Political Motivation !
|On balcony of our
Hillsboro Beach apartment
||Campaigning in West Palm
Many in my generation, who grew up after the Spanish Civil War (under Generalisimo
Franco's regime) had strong political views. I am not different. I have been quite an opinionated individual most of my life. After Franco's death Spain became a Socialist Monarchy.
Most countries in Europe are very socialistic if compared to our way of life in the USA. For starters, do not forget that the Social Security system was invented by the
Germans, and not in the USA as many Americans believe. For instance, in most of the
European countries workers enjoy a compulsory 4-weeks of yearly
vacation, plus many more holidays than we do. Maternity
often can be extended for up to two years (like in Sweden) without risking losing your job.
In the developed world, only Koreans and Japanese work harder than we Americans
In Spain two of my brothers got early "compulsory" retirements
three years ago. I am 53
years old, and chances are that "the one who left for big America, the Engineer guru" will have to work until he is 68 or 70. Not that I mind to work hard, I have plenty of intellectual inquietudes and projects that I am sure will keep
me motivated to work until I drop dead or become senile. However, I would not like to have to work "for a living" until that age.
My brother Elias, who worked for a major bank as branch director opted for early-retirement at 52
at 80% salary. Another brother
-Amador- who was an administrative manager in a shipbuilding facility was "released" at 56 (also at
80% of salary). In Spain, they do this with the idea that the Workers' Union [called
Sindicatos] would now have a better chance to offer decent jobs to the large pool of young
unemployed aspirants. Another benefit is that the "apparent" unemployment rate looks
better that the "real" rate would. That helps public perceptions, and the
nation's economic mood.
In Europe, people speak with a multitude of
tongues, often the vernacular language is not the national one, and that is pretty OK, as a matter of fact they are very proud of that.
After leaving Puerto Rico, I have spent many years in several "English-only" States of America, only to find "refuge" in the greater-Miami area. Here I can feel my Hispanic roots. My wife feels also
very comfortable in Broward County, where more than 150,000 Brazilian immigrants live. I am committed to stay here for good.
Divorce is an option in Spain, but the rate at which marriages break is a tenth of the US
rate. In my opinion, it has to do with the bonding that develops between family members -and spouses- when people has enough time, vacations, and holidays to live experiences with their close relatives. If we could put a price to the social cost of not having a
3 or 4-week compulsory vacation for everyone in the USA we would be shocked at the findings. In my opinion, it is astronomically more expensive to our society the lack of vacation, than the cost-benefit to our corporations of those few weeks of non-vacation.
I do not have to overly state that life in the USA is not quite the same as in Europe. We all pretty much know that
we live quite stressful lives on this part of the
Atlantic. Yet, somebody may point out: our homes and cars are bigger and we spend a lot more money at the malls.
That's true! We are more materialistic. And if you ask the children of broken marriages, you will find out that we also pay dearly for
With this preamble, I can now go into saying that when I came to the USA in 1971 I used to agree more with socialistic platforms than with capitalistic ones. My first vote as citizen of the USA was for
Jimmy Carter, a deeply religious person,
a decent man. During the 80's I was trying to start a software business, then I found the Republicans a little more understanding with the need for creation of high-tech "incubators", and a strong America, so I voted for
I was a pioneer in the development of software for micros and PCs. Articles about the database engine that I had created (to keep control of herds in dairy farm operations) appeared on several newspapers and magazines, and I was invited three times to appear on television in Puerto Rico. From 1980 to 1985 (in Puerto Rico), and from 1991 to 1993 (in Wisconsin) I had very close contact with dairy farmers. I met personally most of the 600 registered dairy farmers in Puerto Rico, and probably 300 in Wisconsin.
In Latin America a farmer with an "hacienda" of 50 or 70 cows is considered
wealthy. Even in Puerto Rico such a small cattle farmer will do fine. But, I was shocked by the hard work and miserable life that those small cattle/dairy farmers had in
Wisconsin. Their children before going to school, and after coming back from school, had to help with the farm chores. Often with frigid temperatures and walking knee-deep on the snow. And yet, despite all this family effort, I never saw so many dirty and decrepit houses, as I saw in Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and some other Wisconsin
counties. I have seen people on Welfare fare much better, and with a lot of less effort on their part.
In 1998 I lived for a few months in St. Cloud, MN, and I saw and heard about the plight of the
hog-ranchers. It brought me memories of the misery I had seen in Wisconsin -ironically and from what I saw- suffered by the people who could not work any harder. It was not fair!
Those scenes made me move back to my socialistic roots.
I voted for Perot in 1992, and for Clinton in 1996. I became committed enough to the Democratic
platform that for the first time in my life I registered with the Party in 1998.
In June of 2000 I filled out a questionnaire on the internet, and
it came back indicating a match of 98% with the views of candidate
Al Gore. I voted for him!
my wife's hometown (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
my sister and her family in Spain
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This page was last updated on 09/16/08.