Quote of the Day Courtesy Rep. Solomon Ortiz

December 29th, 2009 · 9 Comments

I have been told by some that many times Latinos aspire to the lowest common denominator, and when one examines statistics about our educational attainment, wealth building, teen pregnancy and incarceration rates, one might be led to believe that assertion on its face without considering other factors. However, the Latino education crisis is  certainly a serious issue that needs to be addressed within our community because it has implications for our well being and more broadly, the country’s advancement. So when I read this quote by Congressman Ortiz (D-TX) in this piece about how one in every 20 members of congress does not have a college degree, I was a bit disappointed:

“One of them, Representative Solomon Ortiz, Democrat of Texas, is quoted by the news service as saying that he sees no difference between himself, a high school dropout who joined the Army to help his mother support his family, and his more credentialed colleagues. “They put their pants on the same way I put my pants on,” the article quotes him as saying.”

Obviously, we don’t want to confuse education for intellect, and yes, we can always say that former President George W. Bush held degrees from Yale and Harvard and did not prove to be the brightest bulb in the box, but higher education is truly transformative in that provides opportunities for those of us who don’t aspire to win popularity contests and is requisite to enter many professions. Furthermore, education enables one to analyze situations within historical and philosophical contexts. I’m saddened that Solomon Ortiz, one of the leaders in our community, would make such a crass statement about academic credentials and then reach for the lowest common denominator of putting on pants. Sure, we all put on pants and have similar bodily functions, but there certainly is a difference in how lives are led, decisions are made and problems solved when one examines those who have made education a priority versus those who have not. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be formal education either, but it certainly helps in our credential driven world.

Tags: Education · GWB · Rep. Solomon Ortiz

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Dec 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    When you empower ignorant people and continually promote their social status by reelecting them to public office, this is the end result. Although I am sure higher education would have been wasted on Solomon Ortiz’s political vision and other cerebral functions, this says more about the voters in the Texas 27th Congressional District and their ability to see the forest through the trees. It would be one thing if he was an anomaly, but he’s right at home with most of the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

  • 2 IE // Dec 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Considering that my mom/sister live in Corpus Christi, I feel that I have a personal connection to the city: my sister is also a High School teacher at one of the local CC schools.

    I would call it amazing that Congressman Ortiz has been office so long, but the sad reality is that from the lack of educational prosperity CC has attained over the years it’s really no surprise. The town has a make up of about 73% Latinos and many of them struggle just to make it through HS, let alone pay attention to any political debates.

    Had Congressman Ortiz been educated like his “credentialed colleagues”, maybe CC would have been able to grow economically; however, it’s probably safe to say that his “lack of education” has truly been a major reason that CC has such a depressed economy. Trust me, every time I go to that town, I am amazed of how little effort is made to do right by the citizens on CC.

  • 3 Reyfeo // Dec 30, 2009 at 5:48 am

    He’s a by product of the region/city he was elected to represent…I don’t condone his comments but what would you say if you were in his shoes and your constituents were mostly Latino and non HS grads/mostly without some college education.

    Personally I believe we’re at the cusp of having Latinos really see what and or who we elect to represent us (to hopefully make it better of course) Education/Blogging and stupid comments like the one the Congressman put out only help the cause.

  • 4 IE // Dec 30, 2009 at 10:18 am

    REYFEO: “what would you say if you were in his shoes and your constituents were mostly Latino and non HS grads/mostly without some college education.”

    What I would say would be, hey don’t make the mistake that I did and not get your education. I was lucky, but times are different and if you really want to do right by your family, continue to get your education. It will open your mind and will bring more opportunities to you and your loved ones. That’s what I would say.

  • 5 Carlos // Dec 31, 2009 at 10:26 am

    What a lame interpretation of a single quote. All he said was he saw no difference. He said nothing about whether having more or less education was good or bad. It could be intrepreted as simply saying people of different educational levels should be treated as equals.

    Or would you argue that treating less educated people as less than equal a good way to promote education? I guess you could make an argument for that….

    And how is this statement crass, exactly?

  • 6 theKaiser // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    This statement is crass because this Congressman has the audacity to sit in the House of Representatives, do as little as possible, and then compares himself an equal to those few Congressional Representatives who create legislation, and debate the issues of the day. With all the free entitlement perks Congress grants, he could have easily financed taxpayer funded higher education courses and become a college graduate. But he was too lazy to even do that.

  • 7 El Cholo // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Hey Kaiser…maybe that Carlos guy doesn’t mind being represented by morons. That really benefits the Latino Community at large to have individuals like this representing their Congressional districts. You can go up and down the Congressional roll lists, and with the exception of Raul Grijalva and Hilda Solis, there aren’t any House members with Spanish surnames performing at even an acceptable level. It feels as if the joke is all on us. This is Antonio Villaraigosa twenty years into the future. And he has a college education.

  • 8 Jaango // Jan 2, 2010 at 7:10 am

    From my perspective, Carlos and El Chollo are both correct. Therefore, permit me to take it a “step further” in the form of a political agenda?

    Politics is all about “new” and “better” Ideas. And we all know that Ideas are those pesky critters that cannot be seemingly found in our public discourse, unless someone in the community has the fortitude to “preach” Ideas that ‘connect’ each of us to one another. And the Dream Act is one of many excellent Ideas.

    However, one idea that will eventually be shared with the more “aggressive” Moderates among our Elected Officials, is the notional for an Academic-Military Draft. This means that anyone over the age of majority, can enlist in the military for the minimum three years, and after an Honorable Discharge, will also have the two-year equivalent of an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies, in hand at the time of this military separation.

    Regardless, to date, you probably know nothing of this Idea, so scramble around the Internet and get yourself edumacated. To wit, you can rest assured that in politics, it’s all about timing, and Solomon Ortiz, will be at the forefront leading this educational charge in support of the Academic-Military Draft.


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