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Politics

Hispanics' sunny spirit is a reminder of what made America great

Esther J. Cepeda on

How can this be?

It's pretty simple, actually.

Immigrants from Latin America have, on the whole, escaped desperately poor or violent conditions cultivated by failing or corrupt governments that provide no hope for a decent future for themselves or their children.

Here, if they get the worst, smelliest, grossest, most humiliating jobs but are able to eke out a living that includes a home with bare necessities and a decent education for their children, things are looking up.

Those who are U.S.-born have seen their parents overcome unbelievable hardships, work miserable hours and toil with little respect to provide the basics of the American dream. Mindful of their parents' sacrifices, they know their lives amount to far more than the pettiness -- and even evil -- that occasionally comes their way from misguided souls who think Latinos are to blame for their own unrealized potential.

Hispanics have been a thriving part of the American tapestry since the country was founded. We've served in wars, contributed to the economy and helped shape popular culture, so we're not going to let post-election anti-immigrant rhetoric, the wall or Trump's executive orders get us down.

We're looking forward.

According to Florida Atlantic University's most recent quarterly Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index, more than three-quarters of Hispanics (78 percent) said they expect to be financially better off over the next year compared with 60 percent in the previous quarter. When asked about the economic outlook of the country in the next five years, 51 percent said they expect good times, up 8 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Sounds like old-fashioned American optimism, and that can-do spirit that is precisely what made our country great.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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