May 03, 2012

To Vote or Not To Vote (for Obama) 

Four years ago I never would have thought that I’d feel so unsure about voting for Obama again, but there’s a strong possibility that I will not vote for him a second time, and may not vote at all in the next Presidential contest.
I was one of Obama’s most ardent supporters in 2008, but his actions and rhetoric regarding Cuba have steered me away from the voting booth.
Who would have thought that Luis Posada Carriles (the Osama Bin Laden of South America) would go free during the administration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama, now taking credit for dispatching that other Osama?
I’ve never missed an election since becoming a U.S. citizen at age 18. My life and values are those of an American, although I also love Cuba, my “old country.” But the administration’s embrace of a Nixon/Reagan-type stance towards the island (extending the embargo and protecting anti-Castro terrorists) has convinced me that I can no longer support a president that supports terrorism against my family that remains in Cuba.
When Obama was elected, many of us were blinded by our desperate need for “change,” and maybe a little drunk on our “hope” for a more humane identity. Somehow my expectations of this administration were as drunk as that of many supporters. We needed Obama to come through for our country, to help us stand for something other than mere greed and corporate aggression; maybe justice.
After the Posada Carriles trial and the fact that anti-Castro terrorists have even less fear of prosecution under this administration than under Bush’s or Nixon’s, justice is no longer an option.
Obama’s election made me feel optimistic about the future; I hadn’t felt this kind of hopefulness since Bill Clinton’s election; the Soviet Union had come to an end, and I expected that the embargo would also go.  Instead, when Cuba was at her weakest, her people the hungriest, Clinton turned up the heat on the embargo, codified it into law, and helped make it the extraterritorial empire monstrosity it is today.
No thinking person (or government analyst) expected that these measures would do anything other than cause human suffering.  The choice seems inconceivable in retrospect, as we could have easily chosen to make peace with the Cuban people instead. We could have chosen a peaceful approach to reduce suffering and produce gradual change, but we chose to make Cubans suffer so we could blame it all on Castro, a tactic that now the Obama administration has embraced.
With Orlando Bosch’s death two years ago, peaceful as it was in a U.S. hospital, our chance to publicly oppose his terrorist crimes is completely gone now, and our support for mass murder is forever cemented into our character.
Then there’s the case of The Cuban 5. President Obama should have pardoned them immediately upon taking office. That he allows these men to serve jail time is a crime in itself. 
Now that Obama’s policy on Cuba is a matter of record, contradicting his own statements of 2004 (that the embargo should end) I find myself unable to vote for him, and this illusion of political participation that presidential elections have provided in my lifetime seems permanently damaged.
As long as ambitious Democrats need a ticket through terrorist-friendly Florida, the Cuban civil war of the ages will continue, and the killers of innocents will parade as a victory only their ability to circumvent American law.
The American in me can’t embrace this Boss Tweed/Tammany Hall reality of 21st Century presidential politics, so I feel compelled to do what most decent 21st Century Americans do; not vote.
It seems that by participating in this illusion of Democracy, I’m only adding to the problem, like a drug addict supporting a ruthless dealer.
Even though I’m gravely disappointed with the administration’s apparent Nixonification (as it relates to Cuba) I don’t see myself supporting any of the new breed of wealthy Wall Street Republicans.  
My vote, like Cuba, will not be an apple that falls on a Democrat’s hands, not as long as that Democrat supports the right-wing terrorists that have controlled Cuba-policy for 50 years.

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