Wednesday, December 31, 2008

50 Years, 90 Miles

Hotel Inglaterra, Havana, early 1950s

50 years ago today, as 1958 came to a close, so did one unpopular Cuban dictatorship, only to be replaced by a significantly more oppressive and longer-lived one. I fall squarely into the camp that believes that U.S. policy toward Cuba, particularly our mystifyingly anti-capitalist trade embargo in addition to restrictions on travel and currency exchange, has to at least a small extent exacerbated an awful situation and emboldened what ought to have been a weak regime, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union.

On this bleak anniversary I'm heartened somewhat by the fact that Barack Obama is making at least some motions toward easing some of the more ridiculous restrictions. To be sure, I'm less than thrilled by the fact that Obama has backed off his previous support of full trade normalization in order to, just like nearly every other mainstream presidential candidate in recent history, kiss some Floridian ass. However, were Obama to at least reopen travel for Cuban Americans (who, as per a George W. Bush-imposed limit that had a fairly decent level of support within the Cuban community, can currently visit Cuba once every three years) and remove the $300 limit on sending money to family in Cuba, that itself would be far more progress than any post-Cold War president has overseen. And that's not for nothing:
“U.S. Cuba policy has not been a foreign policy,” explained Shannon O’Neil, the Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s been a domestic policy, based on the Cuban vote in Florida.” In 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush relied on the Cuban vote to carry Florida by narrow margins. Without the Sunshine State, he would not have won either election.

In 2008, however, the equation changed, as Obama won while carrying just 35 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida. “The Cubans voted overwhelmingly against Obama,” said Daniel Erikson, director of Caribbean programs at the Inter-American Dialogue and author of The Cuba Wars. “So what the November election shows is that he did not need the Cuban vote to win Florida, and he did not need the Florida vote to win the presidential election.”

While I take the point that Cuba policy for the last few decades has really been little more than thinly veiled electoral strategy (a tendency that Bill Clinton and other Democrats are as guilty of perpetuating as the Republicans who tend to benefit more from it), this is misleading. Erikson fails to mention that 35% is the largest proportion any Democrat has won from Cuban Americans in quite a long time: compare this with George Bush's haul of up to 76% of Cubans' votes in Florida in 2004, a year that Republicans experienced relative success up and down the ticket, including the election of the first Cuban to the U.S. Senate. Despite all that 2004 was was still a substantial improvement for Democrats as compared to 2000, when Bush picked up 81% (a figure that may be somewhat inflated due to lingering resentment toward the Clinton administration over the Elian Gonzalez ordeal in addition to Bush's particularly strong courtship that year of Cuban voters.) The fact is, if Cubans were to begin to split their votes any closer to down the middle (let alone joining other Hispanics' increasingly overwhelming break toward Democrats), Florida would be a fairly solidly blue state every time.

The purpose of bringing up Cubans' electoral history is to point out that these really is as good as circumstances will get for would-be Cuba policy reformers. Obama brings with him an unprecedented level of support (for a Democrat) from Cubans, particularly from the ever-growing, less ideologically monolithic group of younger, pragmatic Cuban Americans. And not only that, but, as my handful of loyal readers might recall, Cuban American support for an end to the embargo is at an all-time high.

With the Castros' time undoubtedly coming to its end, at this point an end to the embargo is very close to "too little, too late" territory. If Obama is serious enough about reform to salvage some semblance of American dignity in this area after 50 years' worth of embarrassing failed policy--not to mention the added bonus of garnering favor among a rising Cuban generation by encouraging American investment in a country that will face dramatic change soon--now's the time.

Photo by DCvision2006, released under Creative Commons.

I'm telling you, oh, it all falls down

Creative Commons: SIR: Poseyal Desposyni Poet

Picking a single moment when the Bush administration truly lost all credibility is sort of like finding the episode when Springer jumped the shark--it probably shouldn't have been on in the first place and the badness is so regular that singling one episode out seems pretty silly. But if you've gotta do it, watching passively as a major American city falls apart within a week seems like a pretty solid choice. Kevin Drum:
I've long believed that what really killed Bush was the contrast between his handling of Katrina and his handling of the Terri Schiavo case, which had come only a few months earlier. It was just too stark. What the American public saw was that when the religious right was up in arms, the president and the Republican Party acted. [...]

