Thursday, August 26, 2004

Florida Latino Vote Affected?

When a Miami area hispanic man tries to burn himself alive after hearing about the death of his eldest son, a GI in Iraq, will Cuban-American voters, or Latino voters in general, be affected? Could Florida swing the other way because of an event like this?

Bush is always playing politics with Miami-based Cuban-Americans - denouncing Cuba and all that fun stuff, but I'm curious if this kind of tragedy hits especially hard the Cuban-Americans, who I suspect (albeit, out of my ignorance), place a very strong emphasis on family. Personally, I don't want to think about what this father is going through - too brutal.

I don't understand why some Cubans (about half of the Cuban population in the Miami area, apparently) think talking trash about Cuba and encouraging Bush to further tighten the harsh economic sanctions against the tiny island nation is a good thing. Do they think they're helping the people in their homeland? Do they think they're hastening the demise of Fidel? Didn't we learn from Iraq that it's not the dictator who suffers but his people?

Regardless, I'm curious if an event like this hits home powerfully enough to shake a Bush supporter. Most Bush/war supporters would say of the now-dead GI, 'he was a brave guy', 'he did his duty', 'yadda yadda yadda', but it's obvious that the family doesn't think too highly of Bush's war of choice - with the soldier's mom saying 'They should stop this now. They send them like guinea pigs over there.'

I bring up Cuban voters because they're in a crucial swing state, they are presumably 'swingable', and this event happened in the Miami area, whose population is 'heavily Cuban'. But could an event like this swing Latino voters all over the state, all over the country? What about non-Latinos? I'm not sure what it takes to wake people up to the fact that war is not all fun - that people actually die - and that it's not only the injured and dying that suffer - it's their family and friends back home that suffer too.

Incidentally, the 'Bush playing politics' link above says that Bush's more hardline stance against Cuba has actually decreased his support among the Cuban population in Florida from 80+ percent to 60+ percent. If that's so, why did he do it? Money? Money is important, sure, but votes are important, too. I can't imagine that Rove would allow legislation like this to pass without sufficient focus groups to be able to predict how the Cuban electorate would react, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what the ulterior motive was.

The police will not decide whether or not to charge the father, nor what to charge him with, until they figure out how badly he disfigured himself. How's that for a bad day at the office? First-born son dies in a phony war orchestrated by a spoiled brat and his crime family, burn yourself severely over 50% of your body - with all the fun that burn recovery entails, and get to await arrest, possible detention, lawyers, courtrooms, possible jail time, and $20 grand or so for that van you torched. Oh, and don't forget about the grieving process for your son - you'll have to find time to do that, too. And hope your marriage doesn't fall apart in the process. And hope you don't get hooked on anti-depressants.

Phew - too much.

Worst. President. Ever.

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