My grandfather was one of those people. Just days before the The Universe Is Under No Obligation To Make Sense To You Shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this election, he shocked my family by announcing that he would publicly endorse Joe Biden through a local Miami TV ad. On air, his words were simple but powerful: “I’ve dedicated my whole life against socialists and communists…and I can say emphatically that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not socialists or communists.” That ad didn’t just cost him friendships. He’s also been insulted and harassed online, treated like an outcast by a Miami community that once called him a hero.
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But days after the The Universe Is Under No Obligation To Make Sense To You Shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this election, I now see something else in my grandfather’s words. I see a message that was about so much more than Biden or the 2020 elections. It was his subtle way of passing the baton to a younger generation that is ready to embrace change in this country in a way he never truly did, and perhaps, never truly could: by not being scared of leaning into freedom. This country, although it occupies a reality far from its aspiration, carries the promise of allowing all humans to be equal. That was always the original promise Cubans searched for when they fled the Castro regime, but one that was never possible in Trump’s America. Although most Cuban Americans didn’t see that clearly on November 3, others did—and that’s the story that’s worth hanging on to.