In Mexico and in Spanish spoken by Mexican immigrants in the United States, a "tocayo" is a friend or acquaintance who has the same first-name as you do. "Tocayos" greet each other and say good-bye with it and not their shared name.
Tonight, I want to salute my tocayo doble in Arizona, Daniel Hernandez, Jr., a 20-year-old student at the University of Arizona who essentially saved the life of Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords in Saturday's shooting in Tucson.
Above, Daniel's interview with the openly right-wing outlet known as Fox News. There is the characteristic awkward nature of the questions and answers in such spots, but more so here, as Daniel stays incredibly on-point, on-message, and composed while recounting the horror of what happened. He ran to the bullets when the shots started, and directly to the congresswoman. He propped her up, applied pressure to her wounds, held her hand and spoke to her, and traveled with Rep. Giffords in the ambulance to the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Here are the details.
Almost frustrated toward the end of the interview, the anchor asks Daniel, "You're an example for a lot of young people, Daniel, in terms of your courage and your responsiblity. What's your message for other folks out there tonight watching, thinking, 'How can I raise a boy to be just like Daniel?'"
"I think the first thing we need to do," Daniel responds, "is make sure we acknowledge the real heroes, that's the public servants ... "
Amazing. The anchor in her New York studio is almost speechless.
Daniel, presumably a Mexican American, might be native-born. He also might not be. Daniel, I'm being told, is also gay/queer/LGBT-identified. Don't know for sure. (*UPDATE: Queerty reports Daniel serves on the Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues, and his name appears on the site's members list.) But what counts right now is his enormous strength of character, courage, and sense of civic engagement, even in the face of mortal danger. His statements reflect a genuine dedication to public service and to those who work in government not to spread hate or division but, as he puts it, to help people.
That's about as close as you can get to "patriotism" these days than anything else.
I am proud to share a name with you tonight, Daniel Hernandez, mi tocayo. Your family, friends, and millions of strangers are proud of you as well. You certainly are an example for all of us. I wish you all the best in the future, surely a bright one.