Those of you who follow U.S. politics have undoubtedly heard about the executive order President Obama issued to halt the deportation of immigrants in the country illegally who meet certain criteria. I've written about my frustration with what passes for debate over immigration reform, and I'm not planning to repeat that here. Instead, I want to address how one bit of the analysis I keep hearing about immigration and politics should be of great interest to atheists in the U.S.
During several broadcasts I have seen or heard (both television and radio), one point was made repeatedly: the Republican Party is hurting themselves over the long-term by blocking legislation that is kind to immigrants. I agree with this analysis. Their fierce opposition to immigration is consistent with their image as intolerant. But the reason it has even worse long-term implications involves the changing demographics of the U.S.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that roughly 16% of the U.S. population was Hispanic or Latino in 2010. Not surprisingly, everyone is talking about the Hispanic vote and how important these voters are to both of the two big political parties. This certainly makes sense given their numbers.
What other group makes up roughly 16% of the U.S. population and appears to be growing? Yep, people with no religious affiliation. How much attention do we get from the political pundits? Virtually none. And why do you suppose that is?
In most of the coverage of Hispanic voters I have observed, someone makes the point that they are diverse, do not vote as a block, and are not single-issue voters. All this is true of us too.
We are being ignored because we are doing something few other minority groups continue to do: we are allowing ourselves to be ignored.