Marita Vargas
The Latina is always right: a Puerto Rican woman
Reflects on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor
By Marita Vargas
June 4, 2009

Yo soy una Latina, a genuine Puerto Rican: a pastele eating, jibarito loving, samba dancing fool. I am a descendant of the displaced 1901 crowd, that group of Puerto Ricans who went to sleep one night as citizens of Spain and woke up the next morning as citizens of the United States. (Well, not quite. There was that little matter called the Jones Act (1917)) "Yankee go home" many of my relations said in their hearts, "Yankee go home."

Their homes and lands devastated by a hurricane, they were enticed by the United States government to accept work for a year in the sugarcane fields of Hawaii — a promise to pay return passage secured the deal. They worked hard, incredibly hard. But the return passage never materialized. What could they do — exiled from one paradise and stranded in another? Through that strange alchemy which comes from breathing the free air of America, my forebears left their disappointments behind and set their sites on other goals. Sheer Yankee ingenuity brought them to the Golden State, opportunity and prosperity. Go Yankees.

We are all Yankees. The reason for this is not hard to see. A wonderful thing happened in the British Isles when the rights of the Englishman were born — a thing that was a Latin thing before it was an English thing. Let me say that again: A thing that was a L-A-T-I-N thing before it was an English thing. Go Latinas — and I mean all those who trace their heritage back to the Roman Catholic Church.

The rights that came to be known as the right of the Englishman were spread by monks, by brave and great men such as Augustine of Canterbury. They were nurtured by Christian kings, strengthened by Christian scholars, delineated by Christian Ecclesiastical Courts — all of them heirs to the Catholic Faith that had revived civilization amid the rubble of Rome.

Right makes might. Law makes the King. The individual must render unto Caesar only what is his, and to God everything that is His. A man's home is his castle. We have the right to protections against illegal search and seizure. We have the right to face our accusers. We have the right to be tried before a jury of our peers. Our shared foundational document? The Magna Carta. Notice the language — Magna Carta. Need I say, "Go Latinas" once more?

The rights of the Englishman, for which our American Minutemen fought, are nothing less than the Catholic idea of the sanctity of the individual played out in a specific place at a specific time and spread to this world — a New World. Now that is change I can believe in. These rights are for everyone because these rights come from God. No king can take them away. He can try. But if we rely on God, he cannot succeed.

We have forgotten that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I claim no special credentials in this regard because of my Roman Catholic Faith, Latin surname, family of origin, educational background or womanhood — delightful as those things are. But I know I must claim special blame. It was and is my job to help preserve freedom.

I claim no special insight because I am dripping with empathy. In fact, I count myself lucky, in this era of political muddle-headedness, to have come through the chicanery of identity politics with first principles intact — American principles. And that is why, in my own modest way, I lay claim to political principles that are very nearly infallible. This infallibility that I speak of is more closely described as a compass, a compass bequeathed to me as an American. But it was handled by many travelers before it came into my hands.

Given the principles listed below, we can conclude that the Latina is always right — even if she becomes a Justice of the Supreme Court. But failing these, she will always be wrong — even if she is a Latina.

Religious freedom is the first freedom. All men are created equal (dare I use the term in the generic sense?) Life and liberty are ours by right. Self-government begins with self-control. Property ownership is the bulwark of freedom. Free enterprise is the basis of prosperity. Contract rights may not be violated. Governments are established to secure the rights of the governed, and serve at their consent. Government must be held in check in every way, but most importantly by limiting its access to the purse strings of the people. No man or woman of any ethnic background should be elected or confirmed to a position of power in this country if he or she does not believe in these fundamental principles.

Now talking about politics in terms of race is a dead end — the fashionable habit of castigating white males included. I love the Yankees. I cheer for any people who have discovered the principles of freedom. I am waiting to cheer for Kenya. I long to cheer for China. Most of all, I want to continue cheering for the U.S.A. And though I trace my spiritual-intellectual-political heritage back to Christendom and my progenitors can be loosely described as "white"; my ancestors borrowed their ideas from men who came long before them: Paul of Tarsus, Jesus of Nazareth, the Moses of Mt. Sinai and Abraham of the Promised Land — all Jews. Why should I care about race? I care about principles.

Those moderns, in power or powerless, who laugh at my first principles, take their cues from a host of dead white men. No one challenges them on their grotesque ethno-centrism. Marx. Darwin. Malthus. Freud. Nietzsche. Dewey. Langdell. Their followers come in every ethnic shade and stripe. What of it? A free and open debate on their merits and defects would not persuade the great majority of Americans to march in their footsteps. That is why debate is being curtailed and the new overlords are moving by force. Wake up America. God help us if they succeed.

© Marita Vargas


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Marita Vargas

Marita Vargas believes in freedom of speech and in civil discourse. Because for decades the American people have been silenced, intimidated, and poorly informed, they are in danger of losing their freedoms for the simple reason that they rarely discuss the underlying reasons for the current state of affairs. She can be reached at


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