By Isabel Matos
I remembered this short but important part of Ted Cruz’s speech last year at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Miami. It was part of a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and appropriate for the occasion on my mind. What is America? And what makes one American? Some people wonder why I call myself Cuban-American. Two reasons. First, I am proud to be from the country where I came from. My maternal country is my roots and what makes me who I am to a great degree. Second, as a citizen who is here legally, I am also proud to distinguish myself from groups who are less overt about expressing where they are from, for whatever reason. I know that my family obtained citizenship not by cheating or extorting politicians, so I’m proud to be part of the type of immigration that makes America great. The hyphenated term is to help Americans understand a little better that not all Hispanics want to change America. We don’t attempt to subvert the laws that make it great, either. That is wrong. On the contrary, this country inspires us to offer all we have in return for the laws that protect its freedoms which we don’t take for granted. What we experienced in our country has shaped us. We are American, but it also doesn’t mean we ignore politics.
If a group of individuals is thankful for this country, and are willing to sacrifice, share and be a part of the what makes it great, then so be it. We are grateful this country gave us refuge from political persecution. I know we never came for the goodies or benefits. In fact, we expected to return within a year and it has become 56 so far. The Cuban Embassy in Washington opened on July 21st and there is still persecution in Cuba. It is not free. I know American’s know that, but with an election ahead I will get out of the way what I want to get out the way so we can discuss other things we can do to keep this country as free as possible.
I don’t see how the extreme polarity and lack of consensus in the Republican party will help us in 2016. Look, I’m not a candidate kind of a gal. I’m into context. Candidates are like flavors people choose to love one day, hate the next. That is part of the problem. Voters have too many options. I have seen the last four years as an experiment, one which shows the need for government in many ways, and one in which the struggle for freedom, still very much on the minds of Americans, needs to be focused like a razor on. But the grassroots is disorganized despite all the passion. We need an establishment to hate it because it is trying to oppress us, but we need to understand its rightful place as well. The argument we have tried to make is for self-government. But people need order. They need rules. Without them they don’t always govern themselves accordingly.
If I sound pessimistic it’s because people do not take responsibility for their actions. When you abuse the freedom to act responsibly, of course, government will step in and capitalize on it. America has been a free for all. Self-interest is so distracting that it leaves little or no time to watch the foxes in the coop, permitting government to get away with what it does. Let’s face it. People get discouraged when they see the same politicians making the same promises and the same “leaders” making the same demands and not getting anywhere because they lie and we end up more disenfranchised. Of course when we vote we hope politicians will do their jobs so we can lead our own. But they don’t. And haven’t.
Conservatives are about pursuing their dreams and not much about the greater good. Why not? It’s a great question. How about a combination of a little more of number two? I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that people can govern themselves accordingly given no restrictions. So we need to deal with this: We need guidelines. We need to uphold principles, but not in a way that threatens the very people we turn to when the time comes where we need them to protect us. When war comes. Can we live without government? NO. Maybe I am missing something. I just think the type of chaos I am perceiving will lead to harsher, bigger government. I hope I’m wrong. How can we create a consensus, though, when the divided states of America seem like one big border-less mess!
Where’s our general? And where is the call to action I am craving?
People confuse a country with its government or politicians. I will never confuse who is doing what is right, but I understand that it doesn’t matter who it is, it matters what is being done that is right. That is my compass. I’m going to vote for the Republican nominee whoever it is (it will not be our choice most probably – nothing has changed nor will it so why not accept it) and stop this silly mindset that you should take the fight for standing for what is right on the big day at the ballot box. How about accepting the nominee for who he/she is and focus and concentrate on ways to deal with that candidate’s record to continue the problem-solving, the taking stands, instead of the childish and endless whining.
I digressed. Getting back to the little clip. It’s pretty darn cool that a room full of immigrants or children of immigrants are represented by two Americans with their background in the Republican presidential primary. We all came penniless, only with a few items like photos and clothes, but penniless, and filled with hopes it was just a short visit and soon we’d be back home. It never happened. I don’t speak for anyone but the fact is, it is deeply embedded in our psyche, whether individually or collectively. I hope it is not misconstrued for support one candidate or the other. That would be missing the point. It is something to be proud of and I admit I am. I wish there were another woman running, but I digress there, too. If she had been a Cuban-American, maybe having experienced the permanent loss of her country, maybe she would have seized the opportunity that our two senators did. Far be it from me to speculate there. I dare not. All I know is many people wanting to be here appreciate the opportunities America offers possibly more than others already living here who take them for granted.
To finish this long “short” introduction, I thought I’d add a definition which I found to be insightful and eloquent, not to mention true, of what America means, by the woman who could be a more integral part of the political process.