A couple of days ago, about a dozen 1Miami members paid U.S. Senator Marco Rubio a visit. Unlike their last visit on Valentine’s Day, they didn’t drive to his Miami office. Instead, they re-arranged their busy schedules, packed their bags, and flew all the way to Washington, D.C. to, once again, bring to him the concerns of the 99%. This trip came in the context of 1Miami members attempting, over a period of 6 months, to simply meet with Mr. Rubio. In a moving show of unity, African-Americans and Latinos joined together in common cause to pressure Rubio to embrace policies that would help communities across South Florida achieve the “American Dream.”
His office received numerous phone calls, was emailed dozens of times, and his office was visited (in impromptu fashion) on numerous occasions – yet all of these attempts yielded no meeting. 1Miami members even traveled once, in the past, to Rubio’s office in Washington, D.C. – yet, at that point, still no meeting. Finally, after 6 months of reaching out to the senator, the 1Miami members were given a 30 minute meeting. But, don’t hold your breathe. The meeting could only be described as anti-climatic – and that fact that it was provided a very important lesson to this group of the 99%.
When 1Miami members met Rubio, he told them that “We’ve had enough rhetoric. We need action.” And 1Miami members couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. But, unfortunately, Marco Rubio refused to put into practice the very facile aphorism that he hypocritically preached to the travel-weary residents. Many wondered why this Senator, who is ardently preparing to criss-cross the nation and possibly appear on talk shows to promote his book (and make money in the process), is not interested in putting his words into action. But then they remembered that they waited 6 months to see him, in the first place. During those six months, Miamians continued to face massive foreclosures, lack of affordable health care, and unemployment. And, during those six months, the image of an “active” Rubio taking action to better Miami was woefully nonexistent. That sort of recollection is powerfully telling.
What did exist is the reality that Senator Rubio is still all words but no action. In the meantime, as Rubio continues to evade embracing the interests of the 99%, our communities will continue to struggle against a slew of problems. We at 1 Miami will continue to dialogue and engage with local politicians to ensure that they know that we are watching them and that we will hold them accountable. We will also continue to ensure that politicians who put personal ambition and wealth above the interests of public service will continue to be called out. Stay tuned for upcoming 1Miami actions. While politicians continue to evade responsibility, we will continue to unite Miamians to ensure that the American Dream is for all of us, not just a few.