Tuesday, November 29, 2016

President For Life

Fidel Castro es muerte. To say this is an end to an era seems a little short-sighted. This was a man who ruled his island nation for nearly fifty years. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Mark II. Ten different men have held a similar post in these United States while Fidel ran the first communist state in the western hemisphere. The leader of the revolution kept the lights on, more or less, into a new century. How might have things been different here in our country if George Washington had stayed in office until 1839? After Fidel left office in 2008, his younger brother was the only candidate for the office, keeping the dictatorship all in the family.
Back in 1959, Al had yet  to invent the Internet. This was because he was in junior high school back then. His science fair project that year was "Why Greenhouse Gasses Are Bad." In 1959, the Beatles were still the Quarrymen and Ringo Starr was still Richard Starkey. In 1959, music died when a small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Jiles "The Big Bopper" Richardson Jr. gave Don McLean a chance to revive it twelve years later. Barbie was born  in 1959. The doll, not the Nazi. Alaska became the forty-ninth state admitted to the union. Hawaii would be along in short order as number fifty, making flags so much easier to draw.
For forty-nine years, drawing El Presidente was a pretty easy task: Fatigues, beard, cigar. Love him or hate him, he was the guy. While the rest of the communist states fell like the dominoes we all once feared, Cuba kept up its fierce front. Ninety miles off the coast of Florida, Fidel  and his mates kept thumbing their noses and annoying Estados Unidos to the north. This kept their nation from making some of those advances that might have come with open borders, human rights, or democracy, but that was the way things went.
Until 2014 when the eleventh U.S. Chief Executive to take office in the Castro years decided to pry open the door and let a little of that USA sun shine in.
Fidel Castro stomped on the Terra with combat boots. He may not be missed by everyone, but there's something to be said for consistency.

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