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Memoirs of a Political Dissident

by Despain about a year ago in humanity
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Growing up in a poverty-stricken country like the Dominican Republic, you learn to appreciate a lot of things about life. Being an immigrant in a foreign land that does not make you feel welcome causes such deep seeded trauma that even in adulthood, I find myself talking to my therapist about this issue. Truth is, even at thirty, I still sometimes do not feel like this country welcomes me, and the caveat? I’m a middle of the road conservative, a “Trader Joe” republican; defined as someone who is fiscally conservative and liberal on certain issues. For some people, this is shocking to hear, and it’s even more shocking when the people who make you feel less welcome are the same people who fight for equality and acceptance.

I became politically charged when I first turned eighteen. Getting involved politically was a responsibility that I felt everyone should take part in, so I did. The candidate that resonated the most with me was not John McCain (rest in peace), but Barack Obama. Turns out his message of “Hope and Change” was something I could fully support, and it was something I felt we really needed. That was the millennial in me, forever the optimist. So, my first vote went to Barack Obama, the man who promised change, at least we hoped. He made a promise to Latino voters that he would reform immigration, and for the two years that democrats held both the Senate and the White House, he did very little.

People will point at DACA like it was the sort of green light illegal immigrants needed to come out of the shadows, and for a time, it was. The problem with DACA was that it wasn’t law, meaning it could go away if the next administration sees it fit to. This broken promise soured the way I viewed the Democratic Party, and I began to go down the political rabbit hole and consumed so much content that I became an expert in certain topics. By the time 2016 had arrived, I was so disillusioned with the current state of American politics that one candidate stood out during the primaries.

No. Not him.

Marco Rubio was the man I supported initially, and he showed a lot of promises. Everything he spoke about and everything he stood for were things that I fully supported. Not surprising that he was also someone I resonated with simply because he wanted to fix the issues with DACA. He wanted to create a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants. These were promises we’ve heard before, but to hear a republican candidate for president was surprising. This would end up being Rubio’s Achilles’ Heel, as it turns out conservative voters did not want anything to do fixing DACA. When it came to immigration, only one thing stood out. Get them out and get them out fast. I understand the sentiment, as most people probably would, but I say to republican readers out there: walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Someone we admire greatly that lived a long time ago would advise you to do the same thing.

Truthfully most people we encounter every day believe in equality and acceptance. This is a popular opinion and you’d be foolish to think otherwise – the problem is deciding how we get there. I feel more connected to people who would deport some of my family members because of their immigration status, and less connected with the people who want to open a path for citizenship. Being a conservative is a tough position to be. It’s even harder when you’ve been bastardized by everyone you use to love and respect.


About the author


I am a thirty something year old that's had the same story playing in his head since I was a child. Let's see what happens, I guess.

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