And it showed that Bush could be moved to action if the right constituency was at risk. It wasn't just that Bush was mostly MIA during the early stages of Katrina, but that he was plainly capable of being engaged in an emergency if it was the right kind of emergency. But apparently New Orleans wasn't it. And that was the final nail in the coffin of his presidency.

That strikes me as more or less it. To that point, despite my opposition to many of the administration's efforts including the Iraq war, I never would've thought to criticize their enthusiasm--if anything, lots of critics would probably have noted that Bush suffered from an overabundance. If Dowd and Bartlett are right that it took Katrina to take the wind out of the administration's sails completely, Bush's second-term apathy and eventual near-invisibility would turn out to make a lot more sense.

Kanye West oversimplified it, I think: the issue is not quite that George Bush doesn't care about black people; it's that the plight of people afflicted by a problem he couldn't solve by flinging money or troops at it was so far off his radar that I don't think he knew that, as president, he was supposed to care about them.

Photo by SIR: Poseyal Desposyni Poet, released under Creative Commons

Monday, November 3, 2008

change some people might have trouble believing in

Sean Quinn:
After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that's what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.

The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.

"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."

Asked what had precipitated the event, "We were just chanting 'Obama!' and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy."

Garcia told us that the man who originally had warned the two it was his property when they had first tried to attend the rally with Obama T-shirts was one of the agitators. Coming up just before the scene started getting out of hand, the man whispered in Garcia's ear, "I'm gonna beat you up the next time I see you." Garcia described him for us: "a big stocky man wearing a tweed jacket." He used hand motions to emphasize this was a large guy. We went back to look for the gentleman twenty minutes after the incident but didn't find him.


Even within my own family I've been called a Communist, a traitor, a disgrace to my heritage, a liberal motherfucker, and many others. Okay, those are mostly just this one uncle I have when he gets drunk, but still. Usually "naive" is the term used in polite company.

If the election, Florida in particular, goes the way it seems now that it probably will, the Cuban community in SoFla will be in for what could be a painful reckoning. We have to deal with the influx of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida which will mean suddenly losing the status of Most Favored Demographic--brown people who hate Democrats. The fading of the Castros within the next few years. The loss of any or all of the Cuban Mafia in Congress (not to mention the possible upcoming rejection of Mel Martinez in 2010.) The rise of a newer, less politically monolithic generation, as exemplified by Joe Garcia, and generational clash that may only begin to materialize this Tuesday. The questioning of priorities of single-issue anti-communist voters in the face of wars and the economy pretty much exploding and God knows what else.

Cubans need to get their act together. If Quinn's story and my hunches are even the slightest indication, we're in for some nasty stuff, the likes of which we're not quite used to.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

in the interest of fairness

I went all on a rant about Elizabeth Dole's arbitrary "atheist" namecalling against Kay Hagan yesterday, but I would be remiss not to call attention to it when Democrats (or Dem affiliates and surrogate groups) do it too.

Not that I'm overflowing with love for Mitch McConnell or anything, or that the actions of one Dixiecrat group are representative of the party as a whole, or that McConnell isn't responsible in his own small way for being a prominent promoter of that mindset that believes homophobic smears are A-OK. And also that particular blog entry smacks heavily of the kind of pox-on-both-their-houses disdain that tries to present a false equivalence between the practices of the right and the left, as though the slime-off is really even close. (He's kind of off his rocker by that last paragraph.)

Still. This sucks.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

faster, atheist! kill! kill!

I would say that Elizabeth Dole's current ongoing line of attack against documented, totally for-real Christian Kay Hagan is as vile as the famed campaign to tie Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden or the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were. Of course, Hagan seems pretty likely to win at this point, and no one likes an ungracious winner, so it seems as though the left won't be spending the next few months in the kind of existential crisis that calls for the kind of navel-gazing that resulted from the returns in 2002 and 2004. Well, here's hoping anyway, but I hope history doesn't give Liddy a pass for so flagrantly scapegoating atheists. We already have way more scapegoats than we need.

