By Pierre Berastain
As I heard Marco Rubio’s speech at the Republican National Convention, I was shocked by his words of hypocrisy. I recently came out as an undocumented student in the United States, and for me–a fellow Hispanic–Marco Rubio’s words were insulting. Senator Rubio’s message portrays an America of inclusivity, where dreams are possible. We are a land of endless opportunity that cares not about the color of the skin, but about the tenacity of the spirit.
Senator Rubio, American is just that, which is why I am convinced your party–the Republican Party–is fundamentally anti-American. Your party claims endless opportunity for all. Where is my opportunity to participate in my community? Are two Harvard degrees and a promise of a life in public service not enough for you? What else must I do to prove myself to your party?
I would like to take a look at a few excerpts from Senator Rubio’s speech at the RNC:
My mother was one of seven girls whose parents went to bed hungry so their children wouldn’t. My father lost his mother when he was nine. He left school and went to work for the next 70 years.
They emigrated to America with little more than the hope of a better life.
My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a maid and a stock clerk at K-Mart. They never made it big. They were never rich. And yet they were successful. Because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that had been impossible for them.
Many nights I heard my father’s keys jingling at the door as he came home after another 16-hour day. Many mornings, I woke up just as my mother got home from the overnight shift at K-Mart
When you’re young, the meaning of moments like these escapes you. But now, as my own children get older, I understand it better.
My Dad used to tell us: “En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos” “In this country, you will be able to accomplish all the things we never could.”
A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.
He was grateful for the work he had, but that’s not the life he wanted for us.
He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.
That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we’re exceptional not because we have more rich people here.
We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, come true here.
Senator Rubio, my father stood under the Texas heat, moving boxes and furniture for wealthy people. Sometimes, they would not even offer him a glass of water. He, too, worked over sixteen-hour days. My father would come home with his blue uniform soaked, discolored from the salt he perspired onto his shirt. He worked (and still works) until his knees could no longer hold him so that one day I could attend Harvard and do the work I love. Never–not even as a child–did the sacrifices of my parents escape me. America is special, indeed, because this is a land where we are free to dream. However, dreams do not always come true. Where is my DREAM, sir?
That’s not just my story. That’s your story. That’s our story.
It’s the story of your mother who struggled to give you what she never had.
It’s the story of your father who worked two jobs so doors closed for him would open for you
Yes sir it is the story of my father, of my mother, so why does your party oppose the DREAM Act? Why does your nominee say that he would veto my DREAM? My father worked two jobs so doors closed to him would remain open for me. Now your party wants to close those doors.
Senator Rubio, the values you speak of are values I treasure, but do not stand at a podium and tell the world you and your party live to uphold those values. We see through this façade. Do not think Governor Romney can just bring a Latino on stage and convince people his party is inclusive. Your party holds profoundly xenophobic policies.