Tuesday, April 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Here’s the right way to reward Latinos

navarrette column sig

By
From page A9 | December 16, 2012 |

SAN DIEGO — Right about now, President Barack Obama should be busy shopping for the perfect Christmas gift to thank Latino voters for helping re-elect him.

I have a suggestion.

Of course, Obama didn’t deserve to win 71 percent of the Latino vote, not with his aggressive record of deporting immigrants and his less-aggressive record of tackling high unemployment and lagging educational achievement in the Latino community. And yet, with a helpful assist from a feckless opponent whose Latino outreach efforts were a few tacos short of a combination plate, Obama scored big with those voters.

The president will probably not pay it back with Cabinet nominations. There are only four posts that matter – attorney general, State, Defense and Treasury. Only one Latino has ever held one of those jobs. Alberto Gonzales served as attorney general from 2005 to 2007, and he was nominated by a Republican – George W. Bush.

If Obama does put Latinos on his Cabinet, he is most likely to place them where they usually go – second-tier departments such as labor, housing, energy or interior. For their loyalty, Latinos will get leftovers.

As for my suggestion, there is one thing that Obama could do to honor Latinos. It’s a symbolic gesture but one that would have special significance for a population well-versed in the concepts of service and sacrifice.

Obama could award the Medal of Honor posthumously to San Diego Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a 25-year-old Mexican immigrant serviceman who was killed in Iraq in 2004 and whose family has been jerked around by the Pentagon ever since.

Peralta was a former illegal immigrant who joined the Marines on the very day that he received his green card. He eventually became a U.S. citizen. And he also became what his comrades respectfully called “a Marine’s Marine,” building a reputation as a leader who always put his men first.

According to a half-dozen Marines who were there and saw the events unfold, that’s exactly what Peralta did Nov. 15, 2004. While exchanging fire with the enemy in Fallujah, Peralta was shot in the head. And yet, the Marines say, when a grenade landed near him, he was able to grab it and tuck it into his chest. He gave his life to save the lives of other Marines.

If that’s not heroism, then the word has no meaning.

Yet the Defense Department has refused to nominate Peralta for the Medal of Honor. It gave him the Navy Cross, and even that came only after a public outcry. His family turned it down.

All this because a panel of military doctors who were nowhere near Fallujah that day looked at the forensic evidence and concluded that – never mind what his comrades on the ground claim they saw – the bullet that hit Peralta probably killed him and so he must have fallen on the grenade.

The doctors are wrong. Who says? The Marine Corps, U.S. Central Command, and Peralta’s buddies in Alpha Company, that’s who. All of them have joined the family to ensure that a hero gets the recognition he has earned.

The Pentagon’s decision was appealed, and the bureaucracy doubled down this week on its mistake. According to the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., himself an Iraq combat veteran who has championed Peralta’s cause, a military lawyer informed them that the Department of Defense still doubts that the Marine deserves the Medal of Honor.

For Latinos, this recognition is not something to be toyed with. To many of them, the Medal of Honor is nothing less than sacred. This is, after all, an ethnic group that holds the distinction of having the highest ratio of Medal of Honor recipients relative to their percentage of the population. To date, Latinos have received at least 43 medals.

And given the bravery of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, they feel cheated out of No. 44.

Obama can correct this injustice and, at the same time, honor a fallen hero. It’s the right thing to do, and this is a good time to do it.

Mr. President, make it happen.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Explore habitat of bats at special Solano-Yolo event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Train hits car, kills 1

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: , 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Dollar Tree settles illegal dumping case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Man walks to bring awareness to need for divorce reform

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
‘The Mask You Live In’ set for Vacaville premiere

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Woman reported missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: | Gallery

Caltrans reminds motorists of Highway 12 bridge work

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Thor, Iron Man, Captain America return to movie screens

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Chambers plans Cinco de Mayo celebration

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

 
Rio Vista to celebrate endive once again

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A7

Full slate of events on tap in downtown Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

 
Loretta Lynch sworn in as new US attorney general

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

GOP defense budget challenges Obama on Ukraine, Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Senate expands community colleges’ reach on sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tuna company, 2 employees charged in death of worker in oven

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woman convicted of murder after young daughter disappeared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ex-Guantanamo detainees in Uruguay protest at US Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cash handoffs, extortion fuel Mediterranean trafficking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
High court rejects appeal from protester at military base

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Study blames global warming for 75 percent of very hot days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nepal quake death toll tops 4,000; villages plead for aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments | Gallery

Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
California teen confesses to fatally stabbing 9-year-old boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

New Ellis Island center to complete US immigration story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US, Japan boost defense ties with eyes on China, NKorea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coast Guard suspends search for 4 missing off Alabama coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tiny California tribe turns to adoption to boost revenue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Yemen’s exiled government declares 3 disaster zones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutor: 2 exams found James Holmes to be sane

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Judge won’t delay order on inmate sex reassignment surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Time for multiple-county tourism, arts, downtown project

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What’s Marco Rubio’s secret?

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Jayne Meadows, actress and TV personality, dies at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Winehouse family criticizes ‘misleading’ movie about singer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Singer Jamie Barton wins the ‘Heisman Trophy’ of music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Rushdie chastises authors protesting Hebdo tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
It’s nail-biting time on Broadway ahead of Tony nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

‘Black-ish’ creator set to write ‘Good Times’ movie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Don Mankiewicz, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, dies at 93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Salma Hayek hopes ‘The Prophet’ inspires new generations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

 
Dodgers pitcher McCarthy out for season with elbow injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks near agreement to extend lease in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders head into draft in need of receiver, pass rusher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pacquiao, Roach scheme on plan for Mayweather’s defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A new format, more golf for all at Match Play

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Orioles’ game in Baltimore postponed due to safety concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to stay sharp while waiting for 2nd round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kerr wins Rudy Tomjanovich Award from Pro Basketball Writers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cards ace Adam Wainwright out for season with torn Achilles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Owner Ahmed Zayat takes aim at Kentucky Derby with 3 horses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Equestrian aims for more nations competing at Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cavaliers move on without Love, out with dislocated shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Redskins to pick up 5th-year option on Robert Griffin III

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rare Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Arrest warrant sought for UFC champ in hit-and-run crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hamilton given back to Texas after troubled Angels stint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
89-year-old former Kansas player scores in alumni scrimmage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Arena talks underway in Seattle suburb with eye on hockey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vegas sets up ‘concentric’ security for upcoming megafight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Packers will retire Favre’s jersey on Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies G Mike Conley has facial surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Peterson absent but still wanted back by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

Ex-executive gets prison for $27M insider trading scheme

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
High court to consider lawsuits over personal data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Discover discovers Apple Pay for its US cardholders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
With economy uncertain, no Fed rate hike is seen before fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Change to Greek bailout negotiating team fuels market hopes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Burger King heats it up with spicy Whopper and sales surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Forget the watch: Apple’s iPhones are still the main event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Truckers at huge seaport complex strike; impact minimal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN suing Verizon over unbundling of its sports channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4