It’s tough to find parking downtown San Antonio, so I found a spot several blocks away and walked right past the Greyhound Bus terminal. It’s not the most attractive spot in town, but it’s where you get a glimpse of the future of Texas. Observing the flow of people in and out of this bus station, you see the down-and-outs mixed in with the up-and-comings.
This is where the dreamers are showing up…some with family…many with just the clothes on their backs. You can see the frustration mixed with excitement in their eyes…as they wander into the heart of San Antonio. Many without family contacts find a spot early and settle in for the night on the steps of St. Mary’s Catholic Church…others camp out in overhangs and shelters throughout the downtown area.
Just a few blocks away…the River Walk, packed with tourists, spending money as if there was no tomorrow.
It was like a great deception.
I was there to meet with people about developing a Stepping Stones Education team…friends of mine who have been inactive Republicans, but who understand the evolving dynamics in Texas. They understand the need to reach into our Hispanic community and change the course we’re currently on, before it’s too late.
After a few meetings, I visited my friend Anthony, whom I’ve known since the 7th grade. He’s known of GOPisForMe and had been following…watching the videos and reading some of the blogs. So when he asked how it was all going, I said, “Well…we’re now an Auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas, and we’re building a network of active members who are willing to do more than the usual 9-5.”
“Yeah, I don’t even pay attention to politics. All I do is work and focus on making a living…” he added.
“You’re a prime example of someone who is perfectly able to do more but doesn’t. Let’s take you for example…you lived with a single parent until you moved out on your own…in the 10th grade…what do you think your life would have been like if someone like myself, or another volunteer from the Republican Party had come by your home and told you it WAS possible for you to go to college…that there is a way to get advanced education…what would you have done?” I asked.
“If someone would have come by talking like that, I would have grabbed on for dear life and found someone to help me figure things out…” he said. When Anthony was a sophomore, he was on his own. Working at McDonald’s at night, living with his girlfriend, who also worked at McDonald’s, they both continued going to school. Despite the obvious challenges of surviving and eating…paying bills, they both graduated from High School. He overcame the obstacles in his life and played the hand he was dealt.
Anthony worked for $3.35 and hour, and was excited when it went to $3.50. He learned at McDonald’s that there was a system for success…that you had to be on time for work…and when you took a break, you stood near the clock. Everything was structured, exactly what he needed. Before long, his hard work got him promoted to manager, and soon he began to realize he was in the Hospitality industry.
On a chance, he applied at a club in San Antonio with three levels and five bars. He was hired…first as a bar-back, where he cleaned up trash, stocked the shelves and made sure the Bartenders were ready for the frenzy of the weekend business. He did the best job he could, always knowing he needed to prove himself before he would be given the opportunity to work as a bartender.
When the knock came, he jumped on it, and was soon working in the slowest bar in the club…getting his feet wet. In time, he developed a clientele and a strong following. Recognizing his potential, the club owners promoted him to the main bar, which was the “top spot” in the club. This meant he was serving at high rate, meeting people and continuing to grow his base, but most importantly, he started making enough money to get ahead.
The people loved him, and so did the owners, who promoted him again to a low-level management position…eventually becoming the Asst. GM. Now, after 22 years at that location, he has two homes, two kids and a life story of struggle and victory.
“You see Anthony…you’d be a great role model for young people…” “Who would look up to me,” he said. “Anyone who needs to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel…that it just takes hard work and sacrifice…that’s who,” I replied.
They’re out there…people who can make a difference if they choose to. We just need to find them and let them know the time is now…that they can make a difference, and that their community needs them.
San Antonio is home to Alejandro Sostre-Odio, the President of the Bexar County LNRC Chapter. He invited me to speak at their upcoming meeting on August 2nd, and we look forward to working directly with them as we march into the Hispanic community! Also George Rodriguez, San Antonio Tea Party President, is also a key player in the region…their group is vibrant and hard working…we look forward to working with them as well. Together, we can get our community back on track.