A few months ago I was invited to an intimate lunch reception at Gaviña and Sons Coffee Roasters. As you well know, I never turn down an opportunity to visit them as it's always a wonderful time, so I went.
The guest of honor was none other than Senator Marco Rubio. He was in town trying to make a Big Decision and was wanting to connect with the Cuban community here.
Again, it was a relatively small group (as these things go) and we waited patiently for his arrival, made easier by the generous donation of Cuban pastries by Gigi's Bakery, but that's not important right now.
The Senator came in and asked not to be videotaped as he was just talking with us "entre familia." (As family.)
And he spoke to us from his heart.
He answered every single question thoughtfully and not at all like you would imagine a politician would. He was genuinely wrestling with big questions, big policies, big problems and said so. He didn't know for sure at the time, but was considering a presidential run.
His family was the biggest factor in this decision.
He spoke in both English and Spanish as many of us Cuban Americans do in our own homes and with our people. I just loved that.
Picture a group of loud, enthusiastic, opinionated Cubans asking tough questions and pushing for serious answers. I was more impressed than ever that the Senator held his own with us.
And when he was finished, he stopped and smiled and took a moment and a photo with every single person in attendance. I was super impressed by this. Of course, we all loved every minute of it.
The lunch was catered by a local Cuban restaurant (of course) and it was right at the moment I sat down to eat and catch my breath and Senator Rubio was behind me getting his food that I thought, "A Cuban-American may actually be President of the United States one day."
And then the tears began.
He sat down at our table and I was too overcome to even speak. Here was a wonderful embodiment of the fruit of the sacrifices of our Cuban parents. They came here to America to find a better life and hopefully give their children more opportunities.
Also, how crazy is it that at the very moment that HE SAT DOWN AT OUR TABLE that I was overwhelmed and weepy and unable to speak. *sigh*
All of this hit home yesterday as Senator Rubio made his announcement that he would indeed seek the GOP nomination for President of the United States.
Here's a two minute recap from Bloomberg.
Let me be perfectly clear: I have no crystal ball or way to predict what will happen over the next 18 months, but I'm super happy and proud that so far there are 3 GOP contenders for the Republican nomination and two are of Cuban descent.
Of course, that's not a reason to vote for anyone. My point in taking the time to write about this today is that it's a big deal for those of us whose families came here fleeing tyranny and hoping for a better tomorrow. Here's one of our own chasing the biggest office in the land. Go, Marco, go!
From his speech yesterday:
"I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those that come from power and privilege." ~Marco Rubio
I'm also super delighted that I got to be present as history was being made when the Senator spoke to us from his heart about his vision and his profound belief that America is indeed an exceptional country. It's been way too long since we've heard that articulated from the seats of power in this land.
It's a proud and wonderful moment and I'm going to swim around in it until my fingers get all pruney.
As the daughter of a Cuban engineer and a housewife who came here looking for a new life, I too have dreams for a wonderful future for my own family.
Also, the Senator takes a great selfie.
Please visit the Senator's website to get involved in this historic campaign. MarcoRubio.com
I'm not looking for a debate here. I'm just telling my own stories. Please be kind.