But then again, it's gone over about as well as Michael Scott doing a Chris Rock routine so I guess that means it's not working.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vote Against Florida Amendment 2: Because You're Not an Asshole

I put this in a Facebook note a few weeks ago and I'm reprinting it here just as a reminder. This also applies to the equally lame but more dangerous (since unlike Florida's version it can pass with only 50%) Prop 8 in California.

Early voting is open in Florida and I just got my absentee ballot and that's awesome. But I have a confession: if those of you who are Floridians vote this year for Amendment 2, the unfortunately named Florida Marriage Protection Amendment, I will think you're kind of an asshole.

Now, that's nothing personal, really. I respect your right to vote for Mr. McCain or Mr. Hussein Osama McBlackenstein or whatever they're calling him these days, I respect our differences of opinion and I will defend your right to the death to disagree etc. and so on. And I acknowledge that I have no right to tell you what you should do in what is supposed to be a supremely private civic duty, so try not to take this as me wagging my finger or anything.

Seriously though.

This amendment doesn't protect anything, despite the best efforts by highly paid right-wing PR consultants to convince you of such, because it's just frankly dumb to think that marriage faces some sort of existential crisis. Its effect is more like if I went up to my grandparents--okay, not my grandparents because they all got divorced, but you get the idea--and said "we don't recognize the way you feel about each other as valid." 'Cause unfortunately that's what this basically says to every loving and functional gay and lesbian couple in the state. (I don't think it's a particularly kind gesture to those not in a loving or functional couple, either.) And if you vote for this (and if I find out about it) I will assume you intend for that particular ideology to represent your own beliefs. And subconsciously, unintentionally, this will make me think that you are, in fact, an asshole, 'cause Amendment 2 is silly and wrong and I don't want to think the same of any of you.

So I hope you all vote, all of you in overwhelming numbers, for varying people and propositions in a manner according to your beliefs. But, sorry to say, despite the fact that you may be otherwise a perfectly decent person, I will think you are an asshole if you vote yes on 2. Please don't be an asshole and please don't vote for Amendment 2. Oh and also if those of you in FL-18 all wanted to vote for Annette Taddeo for Congress that would rock too.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," or some other appropriate Judge Judy-ism

There's a certain glee that politicians get whenever they come up with a line or a strategy they think is just the hottest shit ever. A lot of times in these instances, no matter how dark or blatantly false the implication they're trying to make, the way they present the fresh new attack strategies that present their opponent as a total loser homo has the air of a guileless kindergartner presenting his parents with a macaroni picture.

Look! they say. Lookit what I did! Isn't it cool? I did that!

As you might expect, the current undisputed master of this demonstration of giggly self-congratulation (the more giggly, the better, since the idea is to downplay the mean-spiritedness) has to be Sarah Palin. From here:
“I’ve really gotta hand it to Joe the Plumber over there in Toledo,” Palin said at a rally today in Lancaster, Pa., referring to Joe Wurzelbacher, who was made famous by Sen. John McCain in Wednesday night’s final presidential debate. “Somehow he got Barack Obama to finally state his intentions in really plain language.”
Ooh! Ooh! That! Ooh! See? See what I did there? That was good, wasn't it? Oh yeah. He's not getting up from that. Look how cool that was!

Now obviously maintaining a healthy facade of self-delusion for the sake of the remains of your own dignity is essential in a nosediving campaign, which is why Palin chose not to bring up the fact that they're getting their asses handed to them, and why they continue the endless JtP drumbeat even though no one gives a shit. I understand that need, but there's a limit.

Palin is so good at playing the role of the precocious child looking for approval because that's the approximate level of intellectual complexity she brings to her every stump speech, but for the sake of fairness, I'll note she's not alone. Remember, back when Barack Abdul Omar al-Blackguy wasn't yet being called a one-man latter-day red menace, how we learned that John McCain had like a gajillion houses?
By the way, the answer is, John McCain has seven homes. There’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America.
Translation: aw, snap.

Now I know I'm biased because I voted for Obama and all but I find it slightly funnier to prod McCain with this sort of thing, because old, cranky guys who you could easily see literally throwing you off their lawn. I think, if nothing else, that that explains the recent resurgence of prominent McCain supporter Wilford Brimley.

