in a society that will give you a hand if times are tough. You speak of a Catholic culture influencing Latinos, so I am sure that you heard of the phrase “ayudar al prójimo” (translation: help thy neighbor).  

You can call us “desperate” … but I will tell you what we are desperate for. We are desperate for access to healthcare and to good schools. We are desperate to get ahead, to come out of poverty, to close the gender income gap, to break the glass ceiling,  and to provide the best damn education for our kids. We are desperate for a better country, one that doesn’t take from the middle class to give to the rich.

I am an American, and I expect greatness. We are not desperate. We are realistic. And we expect great things. My parents didn’t come to this country to be worse off than they would’ve been in their home country. Do you seriously believe that the Republican party represents Hispanics and cares about the issues that concern us?  

I am sorry Ms. Campos-Duffy, but you are wrong about me. You do not speak for me. I am a Latina Mom, but I am not conservative at my core. I value a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. I value life but I am not about to tell you or anyone else how to live it… the reason I respect others’ choices is because I want others to respect mine… do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you are a deeply religious woman, I am sure you have heard that phrase before. And all other Republicans should know it too, being so Christian and all. 

I will be voting for Barack Obama because I believe he understands what a Latina woman and mother truly needs.



*woman, Democrat, Liberal, Latina, American

Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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