MIAMI, FL -- Oh America, I know you’re young. But you have got to trust me when I tell you, you’re making a huge mistake. I mean YOOGE. The strongman that you are all voting for today is the presidente you will flee from tomorrow. Don’t believe me? Why do you think so many Latinos, including my family, came here?
Do you think my family came for the hot dogs, apple pie or square dancing? NO! None of these things drew us to the United States. Those of us who are Latino immigrants and exiles have fled our countries empty handed and heavy hearted because we thought the American system of government was ultimately fool-proof. That the system of checks and balances would never allow a trash-talking reality-show host to make it to the highest office. Then you give Donald Trump New Hampshire? What the what, America?!?
Let’s all just take a time out for a second while I tell you a little story about what happened in my country.
In Cuba there was a man that liked to spook the masses. He relished in turning people against one another. He wrapped himself in our flag and promised national superiority and prosperity to screaming throngs. And soon after he took the presidency one million Cubans had to flee their homes. Our "outsider" was Fidel Castro. And we're not the only example. Ask other Latino immigrants about their countries' "I know best" dictators or presidents who just like to listen to themselves bloviate. Ask the Italians about businessmen who thought they were world leaders - they will have plenty to say about Berluscioni.
The fact that Trump’s tactics and rhetoric is so similar to that of Latin American strongmen and terrible presidents should send shivers down your spine. That is what should keep you up at night, not the teenage kid that crosses the border fleeing Honduran drug cartels in hopes of picking tomatoes in a migrant town for five dollars a day. Which will be nothing compared to the shivers that will be shaking all of our spines when we are forced to flee to Canada. Come on America, you’re better than Trump.
Do you - the country that gave the world Presidents like Lincoln, Roosevelt (both Teddy and FDR) and Kennedy really want to hand the keys to the hallowed halls of the White House to a man whose greatest hits so far include calling Mexicans rapists and making a snide reference to a woman journalist's menstrual cycle? Let's not forget that according to Trump, Sen. John McCain, who actually served his call of duty and paid a grave price for it, is not a war hero because he got "caught" as a prisoner of war.
Let's not even begin to mention Trump's unfathomable proposal to ban all Muslims from traveling to the U.S.
Is this really the man we want to represent us as a people? Because make no mistake, he will be the standard by which all Americans are judged if he gets the job.
Look, New Hampshire hasn’t completely lost its mind. They did put Kasich, a serious and experienced public servant, in second place. Let’s pretend for a minute that the Trump win is a flannel shirt short-circuit and we can look to the next few primaries and caucuses to stop the bleeding. Mi gente, let’s just catch our breath and look at what’s at stake.
Fear is a symptom of inadequacy. Do we want to give a candidate whose narcissism is a cover for his shortcomings the nuclear codes? Leadership requires accountability. Do we want to put our economy in the hands of a man that has filed bankruptcy multiple times leaving those that put in the work for him at a loss? And tacky is a choice. Do we want to put a man into the oval office that would gild Air Force One? Not even Hugo Chavez would have done that.
Look, I get it. Citizens United and corporate influence in politics has thrown us all for a loop.
We are all craving an outsider candidate. One that represents us. But do we want the rest of the world to think we are all small-minded, delusional and afraid of our own shadows?
I beg you America. Heed my warning. Every empire has its downfall, but this doesn’t have to be ours. Let’s think before we succumb to the worst aspects of our national character. If we pick wrong we have nowhere to go but North. And let’s be honest, fleece flatters no one.
Carmen Pelaez is a is a Cuban American filmmaker, playwright, writer and performer.