Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in Cuba

By Charles E. "Chuck" Marshall

Merry Christmas to you all, loyal readers !

There is a lot of talk right now in the media about Cuba and the President's decision to establish more normalized relations with the island country to our south.  This topic is more of a personal issue to me since my wife immigrated from Cuba back in 1985, two months shy of her 13th birthday.  The topic of Castro and the Cuban government is frequently the subject of family gatherings such as Christmas and other holidays.  So, I guess you could say I may have more insight than most gringos.

First of all, let me say that it's obvious that since my wife's family fled Cuba with nothing but the clothes on their back that they are not endeared towards the communist government.  That being said, they are also proud of  Cuba's natural beauty, its rich musical heritage and the thriving educated community that it once was before the communists came in and 'fixed" the inequality.  True to all communist track records, they equalized everyone and they are now all equally dirt poor.  

My wife gets upset discussing Cuba because she feels most people don't understand the situation.  She gets frustrated when she remarks to people that she didn't have a Christmas when she was a child and they give her a puzzled face. "They don't understand" she remarks,  There was no Santa Claus, no presents, no feasts, and going to church was allowed but frowned upon.  Sometimes it could land you in jail if you made the wrong remark about Christmas or Christianity.  All power is from the government and any allusion to other ideas- even one of a peaceful savior who taught of love and forgiveness - are not allowed.  Simple minded people don't understand that, and so that's how the vultures  of totalitarianism sink their talons into the heart of freedom of speech and assembly.      Many Americans hear that there is no Democracy or freedom in other countries such as Cuba but they really don't "get" it.  This, to me,  is simply a reflection of lazy parenting and a failed education system.  The strength of our democracy depends on instructing our children regarding the superiority of democracy and the consequences of releasing freedoms to the government.   In most cases, with Cuba being an excellent example, there is no turning back if things don't work out once you've ceded your power as a citizen back to the government in the interest of "equality", "security" or political party.  In this case the communist party, but it is not such a stretch to see how our own political parties here in America have maneuvered the process of governing much to their favor at the expense of fair representation  (as this blog has repeatedly remarked).

All that being said, what about  normalizing relations with Cuba?    This, in my view, is an entirely different question.  I think you have to look at the core issue and try to remove the emotion and incorporate rational thought when it comes to policy towards a foreign nation.  We are not Cuba, we are the United States of America.   Cuba is not going to change on its own.  Some leaders like Senator Marco Rubio (Florida  R) believe we're rewarding the Castro government and the communists.  I believe over the years that our refusal to deal with the Cuban government has morphed into  more of a political football, a football used both here in the US and in Cuba.  The USA's politicians use it to posture for winning Florida in the presidential elections and also as another "us vs them" strategy between the Republicans and the Democrats.  The Cuban dictatorship, on the other hand,  uses it as a scapegoat.... "what is wrong with our country is the fault of the American embargo".  So, in a nutshell., I support a change in policy towards Cuba for the simple fact that what we've been doing for 50 years has not worked.  It only serves to support the cronies on both sides of the Florida straits.  It's not working, so let's try something else.   This is a logical conclusion even without bringing up  the hypocrisy of blocking out Cuba but embracing  China and Vietnam-  two other totalitarian- communist nations with which we are all too happy do business.

In My humble Opinion......


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Media Enable Conflict

By Charles E. "Chuck" Marshall

As much as I like to bash our political parties, I often think it's important to remember that there is an enabler in our midst that fuels the fire of contempt that both parties have for each other.  The media.  Specifically, the television media.  As I watched the Ferguson, Mo. fiasco last  month, I was sincerely disgusted by the media as they prowled around Ferguson, their faces quivering with anticipation over the coming fury.  I watched after the Grand Jury's decision as they paced like caged lions.  "What's going to happen, because this isn't good?" they all lamented very nearly unable to contain their glee.  It was obvious that if nothing did happen they would be very disappointed.

This behavior is one of the reasons nothing gets done in Washington.  The media is most interested in the conflict, not the problems to be solved.   In a nutshell, I believe the media is lazy and greedy and "dumbing" down the topic at hand is in their best interest..... unfortunately for us.

I recently had one of my letters published in the opinion page of the Orlando Sentinel regarding this very issue.  In response to a letter writer that referred to the Republicans as uncaring and void of any new ideas.  I essentially agreed with his entire letter, but I kept thinking about Ferguson, Mo. and I realized that just because the media doesn't report any ideas doesn't mean that there aren't any new ideas.  Since the focus is on the fight, nothing of substance is discussed... only the fight.  So, in a way the entire disgusting partisan politics we see in our government can be equally blamed on the media as it is on the lame-brained political parties and their idiot "leaders".  

Here is the letter printed in the Orlando Sentinel on Dec. 5, 2104.

Media enable conflict
   Letter-writer David Cruise on Thursday criticized the Republicans for not having ideas or compassion. I couldn’t agree more with his assessment as it looks on the surface. I do wonder, however, if this isn’t more a failing of their public-relations tactics than a lack of ideas or compassion.
   The Republicans do have ideas and are not heartless, soulless creatures, but their ideas tend to get marginalized by the “fight” story. The media are selling the fight. As much as the two parties have failed us, the media (particularly television) are the ringmasters for this circus and tend toward simple solutions that are easier for the public to digest rather than the more-complex solutions that would probably be more effective.
   TV tends to stir the pot and provoke (witness Ferguson, Mo). The media gain eyeballs from partisan politics, and we all suffer for our fascination with conflict.
   Charles E. “Chuck” Marshall Clermont

In my humble opinion...........