When people talk about "the tone in Washington" it's usually in the middle of a finger-wagging session about how Republicans and Democrats say mean things to each other sometimes. All that stuff about "sticking to the issues" and bipartanship and all that crap is fine, but as far as "tone" goes, I would happily settle for wannabe elected officials acting just slightly less pleased with themselves.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I wanna ride

Honestly, does there exist a more fun and grooveworthy song in the world than "Love Rollercoaster"?

Recently I learned that Red Hot Chili Peppers covered it a while back and I was apprehensive because I'm not really a fan of theirs. But, no, turns out it's awesome.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A tip for McCain supporters

While it's an easy enough portmanteau, "Nobama" makes for a pretty shitty chant considering the n is muffled when a crowd repeats it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Michael Cera: A Boy With Low Self-Esteem

You would probably agree that Michael Cera's new movie, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, will be approximately the most hipstery movie ever made. This thing just racks the points up:
  • it stars Michael Cera
  • it's about rock bands and high school misfits (but the smart, witty ones who no one actually dislikes all that much, not the ugly ones)
  • the IMDB page lists characters named "hipster" and "drunk hipster" (but I am sure those terms are intended ironically)
  • it takes place in Williamsburg
  • people express their love via songs that other people wrote
  • I dunno but I would bet that there is probably some Of Montreal on the soundtrack (though I'm probably really far behind the times, those guys haven't been cool even before those Outback commercials)
  • it has the word "playlist" in the title, which has only actually been a word in widespread use for like three years
This movie makes me worry for everyone's favorite skinny awkward under-25 Canadian comic actor, because I feel like I've already seen where this is going.

Depending on who you ask, Garden State was a pretty good movie or the most moving and cathartic emotional experience since the Passion, but either way it's hard, in retrospect, to not look at it as pretty masturbatory. Zach Braff knew what he was doing. He turned that movie into a Big Hipster Thing--perhaps the biggest, most widespread Hipster Thing we had seen to date--by bringing a small but devoted fanbase of a tragically underappreciated TV show (no, another one) along for the ride by chatting them up in a witty and emotive blog, in which he stopped posting the moment the DVD dropped. Now he makes this crap because the twentysomething-in-existential-crisis bit wears thin when you're on the other side of 30. And just as Garden State doesn't hold up all that well to a second viewing, once he's done playing his best character after this season and we all start realizing that, really, Zach Braff is actually kind of an unlikable tool, he isn't going to have much of a career.

Cera has more comic acting talent than most anyone, let alone Braff, which is why it's frustrating to read that he's being kind of a tool, too. On the one hand, it's pretty easy to see why he doesn't want to do the movie--he probably guessed that another 90 minutes of George Michael Bluth would mean he'll be to be typecast into eternity. On the other, that "you guys should be happy with the DVDs" quip made me want to kick his scrawny ass. Part of my frustration (okay, most of it) is disappointment that there's yet one more obstacle to the movie, but much of it comes from the fact that he's seriously selling himself short if he's worried, as it seems, that he'll be prematurely branded. He's too good to follow the Braff route, so he damn well shouldn't be putting himself on it. There's no need for Cera to be Zach Braff when he can just as easily be Jim Carrey--spending a while doing the crap that the crowds eat up that put him on the map before cranking out some Oscar-worthy stuff.

So come on, Mikey, stop being a prick and do the goddamn movie. You're young enough that you can afford a few months of self-loathing. You'll make a shit-ton of money, it'll be easy since you already did the role for three years, and you'll make the people who made you famous happy. Best of all, you can go right back to making your indie bullshit after you're done and people will still think you're a Serious Actor, because the same people who loved Arrested Development are the ones who are going to pay to see Nick and Norah. I'll probably be there opening weekend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NEW RULE

you don't get to "report" a "controversy" while in the process of creating it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This post is a slap in the face!

Isn’t it actually considerably more insulting to Hillary Clinton (and to women in general) to presume that she’s some kind of hypersensitive shrinking violet who feels snubbed by everything always? And isn’t it pretty offensive to Clinton’s professionalism to believe, as the HillaryIs44 people do, that she’s being completely disingenuous in her support for Obama (isn’t that what they accuse him of?) and is really just winking in their direction?

