Click the image to read the conversation, with comments by Cuban-Americans, too.
It is no easy thing to reject the heart of what one’s own family, and people, preaches.
Particularly, perhaps, if you are Cuban-American. (If you know Cubans, this needs no further explanation.)
But, it appears that, at the risk of being called communist, socialist, estúpido and comemierda, an historic percentage of my generation, combined with newer Cuban arrivals to the U.S., voted in a way that had Abuelos spinning in their graves.
The post-election news was all Latino voter that and Latino voter this. And then, the news stories started coming out that focused particularly on the Cuban-American vote, a reliably Republican voting bloc from an understandably conservative community. (Flee communism and you go a little conservative…)
The wheels have come off: 48% of Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for the Democratic President. An historic record. Compare it to the 35% Obama got in 2008 and 25% Al Gore got in 2000.
As I overdosed on online analysis, these are the quotes that stuck with me:
“Exit polls of the Cuban-American community in Florida showed a split between Cuban-Americans who were born in Cuba and those born in the United States. Historically, Cuban-American voters have heavily favored the Republican Party since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cuban-born voters broke for Mitt Romney by a 55-45 percent margin. However, among Cuban-Americans born in the United States, President Barack Obama carried the group by a 60-40 percent margin.”
That 60-40 margin would be my kind, those of us born here to immigrant and exiled families — not the ones who are recently arrived and considered by hard-line Cubans to be medio socialista, anyway.
And this, from the Daily Beast:
“It is a sign that the younger Cuban-American voters are voting on more than just the Cuban issue,” said Florida GOP operative and Rubio campaign manager Jose Mallea. “There’s just not the affinity for the Republican Party of their parents’ generation.”
Mallea added: “But when the extreme language, some of the ugly rhetoric surrounding it made it seem like an anti-Hispanic law, rather than anti-illegal immigrant, Cuban Americans start to take that personally.”
The shift is a huge, historic one for the Cuban-American community that sends a blaring message to the GOP, and our own people.
I think a previously silent percentage of my generation (many who are closeted Democrats) is tired of the yelling for naught. Of the one-issue chant. And, maybe it isn’t just about tired, but more about voting for concern on a broader range of issues. And a willingness, at last, to question complete fanatical devotion to a party that currently doesn’t offer a welcome mat. (I go back to the anti-Hispanic rhetoric that Cuban-Americans don’t seem to hear, care about or think is about them, too.)
So, what does this all mean? Surely, not that the majority of the American-born Cuban kids are communists and socialists.
To me, it means the old conversation is just that: Old. As the children of exiles, we care deeply about Cuba and we want the downfall of dictatorship and we want freedom for our family’s beloved island and its 11 million souls. We want the magic and glory of a place our grandparents mourned and longed for finally, and forever, democratically restored. Healed.
Pero, the hard-line screaming hasn’t worked. Give me something else to try.
(Side note…A therapist friend once explained: “You know the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.”)
My generation of voters also is born and raised American — some of us even live outside the Magic Bubble that is Miami — and we vote on issues that affect our daily lives. We are concerned about the cost of healthcare, the frightening state of the economy and we certainly desire a rational bipartisan conversation about job and wealth creation.
But, we also vote to crush the people who say wretched things about our people and culture, who aim to retard women’s rights, demonise gay friends and relatives and disenfranchise the neediest among us.
So anyway, have you seen the news stories on Republicans and the conservative talking head who just after the election said hey, hey, hey wait, we do need immigration reform! All this suddenly, after 70% of Latinos turned their backs, they’re willing to talk. Whiplash.
And of course, haters and race-baiters grew quickly angry about any potential change in policy toward “illegals.” Go read the love-filled comments about the recent about-face here and here. And if my people think they are an exception to the hate and ignorance of extreme wingnut wackos, well, they need to get out of Miami more often. Dime con quién andas…
I can hear it now: ¡Qué equivocada!
Pero, whatever. Want the majority of the Cuban-American kids back?
Disavow extremist haters and condemn the language of exclusivity or become a political party increasingly irrelevant to once-sure bets who aren’t committed to voting like Mami and Papi.
If not, not even Marco Rubio will save you.