The media loves a victim, and when Newt Gingrich spoke at Georgetown University to discuss social security reform, the media got their victim. During the question and answer period, Hector Cendejas (Georgetown University Class of 2010) got up and criticized Speaker Gingrich about his proposed policy to hire students as janitors in schools.
“Back in my high school, I was a janitor, in my high school, which was a private school, and for me it was embarrassing to be a janitor in my own high school…why not invest on these kids to work for law firms, and hospitals, and get paid to learn better skills… So for me, like, your comments were offensive”.
You would think that as a graduate of Georgetown University, he would have been able to articulate a more substantive question. I personally would have loved to know why he thought it was offensive. After some research, I found through Facebook that Hector had planned in advance to ask this question, and he shared it with people planning to attend the event “Protest Newt Gingrich” organized through Facebook.
“Hopefully, I will give him my testimony (in a civil manner) about working as a janitor so I can pay off my high school tuition and how ashamed it made me feel, instead of empowering me.
Maybe we should give him a plunger and a mop.”
Sounds pretty “civil” to me! I don’t know what is worse about Hector’s comments on Facebook- his incompetent use of grammar, or his perception of “civil”. Speaker Gingrich responded remarkably to Hector’s ineptly phrased question (that he had plenty of time to plan out).
Speaker Gingrich’s policy sheds light on a fundamental difference between the conservative and liberal approach to eradicating poverty. “Americans want paychecks, not food stamps”, as Gingrich mentioned in one of the Republican Presidential Debates. The Obama administration wants the American people to think that the Republicans hate the poor because their policies don’t support absurdly long periods of unemployment coverage and government assistance. The difference between conservatives and liberals on this issue is that conservatives are focused on getting people out of poverty, while the liberals are only interested in establishing government dependence. More people have been put on food stamps under the Obama Administration than any President in the United States. That should tell us something about the efficacy of this Administration, as well as the policies of the Democrats.
Hector’s comments were offensive to me, as well as many others in the Georgetown University community. While Hector may not have the intellectual ability to elaborate on why he was offended, I will explain to you my personal reasoning. Hector’s perception of how to achieve success is warped beyond belief. No one ever said that hard work would be a pleasant experience, but in the United States, the ideal goal is that this hard work -which was so excruciating for Hector -will eventually translate into a better life. Hector paid for his own private education with this money: that sounds pretty “empowering” to me. I am inclined to argue for Hector that his hard work is what got him into one of the best Universities in the United States, but his warped liberal mentality deprives him of the ability to recognize it. So many people before our time have worked much harder, labor-intensive, and “embarrassing” jobs than a janitor and didn’t complain about it because they were working for a better life. That is what coming to the United States is all about. That is the American dream!
Hector is sadly mistaken that anyone is entitled to a high skilled job without working for it. People like Hector might accuse Speaker Gingrich and Conservatives like myself of being racist or insensitive because of these policies, but that is considerably off base, and offensive. Speaker Gingrich’s parents were two teenagers. He worked his way to becoming Speaker of the House, and now Presidential Candidate. Speaker Gingrich is not a hypocrite or a racist for suggesting that students work as janitors, he is a compassionate realist. What about the men and women who work as janitors now? Does Hector think that he is above them in some way? These janitors are hard working people who strive to earn a decent living, and Hector thinks that he is above their work, for whatever reason. I am ashamed of the way Hector represented the Georgetown University community, and I think he should apologize for his ignorant statements.