Whether we accept it or not, marketing largely drives the Cinco De Mayo celebrations in America while most of Mexico ignores the Historic Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Examining the specifics of the Puebla skirmish confirms the outcome didn’t affect Mexican independence. That already came Sept. 28, 1821 celebrating the end of Spanish rule in Mexico.

What Cinco De Mayo was actually, encompassed a battle with the French.

Facts can be confusing, but historical accuracy doesn’t deter beer distributors like Corona from patronizing the Hispanic community, or Mexican food restaurants from providing Mariachi musicians prompting false pride to sell more tacos, beer or tequila. Talk about a Latin hustle.

And Cinco De Mayo remains an opportune day for the unscrupulous to market politically sectarian misrepresentations.

Integrity was not an issue for the impacting independent Hispanic vote during the election of Glenn Youngkin. Embracing a responsible debate format and vetting through transparent presentations paid electoral dividends.

History notes the political marketing lesson responsibly embraced by several, including 2nd Dist. Congresswoman Jen Kiggans. Her legislative knowledge and presentation bested former congresswoman Elaine Luria during debates.

Ist Dist. Congressman Rob Wittman in his 8th term, and 7th Dist. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger in her third, also have a long history embracing the debate stage.

It remains a hard lesson for salivating political wannabees examining the myopic marketing of Prince William Supervisor Yesli Vega. Failing to debate the experienced and bipartisan Spanberger cost her a congressional seat.

Regrettably some localities appear gun shy to actually debate.

In Virginia’s Dist. 27 Senate race, Stafford Republicans so far have no actual debates planned, but a questionable primary candidate forum May 8 at the Falmouth Fire Station is scheduled.

Stafford Delegate Tara Durant and Spotsylvania sandwich shop owner Matt Strickland have been invited as well as Lee Peters and Michael Kasey running for delegate in the 65th House District. Candidates for Stafford Treasurer Mike Senkowski and Heather Mitchell running will also be participating.

Conservatives are privately however questioning the unbiased actuality of the forum.

So many professionals, such as the respected Mary Washington University’s Director of political science, Dr. Stephen Farnsworth or the The Republican Standards’s Shaun Kenney, Stafford officials could have used to actually debate.

One concern is whether candidate Strickland again attempt another Facebook post inferring Governor Youngkin called him indicating support before again being exposed as false?

Regrettably, subjugating politicos utilizing fiction over fact are commonplace.

Durant on the other hand can boast bonafides co-sponsoring Youngkin’s legislation supporting aid for veterans that would have aided even Strickland who refused to allow the legislative process to alleviate his legal problems of not adhering to COVID mandates at his business establishment.

Strickland called Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, and Attorney Gen. Jason Miyares “so called conservatives”, inferring they were part of the problem. They weren’t.

And on the integrity issue, the veteran Strickland perhaps should more readily concede his purported middle eastern combat service was primarily “profiting” as a civilian mercenary with the less than reputable Blackwater group.

A troubling piece, “The dark truth about Blackwater” written by Peter W. Singer, a Brookings expert, exposes the organization’s history of questionable ethics and actions.

In Vietnam, I vividly recall noncombatants who lived to game the system, transitioning to more financially lucrative opportunities as soldiers of fortune where ethics, integrity and discipline were viewed as the military’s problem.

And in the future District 64 House of Delegate race, watch the marketing spin regarding Republican candidate Paul Milde’s failure to acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month when he was Stafford Board Chairman. His refusal to directly apologize to an upset Hispanic community at the following meeting added insult to injury.

Sitting stone faced and silent on the Dias, Milde left the apology to Vice Chair Meg Bohmke who did so with grace and humility.

Credit Bohmke for her leadership acting as the peace maker with the Latino community. “She” should be the House of Delegate candidate… not Milde. Understandably, to this day the actions can be interpreted as racist.

To alleviate such problems, Cinco De Mayo marketing should involve plans for actual debate vetting events not questionable forums.

Voters deserve answers to candidates history good or bad with fairly presented questioning. Aside from the marquee primary races between Durant and Strickland, the November matchup between Milde and Democratic candidate Bishop Leonard Lacy, or candidates for treasurer; experience, education and certification must be examined

Integrity determined during an actual debate would ultimately be the key to voters.

Winning candidates like Youngkin, Wittman, Spanberger, or Kiggans can attest to that in a Cinco De Mayo minute who know the value of the debate stage.

DANIEL CORTEZ lives in Stafford County, Virginia.