In looking at the upcoming November elections, where many important initiatives are up for a vote. A new governor will be elected, and here in San Diego, councilmembers and a supervisor job is on the line, I thought about why there is so much apathy for something that affects so many?
I grew up in Miami in a very political Cuban American family and very early on, I had the opportunity to be very proactive and opinionated about politics. Family debate was encouraged, although it got very loud, and at times it seemed like I would be the black sheep of the family forever (I am a liberal, my family is conservative). The one thing though that was understood in my family and in my community was this:
- That the growth of the Cuban American community in Miami came from the very loud and proactive voice of the community and thus leading to taking major leadership positions in Miami.
Just about every Cuban that I have spoken with in
Miami, considers politics and voting to be absolutely important; entire families go to the polls; I never dared return home without voting.
I understand that different cultures have different ways of expressing their place in the community and in addressing change in the community. Apathy however, is not a solution; it simply contributes to the problem of misrepresentation.
For me, being political is a way of life, and very early on it was encouraged. Participating in the political process is in my humble opinion absolutely essential to any community to enact chan
ge. Now I am not saying that Cuban Americans are any better at politics or better US citizens than any group here in San Diego, but, just to demonstrate impact here is a interesting statistic:
Cuban Americans began coming to Miami in earnest in around 1959....
By the mid-1980s, the mayors of Miami, Hialeah, West Miami, and several smaller municipalities were Cuban-born, and there were ten Cuban Americans in the state legislature.
There are several contributing factors beyond the voting booth, but the fact is...people went to the voting booth.
So, although we are not talking about the Cuban American community (which has the highest voter turnout among all Hispanic groups in the U.S.) I am talking about participation. So, go out and vote in November! If you are not registered, register here.
Thanks for reading, and go to sdaff.org for more information about our Reel In The Vote PSA contest!