Florida is flat. You see the sky in a different way. Yesterday it was blue, a baby powder blue that reminded me of being a kid. I used to spend my summers here. Didn’t realize until I got older that it was my saving grace. No cooped up in a hot and humid Brooklyn apartment hearing the kids play outside and me watching TV inside. No, it was swimming in my Madrina’s pool for hours and hours with my cousin and chasing dragon flies.
Yesterday, I volunteered for Obama. It wasn’t as glamourous as I thought it would be. I didn’t get to dress up in my sequins gowns and play Barbarita. Door to door I wanted to convince Floridians that with the powers of Amor Cubano they too can vote for Barack Obama. I left my gold heels and dress at home and went door to door hanging Obama posters reminding people to vote. I had a list of where to go and they were mostly democrats or independents but there were some blocks that made me a little scared. Like the houses that had ropes hanging from trees which I am sure is for a kid’s swing or something but Florida is still the South.
Generally people were nice if they came to door. I really didn’t have to interact with anybody but sometimes they just wanted to know who is this lady putting a door hanger on my door. One woman saw it and said she wouldn’t take it. Ok, have a nice day and I moved on. The sun was strong and it was annoying driving up to a place getting out of the car putting a door hanger on the door and doing the same thing all over again. I wondered if I was wasting more gas that way. Pero I figured if this is what Obama needs I will do it. Only a few hours. The sun was beating on me and I wondered how people work in farms and doing construction. I wondered how my people endured the sun all day to put food on the table. So, of course I felt bad complaining to myself about putting door hangers on houses and getting beat up by the sun because it was to help improve this country. Barbarita in all her sequins might have handled it better since she chopped sugarcanes and stuff.
I got home and Papi was napping because even after retirement by dad still works. He leaves the house by 5am. The Cabreras are workaholics. All of us have been working since we were kids. When we have more work we are happy about it. More money, less stress maybe a trip at the end. My papi says that why not work now he will rest in the grave. My sweetie says the same thing. Damn, they are so much alike. My great aunt who is 91 years old and a Republican wakes up my dad from his nap to tell him that Obama is a socialist, some people call him the Messiah, that he is Muslim and he wasn’t even born here. The good nephew that my dad is never wants to argue with my Tia and just says that he doesn’t get involved with politics but it really doesn’t matter if he was Muslim and there is no way he was not born here because then he couldn’t run for president. He doesn’t tell her he has already voted for Obama and tries to change the conversation. I go to her house knowing that I too should have to keep my mouth shut so I pray beforehand that they don’t bring up politics at all. Or religion because then I would really have to say something.
Today is a monumental day. I am with my family for Election Day. I remember many years ago my papi dropped me off at my apartment on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn. He stopped the car and parked to tell me a story. My dad is full of stories and sermons. I braced myself it felt like it would be a long one. He told me that he was listening to Pacifica Radio one day and there was a program on African civilization. And he learned all these things Africans accomplished way before the Europeans. And as he was telling me this while tears streamed down his face and he told me, I never knew that we were that smart. And I watched my dad cry and sob and I thought of him only able to go to two years of schooling, I thought of him growing up in the countryside believing that he was not as good as white people, that he was not that smart, I thought about how he was not the only one that wasn’t taught about the prosperity of African civilizations. And there is a nervousness and tension inside of us awaiting for what will happen. But so much has happened already. And even though it is happening I am in disbelief sometimes that Barack Obama is running for president. I doesn’t fully register. Because somewhere deep inside like my dad I can’t believe that we can do. We’ve been told for so long that we can’t do it. And I know better, I know better, I KNOW better. WE CAN. And no child should ever believe that we can’t do it. No grown person should ever believe that we can’t do it. Podemos, pa ‘lante siempre.
It is a blessing I am with my family right now. It is moments like these that I know that coming to Florida is important.
Vote Obama today!