Back in May 2008, during the Presidential election campaigns, the Cuban-American National Foundation held a luncheon for then Presidential hopeful Barrack Obama. It was at this luncheon where most of us were introduced to a young conservative Cuban-American who had insisted the CANF give him a few minutes of podium time, despite of and against the wishes of his party. Many of us met Marco Rubio for the very first time that day and most, if not all of us, were inspired and touched his remarks.
I emailed Marco that day and a few days later he and Henry and I found ourselves having lunch at a local Cuban joint. We chatted mostly about Cuba and Cuban issues, our families, the Dolphins, Florida politics. Not once was a run for the US Senate mentioned.
That short sit-down with Marco over Cuban sandwiches and Matervas convinced me of one thing: Marco Rubio was a man who was going places. Genuine, intelligent. A man of integrity.
Sitting across from me was an American of Cuban descent whose own life resonated with mine. The son of blue collar exiles. A young man who understood that the life path he was on was the product of the sacrifices and hard work and determination of his parents, who, just like my mother and father, made the difficult decisions and went through untold hardships for their children. Marco stated in that address to the CANF that we are the progeny of two generations of broken dreams.
I left Marco that day vowing to follow his career no matter what he decided to do.
Fast forward some months and I hear through the grapevine that there’s a guy named Marco Rubio who had just joined the race for the Senate seat from Florida. So, I emailed him:
“So you’re running for Senate, eh? How can I help?”
From that very day, when Rubio was 35 points behind in the polls and considered a longshot, Babalú supported Marco Rubio for the US Senate. And I’ll tell you why: because I knew that we were going to be a part of history in the making.
A few months later, after Marco’s numbers had risen considerably and the country began to hear Marco’s message of conservative principles, he was invited to key note at CPAC. I knew that I had to make it to DC for that speech and you all came through and sponsored my trip.
Marco’s address was inspiring that day. He truly rocked the house and I was proud to witness the respect and support Marco received from fellow Americans from all across the country. But here’s a little something you all don’t know:
The week before Marco was to address the crowd at CPAC, I emailed Alex Burgos, Marco’s campaign manager and asked him to forward a little note to Marco:
I know you must be swamped but I need you to take a few minutes to read the following as it’s important, I believe, both for the campaign and for myself and my readers and, believe it or not, all Americans.
I believe that Marco’s success is this campaign has been because of a conglomeration of many factors. From Crist’s screw-ups and lack or ideological integrity to the current screw ups in the administration, the Tea Partiers, public sentiment etc etc etc. I also believe that supporters love Marco not only because of his beliefs, ideology and conservative principles, but because he inspires them. His style and his delivery and especially his oratory skills, combined with the message, elicit feelings within people that have either been dormant for so long with this bland political landscape or which they never knew they had. I’ve seen him speak live only once, at the Cuba PAC luncheon, and I not only had tears in my eyes and goosebumps throughout, but I was inspired, fired up, exhilarated. There were a couple of people at our table that had never heard of Marco – the were from PR – and they both gave him a standing ovation like the rest of us. The woman, too, had tears streaming down her cheeks.
At St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, there is a grave and marker for a man named Edward Carrington. He was an American patriot who served honorably during the revolutionary war against the British and thereafter. But he is not buried there solely because of his heroic and patriotic actions. He’s buried there because on March 23, 1775, an American statesman named Patrick Henry gave a rousing speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses to introduce resolutions calling for revolution against the Brits.
As kids, we learn about Henry and this particular moment in history and we all know it by the last seven words of this now famous speech: “Give me liberty or give me death.” So rousing was the message, and so rousing was Henry’s delivery of said message that it is argued that it, in and of itself, ignited the patriotism necessary for this David of a colony to take on the Goliath of the British commonwealth.
Edward Carrington just happened to be standing outside that church, listening to the debates that day, right at the spot where he is now buried. When Patrick Henry delivered his speech, Carrington was so ignited, so inspired that upon Henry delivering his closing sentence “give me liberty, or give me death!” Carrington, with the zeal and fervor of a man on fire, shouted, , “LET ME BE BURIED ON THIS SPOT!” And thus, the spot and the reason for where Edward Carrington rests for all eternity.
What Im trying to say is that I want to feel like Edward Carrington. And, I am not alone. All Americans want to feel like Edward Carrington. We want to be inspired. We want to be ignited. We want to be Patriots. We want to be American Patriots. We just all need someone to light the damned fire. We have been waiting and searching for that person for what seems like forever.
To me, Marco can be that man. In many ways he already is. But I know Marco as Ive followed his career for some time. Marco needs to take the CPAC key note opportunity and raise the damn roof off of that convention center. Many people there don’t even know who he is. He needs to make sure everyone there knows exactly who he is when he walks off that stage. He needs to make every single person in that convention center want to be Edward Carrington: a room full of people so inspired that they shout, at the tops of their lungs “LET ME BE BURIED ON THIS SPOT!”
I’ll be there, and I want to be the first one to shout it.
Last night, as I stood amongst that crowd of supporters and fellow Americans at his victory celebration, as I and other grown men wiped tears from our eyes listening to our newly elected Senator from Florida, remembering Marco’s father, who passed away without witnessing the success his sacrifices made possible, all I could think was “LET ME BE BURIED ON THIS SPOT!”
Marco Rubio, son of Cuban exiles, is now among the ranks of American patriots and leaders like Henry and Jefferson and Lincoln and Reagan. And with each day from now on, fulfills those dreams usurped from the generations before him.
Proof, my friends, that ours is, indeed, the Greatest Country on Earth.
God bless America, land that I love.