Ramona Phillips is a small-business owner who has achieved success the old-fashioned way, not just by working hard and smart but by believing in herself.

Forty-five years ago she came to this country as a young woman from Mexico and immediately went to work in the fields, where she toiled for years. She never made it to college, but today runs a hair salon and has an a long list of clients.

Being one of her clients, I often hear from her that she saw me on TV and that I definitely have waited too long for my next haircut.

Phillips does not like when the super rich use their power for opportunistic political purposes. Such is the case of Donald Trump. For all his billions, Trump appears to be a morally bankrupt soul.

The Donald revealed his true self when he spoke recently on the issue of immigration and made disparaging remarks about Latino immigrants in particular.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," Trump recently said. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best ... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us (sic). They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists," he said, adding, "And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump went on to say that all of these bad people are also coming from South and Latin America. It was no accident Trump spewed these remarks when he announced that he was running as a Republican candidate for president.

Last time I counted, there were at least 16 Republicans saying they wanted to run for president, so Trump's strategy apparently was to say something so outrageous and morally offensive on immigration that it was sure to get him plenty of coverage and set him apart from the rest of the pack. And it worked.

In a CNN poll from June 26-28, Trump bolted to the No. 2 spot just behind Jeb Bush as the candidate Republican voters would elect.

Phillips is not impressed by the billionaire real estate mogul.

"His words are highly offensive. I thought he was a well-educated man," said Phillips. "Doesn't he know immigrants make this a great country?"

An avid viewer of the Miss Universe pageant, Phillips said she will not see it this year in protest of Trump's remarks.

The Donald has his tentacles in a host of financial interests, and among them is being owner of the Miss Universe Organization. Phillips is hardly alone in her indignation. Not only has there been domestic condemnation of his infamous remarks, but international as well.

NBC and Univision both dropped airing the Miss Universe pageant; NASCAR and Macy's also dumped Trump. And it's left Trump's Republican colleagues in the very uncomfortable position of having to say what they make of him labeling Latino immigrants as drug dealers, criminals and rapists.

"I wouldn't advise him to say it," said Bakersfield Republican political consultant Stan Harper. "He's a loose cannon and he has no regrets what he says."

Not wanting a repeat of what happened to Republicans in California when Republican Gov. Pete Wilson painted immigrants in a similar fashion during election time, the California Assembly Republican Caucus issued a statement claiming it was among the first group of elected Republicans in the nation to denounce Trump's incendiary rhetoric.

"We call on every person -- including politicians and wannabe politicians -- to join Californians and embrace and respect immigrants and their contributions to America," said Kristin Olsen, leader of the Assembly Republican Caucus.

Just as Wilson's tactics of demonizing Latino immigrants resulted in his short-term goal of being elected to office, it ultimately went on to unite Latinos and others in registering voters and making sure they voted on election day.

The tide turned and Republicans today do not hold a single statewide elected office, and their numbers continue to dwindle.

Trump's remarks are already having the unintended consequence of uniting the diverse Latino community across the country.

Adding fuel to the immigration debate is the recent case in San Francisco where an undocumented immigrant was arrested on suspicion of the random shooting death of 31-year-old Kate Steinle. The suspect has a record of being deported five times.

Trump was quick to jump on this and say, "See, I told you so." Though some say Trump is only saying what other politicians are afraid to say in public, his rhetoric does nothing to address the real issue of comprehensive immigration reform, serving only as a distraction to offering real thoughtful solutions.

Ramona Phillips may not be in the same league economically as Trump. But she is by far the richer person.

Contributing columnist Jose Gaspar is a reporter for KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News. Email him at elcompa29@gmail.com. His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.