Me, Mike and Manny circa 1966

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Canvassing Little Havana, November 3 2012

for the President: 
Felicidades on your birthday 

Here is a piece I wrote last November 3rd.  That day was Chauncey's birthday and what he wanted was for Obama to be reelected.  We went door to door down the streets of Little Havana.  Even if neither of us could speak Miami-Cuban-Spanish (más despacio por favor), we knew the only way to make his birthday wish come true was to engage our community.  So we did.  I re-post that day here.  Happy Birthday, Mr. President.  What do you want for your birthday?

ONE: I met a little vieja with hair dyed jet black. She has a picture of the Obamas in her cabinet along with other family photos (I know because her door was wide open). She was VERY excited to go out and vote. She thanked us for coming by.

TWO: I met a guy named Fidel who tried going to his polling place at the Polish American Club three days in a row and found it closed because no one else told him better -- go to la biblioteca on West Flager -- that's where early voting ends today (Saturday), so he said, OK, I'll go right now.

THREE: A young Christian girl who is voting for the first time and undecided because of the abortion issue -- so I told her -- I'm a Christian too, a Catholic -- and even if I might not have an abortion, I don't think anyone has a right to decide for us. Each woman should decide for herself. She said, that makes so much sense!

FOUR: A 30 something man, ineligible to vote said his dad was too old and frail to stand in line to vote. So I told him he could take his dad to the polls and they would seat his father, if he stood in line for him and he said, I'm glad you told me. We'll go on Tuesday!

FIVE:  La Viuda tried to vote twice that day.  The lines were too long and by the time we got to her door, she had taken off all her make up.  She had put her hair up.  She was calling it a day.  The month before, her husband died.  Leaving the house was not easy  Standing in the heat too much.  She was an opera singer in Cuba.  She was elegant even at the door without her face on.  When we offered to call a car for her, when we offered to have one of our volunteers stand with her at the polls, she closed her eyes.

Mi cara, she said.
Linda, I said. You can put your face on while you wait for the driver, I said.
You're beautiful, Chauncey said.  You don't need make up.

Later at the polls, the sun had gone down and the lines were long.  We marched up and down the line leading chants and we spotted her there with a volunteer at her side.  Her beautiful face completely done and smiling.