This Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure to be invited to attend a CNN debate for the Florida Senatorial race to fill the spot vacated by Mel Martinez currently held by George LeMieux . I heard some spirited repartee between the three candidates: Marco Rubio, Kendrick Meek, and Governor Charlie Crist. Meek called it the WWE. Crist called it the NFL. Rubio pleaded with the candidates not to hit him.
Realize, of course, I couldn't see his face, but it seemed to me that Rubio came off as rather smug. Meek seemed kind and concerned, and Crist was sincere and in control of the facts, even though Adam Smith, in an improper turn as a moderator, sounded like he was accusing him of lying before almost anything was said.
Rubio showed an admirable pride in his family and heritage, although his immigration stance would have us find a way to send all illegal immigrants back to where they came, and have them reapply for citizenship while back in their old country. He also stated that most immigrants come here for work, but never discussed that so many come here for political asylum and a safe place to live. I, too, am a first generation American. What would Marco have said to my parents, who came from Austria and Poland? Would he have used the Helen Thomas line: "Go back to where you came"? How about Darfur and other parts of Africa? How about Haitian refugees? How many Cubans from the boat lift would Marco have sent back if they stayed too long without getting their citizenship? What about those who escaped with their lives from Columbia, Guatemala and other dangerous areas in South and Central America? Remember the "60 minutes" report of Columbian paramilitaries cutting off the head of a 12-year announcing their presence? Someone had to pick that child's head up. Someone had to pick up that dead child's body and help to bury that child without his head attached. Rubio should think of that as he safely and lovingly tucks his children in at night.
Rubio also showed a sever inflexibility when it came to the continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the top 5%, which I call Tax Welfare for the Rich. He pounded the table with clenched fists and selfishly announced that he would not compromise on the tax cuts, leaving many of America's population to knock on their in-laws doors to say, "Guess who's coming to dinner tonight, and every night?'" Rubio still blindly believes they the wealthy will stimulate the economy with the money they saved by not reducing the federal deficit and helping maintain social programs, such as the Medicare his 80-year old mother uses.
It seems that Rubio wants to make this all about him and his ideals. He discussed an empowerment program that he helped implement in his early years in the Congress to help Black American males, but he has not gone so far as to denounce the blatant racism of the far-right Republicans and Tea Partiers that he embraces.
Mr. Rubio -- it is not all about you. It's about us, We the People, and the people who come here to share in our freedoms.
It may be naive of me to lump all of the Republican candidates together but I have yet to see any of them stand against the economic denial, educational imbalance, health insurance inequities and legal protection imbalances that exist in our troubled country. In our great country, if one group suffers, we all do. As Sting once said poignantly about the cold war, "I hope they love their children, too."