Rubio should learn from the past

 

I got a warm and fuzzy feeling as I read Sen. Marco Rubio's vision for our region in his Dec. 30 article, Crucial time for our hemisphere. Why did I have such an emotional reaction? Because I felt I was 10 years old again sitting in my house off of Eighth Street listening to my father talk about the Cold War. We had just elected a young president, John F. Kennedy, who would soon electrify us with a speech that echoes till this day.

He had inherited a world filled with violence and the potential for world annihilation. I still remember seeing someone building a bomb shelter when I walked home from school.

As I read Rubio’s piece, I thought this young politician was stuck in a time machine from 1961, and that he, too, was fighting a cold war. His vision is packed with military exercises for fighting, not the USSR, but other foes, China and Iran; doubling down on the "war" on drugs; and figuring out a way to exploit another country for its resources, in this case Brazil.

Has this man learned nothing about the intervening 50 years? Before Kennedy was assassinated he began to rethink his Cold War vision. He saw the possibility of taking our country in another direction. A vision filled with hope of a less violent world shaped not by weapons of mass destruction and large militaries but by a more peaceful approach using economic aid and mutually beneficial alliances with our neighbors. We will never know if he could have placed our country on this path, but we certainly know the world we have created using the never-ending cold-war approach.

Even though it is nice to feel warm and fuzzy and remember the "good old days," in truth they were not so good. Unfortunately, leaders like our junior senator see things only through the distorted prism of war. Some politicians will grow and change while they are in office as they learn from their mistakes and use history and science to help guide them. Others, like Rubio, will be content to live in the past. If we keep electing people like that, we have only ourselves to blame if nothing ever seems to change for the better.

Paul Benjamin, Miami Shores

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