"First of all, I don't think they should be allowed to register to vote."
That's what John Ward, one of our Republican opponents said about Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida to rebuild their lives.
Sounds like Ward needs a bit of a civics lesson. Puerto Ricans are Americans with as much of a right to vote and participate in our democracy as Ward or any other U.S. born or naturalized citizen.
It's unfathomable to me that we haven't prioritized the response to the storm-ravaged island home of American citizens. We have American families without clean water, without power, without access to healthcare and education...
They don't know what tomorrow will bring. Will things get better? Will they get worse? They are trapped in a struggle many of our ancestors dealt with one, two, five generations ago... Do they abandon their homeland, uprooting their family from the only home they've ever known? Will they be welcomed, or greeted with hatred?
For too long those who promote hatred have not just been tolerated, but empowered and elected.
We must do better.
I believe kindness and respect are forces far more powerful than hate, and those are the things we should be empowering. Those are values that should be reflected in our laws and in our budgets, and demonstrated by our leaders.