Dear Senator Marco Rubio,
I must say that much of your announcement yesterday resonated with me. I saw a lot of myself in you. I also reminisce on the keys dangling outside the door at midnight when my father got back from work.
What did you say about el “sueño americano”? I know it well. It runs through my veins in two languages. It inspires me to work with others to rescue the most uplifting aspects of our history and dream and work with my generation and other generations towards a better, more humane and more prosperous future for our country and for our world.
I am a young Latino millennial, currently in graduate school, 25 years of age, and similarly to your story, I am U.S. child born of immigrant parents who dreamed that their kids would have lives full of more opportunity then what they had been given.
I agree with you: family is the most important institution in our country.
Family defined as whatever group of people, an American identifies as the community that most closely and intimately illustrates love to him or her.
Government represents societal values. It acts as a structure that allows us to give flesh to what we deem important as a nation. In essence our nation and every nation is a community of diverse communities, and a family of diverse families and as much as we might pretend to be wholly self-sufficient or individualistic all of us are inter related in a web of relationship.
I believe in a government that uplifts family and not in a government that destroys it.
A government sensible and active enough to pass immigration reform in the ways of Ronald Reagan whose amnesty, a word that terrifies you, led to the legalization of my Mexican immigrant parents in the late 80’s and uplifted my family.
A government brave enough to stand up to Wall Street and big corporations on behalf of working class and middle class families, the single mothers and indebted students that you spoke of in your speech, in passing a new minimum wage law and in finding solutions to a trillion-dollar student debt thus uplifting family.
A government courageous enough to stand up to the oil industry and stand with the majority of scientists in responding to climate change and thus protecting and uplifting both American families and families from all over world.
A pioneer government willing to extend protections and marriage equality to all sexual orientations so that family in whatever ways a human being might define it might be uplifted and celebrated.
A transformative government inspiring all of us to rethink the patriarchal modes of being of the past century and paving the way for a century where mothers, sisters, friends and all women are finally given equal pay, and where men learn how to see women as equals and celebrate and take the lead from them.
Government uplifting family is as old as the American experience itself. For it was government that liberated enslaved families under Lincoln, government that protected working class families from greedy corporations under Theodore Roosevelt, government that saved American families from Depression under FDR, and government that embraced our immigrant story and legalized millions of undocumented families under Reagan.
Senator, what you have failed to recognize in your magnanimous speech is that although the hard work and perseverance of your parents has led you to where you are, that alone would have led you nowhere. It was government in policy and opportunities coupled with this perseverance that led you to the place where you are.
After a quick look at your policy stances, in the way in which you renounced your own comprehensive immigration plan, in the ways in which you have voted against raising the minimum wage, and voted for tax breaks for the rich and tax increases on the middle class, I have seen through your rhetorical political fog and into your Randian political essence and concluded that you in fact stand for the destruction of the American family.
As they say in Chile where I spent two years as an international volunteer your beautiful speech seems to be “pura paja” or “pure straw.”
In fact, in my estimation, the worst thing that could happen to the American family is the government of family destruction that you and your party seem to stand for.
Before the 2016 election, I pray and hope that the American family realizes this and I will do all I can to get this message out to them.
From a fellow child of Latino immigrants,
Carlos M. Rodríguez
Carlos Rodríguez is a graduate student at New York University.
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