Hillary’s a big girl. She’s not an emo highschooler who cries when the popular kids make fun of her. She’s fine.

I mean honestly. Vote for Obama or don't, but really, you guys are dragging your pal way down.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Attn: white people: fuck more! (pt. 2)

With the news that the browns and blacks will soon combine, Megazord-like, to statistically pwn the white majority, it's fun to watch people scramble to justify such a horror.

It's 'cause abortion!
After reading a half dozen articles concerning the majority/minority status of citizens in the United States, and noting that all of them projected the white race will become a minority by 2042, one vital fact seemed to have been ignored. A question arises as to why Caucasians in our country are drifting into a minority status so rapidly. Not a single comment was cited or even hinted that the white race is ABORTING itself into an eventual state of extinction.
Funny, and here I was thinking it was the black drug addict welfare queens who <3 abortion. It's all bullshit, of course, and it doesn't take someone of WorldNetDaily-esque intellect to figure that out. But I don't mean to bring down Jacob Sullum for doing me that courtesy:

But ethnic and racial minorities already comprise a majority of the nation's population. The current U.S. population is about 300 million. There are roughly 46 million Hispanic Americans, 40 million African Americans, 35 million Irish Americans, 16 million Italian Americans, 15 million Asian Americans, 10 million Polish Americans, 3 million Greek Americans, and 3 million Russian Americans. That's a majority right there, and I've left out a bunch of ethnic groups.
Well naturally. In 2042, we will still be fearfully discussing how white people are soon to be a minority, simply because the definitions of "white" and "majority" will continue to shift for convenience's sake, like it always has.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Attn: white people: fuck more! (pt. 1)

Hey white people, stop oppressing me for a few minutes and read up: in a few more years, you might be your own special kind of minority. The NYT confirms it: soon enough, ethnic and racial minorities will form a combined majority of the population. They've been writing this shit since I was a kid so I would have guessed it either would've happened by now or that even the most racist fucks would've begun to come to grips with the notion.

But life is hard when you're white, rich, and paranoid, so it just doesn't work out that easily. Thank God you have a blog so you don't have to keep the stuff of your most haunting nightmares to yourself.

Whenever news like this causes just such a freakout, it's usually best to ignore the halfhearted cries for full on racial warfare that still come from increasingly isolated fringes. Frankly I prefer they be left alone to smear shit on each other's faces in peace. Makes it easier for all of us, really.

Rather than just concede that they're pissed off that the blacks and browns are outfucking them, most onlookers are expressing their irritation by cunningly diverting their fear of change into a fear of widespread social ills that they usually had preferred to ignore but which are convenient to pull out if it helps to bring those guys down a notch. Take John Derbyshire, star commentator of the premiere conservative publication, the National Review, who totally understands race; he watches the VH1 after all:

The black-white test gap seems to be intractable. Hispanic school success has been tracked across four generations, with depressing results [...].

So… in order to ensure we don't end up mid-century with "a very, very poor disposable class that's largely black or brown," we merely have to do a thing that nobody knows how to do.

Perhaps we could produce time travel, cold fusion, and personal immortality while we're at it?

Dick.

Call me a skeptic but I don't really think that Derb's heartfelt concern here is for the millions of undereducated nonwhite children running around. His heartfelt concern is that the millions of undereducated nonwhite children might one day try to steal his Blackberry.

So okay, blacks and Hispanics will never catch up to white kids, ergo more of them = bad. Never mind extreme economic disparities, underfunded and overcrowded schools, unemployment rates, or underpaid teachers. Forget all that shit: something is just wrong with those people--but we're a mainstream publication, so we can't just say that, but you know what we mean, wink nudge.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

coconuts

A while back my mom came and looked over my shoulder while I was filling out college applications online. "Hispanic?" she asked, noting that the little box under "race/ethnicity" ws checked.

"Yeah," I answered. "What else would I be?"

"Jon, we're white."

