Monday, November 29, 2010

Adviento....

La corona que anuncia que Cristo se acerca…

Las velas que iluminan el camino al pesebre…

La fragancia de pino y cipres que se une al incienso de mis oraciones ...

El morado color de realeza… Las profecias del reino que ya llega ...

El precursor proclamando en el desierto, que a conversion llama...

La virgen que en silencio espera…

Me encanta esta estación de Adviento, su solemnidad y quietud en medio de una cultura consumerista y frenetica. Me inspiran sus canticos y lecturas que anuncian un reino que llega un Salvador que se acerca. Me conforta esa espera que es espejo de lo que experimentamos en la vida. Me renuevan las promesas de Dios y el cariño de aquellos que junto a mi esperan...

Ven Emmanuel, El Espiritu y la esposa dicen ven….Maranata….Ven Señor Jesus!

Bendiciones a todos al comienzo de Adviento\

Seraph

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cuban Americans and the GOP

Even as pundits and pollsters analyze the Hispanic turnout and vote, something odd always props up; Cubans by large margins vote for Republican candidates and most Cuban Americans in public office are Republicans as well.

Cuban Americans tend to be more educated, less religious, older, more affluent and more liberal in social issues than other Hispanics, so it would seem they would be a natural constituency for the Democrats, yet it is not so.

Por que papi? Why are you so hardheaded about politics dad?
“Mijo son comunistas”…”Los cubanos son Republicanos”,
This question and answer set never seemed a good reason for my parents political choices, but it sure cropped up often as an answer. Over many political seasons, election nights and conversation with elders and peers over cerveza and Cuban coffee here are some thoughts on why “los cubanos votan Republicano”:

Cuban Americans come from a land where government dominated most aspects of life. There is an inherent distrust for “big government” or for government intrusion into private life and enterprise. This more so among the early exiles who are the most politically active.

Cuban Americans who arrived to the United States in the earlier days of the revolution were turned off by what they felt was sympathy for the Castro regime among some Latino circles. Che Guevara T-shirts may have been trendy, revolutionary type slogans popular, among Chicanos and New Yoricans; but for Cubans these brought memories of betrayal and repression. That most Latinos they encountered favored the Democratic party only made guilt by association easier.

Cuban Americans remember the Bay of Pigs. CIA trained Cubans invaded the island during John F. Kennedy’s presidency but air cover for the operation promised by the United States government never came. Approximately 1200 exiles were captured and a number were killed. The credibility of the president and by extension his party was completely shattered among that generation of Cuban Americans.That story still resonates among oldtimers in Miami .

Cuban American political leaders were welcome into Republican party early on, and even Ronald Reagan actually went to Miami wearing a traditional guayabera to recruit votes for the party. That sense of welcome along with promises of political change in their homeland were factors in the now 50 year relationship between Cuban voters and the GOP.

Cuban Americans remember Elian Gonzales! I know it is senseless to think of this episode as many in Miami did! Clearly, the child orphaned in his mother's attempt to flee to the US still had a father in Cuba. However, the child's relatives and many in the Cuban community did not see it that way, his plight became enmeshed with their own story. The way he was taken by force from his relative’s home under a Democrat’s presidency was no public relations move. The following election where the Democratic party presidential candidate lost by a handful of votes in Florida, seemed to many Cubans a sweet payback.

Will this trend change soon? Perhaps! There were signs in the election of Bill Clinton when many younger Cuban-Americans broke with the Republican tradition of their parents and voted for a Democrat. Barak Obama’s election saw a significant but not monolithic loyalty to the GOP among Cuban American voters.

Midterm elections 2010 seem to erase that trend! Marco Rubio, the first United States born Cuban running for a national elected office, and a Miami native son was in the scene. Despite his very conservative views and unpopular stance on immigration, he garnered a great majority of the Cuban American vote! Wether that will carry to 2012 remains to be seen...but for now...my dad's words ring true;

"...Los Cubanos son Republicanos..."

Blessings
Seraph

So; Whats the Deal With Halloween Anyway?

Every year on All Hallow's Eve it seems there is some very well intentioned soul recommending that parents keep their children from participating in the festivities that have come to symbolize the secular aspect of Halloween. It has its origin in a pagan Holiday, it does not glorify God, it is harmful spiritually, are all common statements often heard. Here are some reasons why I do not share those concerns.

It is true that Halloween's roots lie in an ancient pagan festival for the dead. For the Celts and other ancient people of the British Isles November 1st was the feast of Samhain, the coming of winter, and on this day, they believed, the spirits of the dead were free to roam the world. Bonfires were lit, masks were worn in an attempt to keep away the souls of the dead and all evil. With the spread of Christianity into these lands the emphasis was changed and in 841 AD the feast of All Saints or a commemoration of the faithful departed was established on that date.

Considering that many beloved celebrations of Christendom are held on days when pagan holidays were originally celebrated, the objection to Halloweens pagan origins seems minor! Christmas celebration in December has replaced the Saturnalia and Feast of the Conquering Sun. A fourty day period of preparation for the resurrection of the God Tamuz preceeded the Christian Lent, and Easter carries within it the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. Our Christian forefathers saw Christ as victorious over all powers of darkness and his worship as replacing other celebrations. All days belong to God and Christians rejoice.

While it is possible that All Hallow's Eve as any other feast can be used for evil purposes, our culture celebrates it as an innocent night of make belief, costumes, children's fantasy and fun. Besides the religious celebrations which commemorate the faithful Departed and remind us of the Communion of the Saints, we who believe in the light of the world can also use it to celebrate the Light.

"Hallow" means holy and the word Halloween refers to the night before the feast of all holies, or All Saints Day. On this day we joyfully remember that Christ made a way for the spirits in captivity, that he dispelled the powers of darkness and made mockery of them in the cross, that he is above all powers and principalities. We do not have to fear as the pagans did but we can rejoice that Christ is indeed victorious over all evil and darkness. We remember also that for men it is appointed that they encounter death and beyond that, the power of resurrection. We recall those whom we love and see no longer because they have preceded us to the presence of God.

In the middle of all that heavy mystery and hard realities we recall this season, a little fun does not hurt! We dress up not in fear but in innocent celebration, we exchange sweets and goodies, we allow fantasy and wonder to enter into our lives which are burdened by work, stress, sin and sometimes even religion . We Emphasize all things good, joyful and pure. Let your children know that they are "children of the light" called to walk in the light and not be afraid!

"...In love, there is no fear, perfect love casts out all fear..."

Blessings

Seraph