Oct 222011

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via flickr

Over the course of the last week I’ve heard several reports about how Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio may have “embellished” a bit over the course of many interviews in which he discussed his family history. The story, as he told it, was that his parents came over from Cuba in 1959 to get away from the Castro regime. The problem is that his parents actually came over in 1956, before Castro was even IN Cuba.

Senator Rubio has stated in recent interviews that his family had always intended to return to Cuba but that Castro being in power prevented them from doing so. He also points out that he was simply repeating “family lore.” One reporter, however, has noted that Senator Rubio has always been very clear on the fact that his brother was six years old when his family came over from Cuba, and his brother was born in 1950. Either Senator Rubio is horrible at basic arithmetic or he “embellished” to make his family history more sympathetic to Cuban-American voters.

If you don’t live in Florida you probably don’t understand how likely the latter scenario is. The whole Cuba issue is a pretty big deal down here, and the Cuban-American exile community is very influential in our politics (especially in the Miami-Dade area of the state). The three year gap between those moves could possibly represent two very different political realities to those voters. Someone who moved over in 1956 could be seen as a deserter who fled the country during a time of need and inadvertently helped create the environment that let Castro take power in the first place. Someone who moved over in 1959, however, could represent the huge number of people who faced persecution under the Castro regime. There are, obviously, countless other scenarios that could have inspired someone to leave their home country at any particular time, but Senator Rubio himself brought the political reasons into this so it is fair to assume that, whatever the real reason was, the political mood in Cuba had something to do with his family feeling their homeland.

The long story short here is that it’s fairly safe to say that Rubio made up some shit about his past in order to help him get elected.

I’m waiting for someone to tell me what the big deal about this is.

Really, people. Politicians lie. They do it every day. They might call it a “misstatement” or blame it on a memory lapse. They might avoid answering questions altogether, or they may even just be unable to tell the truth for legitimate reasons. The bottom line is that they lie because you, the voters, can’t handle the truth.

The fact of the matter is that people make stupid decisions in their lives that they later regret. Hell, in this modern age that’s becoming much more prevalent. You show me a teenager that isn’t on Facebook and I’ll show you a teenager who might have a chance holding a public office sometime in the next twenty years. We hold politicians to this insane standard of purity and we’re shocked to discover that they aren’t actually as saintly as they professed to be.

Look at the Anthony Weiner situation. Weiner was taking pictures of his junk and sharing them with sharing them with women over the internet. Yeah, you know what? That’s a pretty crappy thing for a married dude to do. No doubt about it. We’re so uptight and judgmental as a society, though, that he thought it was too risky for him to admit he was busted and own up to making a stupid mistake. Instead he thought it was wiser for him to claim he had been hacked and even hint that it had been done so for political reasons.

Let’s be clear on this – He lied because he felt it was the only thing he could to save his political career.

Never mind his politics. Never mind the way he votes. Never mind the fact that the people in his district thought that he was the best person for the job. Nope. He didn’t think any of that could save him. He was sure that a picture of his boxers was going to end his career so he tried to lie his way out of it.

This is the monster we’ve created, people. By being so obsessed with what our politicians do outside of their role as an elected official we’ve created this environment in which it is nearly impossible for someone to simply be who they really are and still get elected. Our Emperors have no clothes, and we’re all standing there watching them parade down the street and screaming at them that they better make sure we don’t see them naked. We focus on these bullshit issues and they run the gamut of the news cycle and we shift our focus away from paying attention to what these people are actually DOING up there.

So, Senator Rubio, I just wanted to say that I don’t care one way or another whether or not your parents came over in 1956. I accept the fact that you probably “embellished” the truth a bit in order to prevent your family from looking like Castro sympathizers, and I understand it. I still don’t support you…well…pretty much at all. But I’m sorry that you’re the latest politician who is being called out for simply playing the game the way the electorate forced you to.


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