It is hard to believe that it has been more than 40 years since I left Georgetown Law and the Carter White House to return to my Miami home, and soon thereafter to my wonderful Key Biscayne. Over the next four decades, I would be involved in a number of civic projects here on Key Biscayne and on the mainland. I worked with lots of Republicans on lots of issues, including incorporation, the building of two arenas and a world-class performing arts center, our rec center, the blossoming of Miami from a cultural wasteland to one of the world’s centers of arts and culture, the expansion of MAST Academy, and transportation issues that will shape our future.
I would debate issues with my Republican friend Al Cardenas in the line at the CVS, and work closely with my Republican friend Ed Easton on the 2020 Vision Committee.
Over all of those decades, no Republican ever called me a socialist or a communist. No one ever accused me or my Democratic friends of using “dark money” or untoward influence to steal money from public coffers. All of that changed, of course, in the last few months.
In the run-up to last week’s election, we certainly heard a lot of new noise. Democrats had to be voted out because they were in favor of a “radical socialist agenda.” In our local elections, those of us who were in favor of providing the council with the purportedly radical option of low-cost financing through GO Bonds were definitely up to no good – some guy with a bullhorn warned us to “watch our wallet.”
I have to admit that I did not take this nonsense as seriously as I should. I thought it was particularly ironic that the people warning us about Communism were backing a president who seemed to take his marching orders from Vladimir Putin -- especially when it came to communist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Around May Day, 2019, for instance, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo announced on CNN that they had convinced Maduro to leave Venezuela. Don’t believe this Democrat; check it out for yourself. Google “Maduro Trump CNN May 2019” or a similar combination. You will also learn on that very same day, the president talked with Putin. Suddenly, the plane was no longer on the tarmac.
Maduro stayed in Caracas, just like Putin wanted. Russian warships have taken port in Havana harbor in place of cruise ships, just like Putin wanted. Trump abandoned the Kurds, just like Putin wanted. Trump believed Putin over his own intelligence officers, just like Putin wanted. And somehow, it was Democrats who were the communists! Even a handful of local Hispanic leaders with a conscience, like Al Cardenas and Ana Navarro, noted the hypocrisy.
In the meantime, we campaigned on our little island. I noticed that one of my favorite people on Key Biscayne, Bobbie Savage, had a lot of Trump signs in her yard. Now, I must tell you, Susi and I have loved Bobbie Savage for more than 20 years, since she taught our son Jake at KBCS. Bobbie always saw the best in my Jake, and loved Jake, especially on those occasional days when – I must admit – my Jake was hard to love. Thanks to people like Bobbie, my Jake had the love and support he needed, and Jake has grown up to be a wonderful man. I am so proud of where love has taken him.
A couple of days after the election, I saw wonderful Bobbie Savage in her yard. The election was over, but at that point, not yet called. I told her that I loved her, loved her, loved her, no matter what her yard signs said. It is that bond of love in our little Village that has enriched my life. I will not let go of that love. Never.