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Castro exits the race -- and enters the history books

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

Why? Because they didn't have the foggiest idea where to put him, or what to do with him, or where he fit in the national tapestry. As Mexican Americans, Castro and I come from a tribe that makes up the majority of Latinos but which remains concentrated in the Southwest -- far away from the media capitals of New York and Washington.

Among the confused were baby boomers, many of whom believe they are the most enlightened people in the world. Too bad their worldview is outdated. They think that because they were part of the March on Washington or rode with the Freedom Riders, they're experts on race and diversity. But they're trapped in a black-and-white paradigm. Talk to them about Latinos, who now outnumber African Americans in the United States, and their heads explode. They just don't have the bandwidth to go through that seminar again.

My favorite politician of all time, Robert F. Kennedy, had it right. On June 6, 1966 -- almost exactly two years before he was assassinated -- he delivered the speech of his life, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. In it, Kennedy quoted Niccolò Machiavelli, the famous Italian philosopher, who wrote in his seminal book, "The Prince": "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

It's easy to do what I do, sit in the stands and throw darts. My friend climbed into the arena. He led the way in introducing a new order of things, which is always difficult and perilous and uncertain. Yet, he held on to his dignity.

Bravo, Julian -- and gracias. You made history. You made our people proud. And, no matter what anyone says, you made a difference.

 

CORRECTION: A previous column stated that the last time U.S. troops marched into Mexico was during the U.S.-Mexican War of the mid-1800s. Yet in the early 1900s, Gen. John Pershing led American troops into Mexico in pursuit of revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa.

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Ruben Navarrette's email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com. His daily podcast, "Navarrette Nation," is available through every podcast app.

(c) 2020, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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