My good friend and neighbor in Florida Robert Moreno sent me this fantastic video.
Bob emigrated from South America and became a banker after college. He traveled extensively to all parts of the Spanish speaking world to facilitate business opportunities in Latin America - bringing prosperity to many who had been without it. He is a happy family man and grandfather with successful children and was president of our homeowners association in Florida. He is a Republican and this is what I have to say to him:
This video left me in stitches and reminds me that so many times in the process of an election we forget to keep all things in perspective and take a moment to be grateful for the wonderful gifts we have and the opportunity to laugh at ourselves. I know that, to you, voting is a particular gift. You grew up in a dictatorship where people could disappear, if they disagreed, and half of native-born Americans don't even exercise their precious gift of voting. They take their freedom and opportunity for granted and that is an American national disgrace.
So, while it would never cross my mind to suggest which party you should vote for I do ask that you consider, carefully, the propositions on the Florida Ballot. As you know me as, I hope, a good neighbor; we worked side by side through the aftermath of hurricanes helping our neighbors with chain saws and brute strength to recover following the storms. Nothing made me happier than to help you and our neighbors until exhaustion during that disaster.
This is what I would like to say. If you vote yes on Proposition 2 in Florida you are stating that I am a second class citizen of America. You are saying that I have fewer rights to care for, and make medical decisions for, my partner than your wife has for you or you have for her.
Religious fundamentalists have attempted to scare the bejesus out of ordinarily fair minded people suggesting that equality for one group is a cost to another. You, better than most, know what this is about as I know that you endured discrimination for being Hispanic when you came to America. But you overcame it because it was only an ignorant attitude and so is this one. Unfortunately this ignorant attitude is still enshrined in law.
I would be the last person in the world to go to a chapel and mimic a "wedding" because it is not my style nor my partner's style. I would choose to have a civil non-religious ceremony that gave me an absolute ability to make decisions for him just as your wife and partner has for you. As you know, my partner suffers from dementia and this single factor was the greatest reason I felt it necessary to leave the United States. When I went with him to the doctor in America, I had no weight in assisting to manage his care. Social Security does not recognize that I have any inherent rights whatsoever to help him. That, dear neighbor, is my disappointment with my country.
I, and many millions of mature Americans from coast to coast are in similar situations because we cannot form legally binding domestic partnerships with full recognition.
That is why I ask you to vote "no" on Proposition 2. California has a challenge to it's legalization of "marriage" and Florida is attempting to define marriage for us all. As a good Republican, I would expect you to want to tell the government to mind it's own damn business. Please, share this with all Republicans you know. I do not desire "special rights," but simply rights equal to what you can afford to take for granted my friend.
I am proud to know you Bob!