Which is technically true, I guess, even if I don't self-identify as such. Not that that really means anything: for every fellow Spanish-speaking guy whose skin is darker than mine, there's another two or three people who make conversation by correctly assuming I speak the language just by looking at me. Maybe I'm white, but I'm probably not white white.

My mom's reaction to "Hispanic" isn't unusual. As Richard Rodriguez notes, it was more or less invented by the Nixon administration and it has no real historical basis, so I consider resistance to such an imposition to be perfectly valid.

I don't mind "Hispanic." I'm aware that it was basically invented for people like me (not connected enough with Latin America that a foreign sounding word like "Latino" seems perfect, but not quite able to get away without a modifier for "American") but whatever sense of authenticity it might lack, it's still about as accurate as you're gonna get, precisely because it was invented for me. Not any less American, but something else, too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Very short story

I was walking to the grocery store when a guy hit me opening his car door.

"Ow," I said.

"Watch it," he said, getting in.

I thought I might get angry, but I decided instead to rest content in the knowledge that my dog had peed on his car an hour ago.

housekeeping

New Blog. Hi.

Still working on layout and logistical things like the title and whether I use an alias or anything like that. Suggestions?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Against our parents

Here's a post yesterday over at Daily Kos. I've appreciated the hell out of Kos lending his considerable voice and influence to the three SoFla congressional races and his enthusiasm for the candidates there, Annette Taddeo, Raul Martinez, and Joe Garcia. He seems to get the frustration over the fact that my beloved hometown is represented by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart.

(And, I note paranthetically, it's a great post. Garcia deserves the recognition he's gotten from all the lefty blogs. He's a Cuban Democrat who's had the unenviable task of reforming the Cuban American National Foundation, which had been basically a local arm of the GOP for most of my life, when they put Garcia in charge. He's got solid name ID and good fundraising. I look forward to him wiping the floor with Mario D-B in November.)

So Kos's heart is in the right place, but I still had a moment there where I reacted just like when some stoner or college freshman or Michael Moore takes time to tell me why Castro's not such a bad guy and that he does a lot of really cool things for his people, dude, like give them awesome awesome health care and education and the fascist American government really has a thing or two to learn from guys like him. (I'm paraphrasing.) Whenever someone brings up
the corrupt Cuban exile community
I have to pause for a second. Obviously Kos was really referring to that one extremely active and right-wing minority of a minority of a minority; he's not trying to slur Cubans and Cuban-Americans. I also know that Kos will recall that younger generations, recent exiles included, of Cuban Americans are not as reflexively Republican as their parents are and that Florida's Cuban population is decreasing in proportion to other Hispanics. That terminology wouldn't have given me the slightest pause had he worded it just a bit differently, but written as it was I cringed. These may be extreme, radical, frequently racist malcontents we're talking about, but fuck it, man, these are still mi gente. Why, even though I know better, do I keep getting the nagging feeling that liberals are scapegoating Cubans?

I'm pretty sure it's just me. It's the same reason that the phrase "non-Cuban Hispanic" is fairly prevalent. It's why, every election season, pollsters take the time to separate Cuban respondents from Hispanic voting stats when they're polling Florida. Kos can say this, and it's not wrong even if it does aggravate me, because the definition of the Cuban In America is so intrinsically political in nature that it's become unnecessary to even bother acknowledging details and small contradictions. "Cuban exile" is as loaded a term as "NASCAR Dad"--somewhere, sure, there exists a prototypical one of those that prays to the holy trinity of Christ, Reagan, and Junior. But for the sake of convenience, we can ignore everyone else who shares the experience but not the perspective, since the sample we have is at least somewhat representative.

We can lump the Cuban exile community together because for decades they've lumped themselves together as such a reliable voting bloc. I guess what bugs me is circumstantial: it happens to be that at this historical moment "the corrupt Cuban exile community" is slowly ceasing to be a meaningful descriptor. I want to be able to love the Cuban exile and hate the corrupt community, but it's tough when the words are jumbled all the wrong way.

You can probably tell how conflicted I am by all this. By our very nature many of my generation combat the common wisdom, which is to say we can embrace our Cubanness as loudly as we reject our grandparents' politics. Of course, many of them would reply that I can't have it both ways, and I find myself too often unsure whether or not they might be right.