Baker Academic

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who is Julian Castro?

Hillary Clinton with Julian [pronounced hool-YAHN] Castro.
It is no secret that America only elects presidents that have Jesus street cred. Even those who weren't great fans of Christianity had a mancrush on Jesus. So what hope does Bernie Sanders have? He's even more Jesusy than most Christians. But it remains to be seen whether modern America will elect a non-Christian. Most of our presidents have affiliated with some denomination of Christianity and every president since Andrew Johnson has.

But America's anti-Catholicism has deep roots. Historically Americans have been suspicious of kings and popes, often for the same reasons. Our first and only Catholic president was John F. Kennedy Jr. Who was our first Catholic Vice President? Joe Biden. America's acceptance of Catholics in the White House is very recent.

It was rumored yesterday that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro is on Hillary Clinton's shortlist for running mate. Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio and looks to be an advantageous choice for two reasons: (1) Lone Star State votes; (2) Latino votes. Now, Texas is not likely to vote blue anytime soon. The real battleground is Florida, especially if Marco Rubio can beat real-life Biff.
Back to the Future predicted Donald Trump's rise to power.

If Julian Castro does indeed find himself on the Clinton 2016 ticket, much will be made of his ethnicity. Of course, a Latino VP would be newsworthy! My guess is that much less will be made of his Catholicism.

And if it is not newsworthy, that in itself is newsworthy! It might mean that we're finally leaving our anti-Catholic prejudices behind as we enter the voting booth. It will be no small progress if we elect a second Catholic VP. If placed on the ticket, Julian Castro will immediately become a viable option for the highest office. Even if Hillary can't McFly her way back the White House, Julian Castro will earn credibility by association.

America's anti-Catholicism is still a problem. But it is slowly—ever so slowly—becoming a part of our past. Maybe Churchill was right, "America always does the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities." I would only add that there are so very many possibilities to explore!

1 comment:

  1. I think HRC would be smart to add Castro to her ticket. He is a rising star in the DNC, and as you said, he'd help deliver Texan/Latino votes. But more than that he's good at governing. The San Antonio 20/20 plan he was a part when here has been received really favorably here and he seems to be doing well leading HUD. His affiliation with the RCC wasn't a big deal down here b/c there is strong Catholic presence, but even then he plays really nice with Protestants. He even came to the church of which I'm a member once to honor a local HS basketball team from the inner city. Everyone loved him (from what I heard since I missed the event). I know this doesn't mean it will all translate to the national level, but I think he's got the necessary skills and personality for the VP job.