Monday, October 18, 2004

An Actor You Can Actually Respect

Not everyone in Hollywood is a commie - somehow Andy Garcia, of Cuban descent, made it there. Last night I saw his movie For Love or Country - the Arturo Sandoval Story, the story of the defection of the Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval to America in 1990. In one scene Dizzie Gillespie makes a call on Salvodar's behalf to VP Dan Quayle, and we are left with the impression that this was what got the job done. Good thing he made the attempt in 1990, rather than 1993 - you can just hear Gore on the other line saying things like "Look, Dizzie, we are trying to get socialized healthcare here in the states, but we are facing a lot of opposition from the Batista, er, I mean the Republicans. I would suggest that Mr. Sandoval stay in Cuba, and if I weren't VP right now, I might just join him there on that island paradise. Can you ask him to get me Cuban cigars - Bill seems to take all of the ones we get in the White House, which is curious, because I never see him smoking them."

Anyway, I highly recommend the movie, and would even suggest to the AG Ashcroft that he pin down Robert Redford, pry his eyes open with toothpicks Clockwork Orange style, and force him to watch it in a continuous loop for, oh, say, 10 years.

Speaking of Cuba, in watching the movie I was reminded of Elian Gonzalez, a victim of the Clinton administration. Here is what I wrote about Elian in the orginal print version of Ideas Hatched:

If the case for Elian Gonzalez' asylum rested entirely upon saving him from the possibility of being forcefully taken in the middle of the night and imprisoned for political reasons, than that case surely relies upon the same fate being an impossibility in America. What better way, then, for the Clinton administration to weaken Elian's case for asylum than by forcefully taking Elian in the middle of the night and imprisoning him for political reasons. And it was for political reasons, and despicable ones at that, as one can usually assume with Clinton. The law, contrary to the claims of the Justice Department, did not require forceful removal from the Miami relatives. Knowing now that such an operation is not only possible in Clinton's America, but also likely when he is at the helm, maybe we should all consider the choice between Clinton's America and Cuba a toss up.

A recent poll indicated the majority of Americans support the raid, telling us only that we have the president we so truly deserve. What is sad is that Cuban Americans deserve so much more from the leadership of this country than the average native born American. The best poll would be one querying only those living in Little Havana, that section of Miami where Cuban Americans, most of whom risked their lives for the freedoms the rest of us complacently take for granted, have made a new life for themselves and their families. They alone are fully competent to weigh the competing concerns involved: the costs to Elian in being separated from his father versus the costs to Elian of being reunited with his father at the price of his freedom. As family oriented as they are, there is little to suggest that Cuban Americans would underestimate the first cost, while there is plenty of evidence to suggest that most Americans woefully underestimate the second.

Any moment in our country's history that makes us more comparable, as a society, to Castro's Cuba, should be considered one of our saddest moments. Many on the left, however, would regard such a moment as fantastic progress on our part. These people have proven themselves entirely incompetent to judge the value of the freedoms they take for granted. Eleanor Clift, who writes for Newsweek, made the statement that Elian would probably be better off in Cuba than in America. Chevy Chase makes the statement that Cuba proves that socialism can work. Charles Rengel, accurately representing the sentiments of many minority members of Congress, embraces Castro with a loving hug when inviting him to speak in poor districts of Harlem. And yet, each and every year, the socialist paradise of Cuba witnesses the curious exodus of hundreds who risk life and limb on rickety makeshift boats, just to reach the shores of a country that, in the eyes of America's Castro supporters (and they are many), is corrupted to the core by racism to which Cubans would surely not be immune.

One cannot be enthralled by Castro's regime without at the same time hating the United States. And it is a preference for Castro's communism that has led many on the left to fully support reuniting Elian with his father in Cuba. One surely cannot claim that those on the left, who recognize no rights for a father to obstruct the aborting of a child that is both his and his mother's, are motivated in this case by a commitment to any natural rights of fathers. In fact, the competing concerns so truly understood by Cuban Americans are viewed as a win-win by Castro's supporters: not only does the kid get be with his father, he also gets to live in the worker's paradise. Once returned to the worker's paradise, Elian will have the lifelong pleasure of being monitored closely by classmates and neighbors who will report any behavior or comments he might make that suggests he does not support a government that will never be of his, or any other Cuban citizen's, choice. If he is ever to enjoy the standard of living that he could easily enjoy in the U.S., it will only be through being a loyal CP member himself, which involves monitoring and reporting suspicious behavior of those around him.

Cuban Americans are a very curious ethnic minority. They are Catholic, they tend to vote Republican, and they tend to be pro-life. No wonder, than, that those on the left are describing Little Havana as a banana republic, and doing their level best to demonize Cuban Americans as extremists with respect to the current controversy. The very presence of Cuban Americans, given what they have risked to arrive on the shores of Florida, and their subsequent economic success, repudiates two fundamental tenets of liberalism: that racism is a prevalent barrier to economic success in the U.S., and that socialism can create a more just society.

The government has even trotted out an expert psychologist who, without meeting either Elian or his Miami relatives, has made the statement that Elian is effectively being held hostage and that his environment is extremely detrimental to his mental health. Awaiting Elian in Cuba upon his return is a beautiful beachfront villa (the likes of which can only be owned in Cuba by those high in the Communist party) in which he will be temporarily housed along with a team of psychologists, who will no doubt re-educate Elian and coax from him his memories of being abused at the hands of his Miami relatives. To ease his transition, the villa will also house a dozen or so classmates who, regardless of the wishes of their parents, will be moved from their homes. The fate that awaits Elian in Cuba, where he will now be treated as an important political symbol and a pawn in Castro's regime, is apparently considered a healthy environment for the mental health of Elian. A father free to speak his mind would not wish the fate that awaits Elian in Cuba on his son. If part of his childhood was ripped from him in witnessing the death of his mother, his only chance at retaining some normalcy in his life is through staying in Miami.

In one respect, the Elian case provides a fitting closing chapter to Janet Reno's horrendous career. She came to prominence in Florida largely through prosecuting parents for sexually abusing their children in what is rightly considered the Salem witch trials of the 20th century. Children were essentially coached to remember being sexually abused, and were then removed from their parents. She justified use of the ATF in Waco based upon thin allegations that children within the compound were being abused. Blaring music into the compound for several days in a row apparently did not constitute abuse. And finally incinerating those children was, again, not abuse. And now, with the support of some moronic psychologist, Janet Reno has rescued little Elian from an abusive situation. There is no greater predictor that a child will be subject to future abuse than the suspicion on the part of Janet Reno that the child is currently being abused.

The claims of the father cannot be taken at face value because the man is not free to speak as he feels. Given that, there is a very high probability that he truly desires that his son be granted asylum. Prior to the ugly tactics used by the Clinton administration to remove Elian from Miami, the blame for every tragic aspect to the events that have unfolded could be laid at the feet of Castro, but we have an administration too cowardly to make a statement to that effect. In making it easier for Elian to return to Cuba, Clinton and Reno have done their best to remove his last best hope. And they defend their actions in terms that are extremely offensive given their history: they are only upholding the rule of law. Their peculiar version of the rule of law keeps corruption in power (themselves) and coddles a Communist tyrant, while Elian pays the price.

One columnist proposed an excellent solution to the entire controversy: free trade. America trades all of its citizens who are so enamored with a murdering leftwing tyrant to Cuba in exchange for all of those Cubans, including Elian, who know the true value of American citizenship.


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