Wasserman Schultz, diabetes, the Holocaust and Cuba

“Love me or hate me, both are in my favor…If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart…If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”William Shakespeare

Debbie Wasserman Schultz represents me in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before the 2010 redistricting process, it was Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. I guess I went from bad to bad.

Rep. Wasserman Shultz, a Democrat who represents Florida’s District 23, has been a hardliner on Cuba since her arrival in congress.
Rep. Wasserman Shultz, a Democrat who represents Florida’s District 23, has been a hardliner on Cuba since her arrival in congress.

Florida, where we are from, ranks number 10 in the country for diabetes. One in 10 Floridians has the disease. In Miami-Dade alone, 181,000 adults are currently living with it. And studies show that this deadly disease will directly affect one of every three children born in the U.S. after 2000.

Rep. Wasserman Shultz, a Democrat who represents Florida’s District 23, which encompasses parts of south Broward County and juts into Miami-Dade, has been a hardliner on Cuba since her arrival in congress.

Ian Swanson, in an article written for The Hill in 2007, wrote that “[Wasserman Schultz] noted that she does not arrive at her position on Cuba because of her district’s makeup, which includes few Cuban-Americans and is 20 percent Hispanic. Instead, she points out that she is Jewish, and that the words ‘never again’ resonate in terms of the Holocaust and the state of human rights in Cuba.” More recently Wasserman Schultz again mentioned the Holocaust as reason for her wanting the U.S. to attack Syria.

So it should not surprise that she is often accused of abusing the example of the Jewish Holocaust as reason for her strong stands in favor of human rights, or the lack of, in certain countries around the world.

As for her wanting the U.S. to attack every country she doesn’t like… I wonder if there can be a new political term to describe her penchant for wanting to annihilate her enemies. Maybe the contradictory term ‘liberal hawk’ would suit her? And I describe her as liberal because as a member of the Florida legislature she was considered the most liberal member of that group.

But the fact is that Wasserman Schultz should be ashamed of her demagoguery. Comparing the Holocaust and Cuba is insensitive (on her part) and disgustingly opportunistic. For if I did not know better, and based on Wasserman Shultz’ assertions and my visits to Cuba over the last 20 years, then the Jewish Holocaust was not as bad as history depicts it…

As for the deadly disease that affects so many in her congressional district and her state of Florida, Rep. Wasserman Schultz recently declined to sign a letter circulated among his colleagues in congress by Congressman Joe Garcia, also from the Miami area and also a Democrat, asking the U.S. to approve the testing and marketing of a diabetes treatment developed in Cuba.

Upon hearing that Wasserman Schultz would not sign the letter, Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald that it was “a sign of how ‘there was no daylight, no distance between us when it came to Cuba in the South Florida delegation…’”

I beg to differ. Diaz-Balart was trying to divert attention from the fact that a member of the delegation, Joe Garcia, had decided that saving lives in his district – and for that matter, Florida and the U.S. – was more important than whatever shared hatred the group may have against Cuba, its people and their government.

It appears that Diaz-Balart, Wasserman Schultz, Ileana Ros Lehtinen and whoever is against the possibility of saving lives by use of a drug developed in Cuba are more interested in hating their enemies than the possibility of loving and lending comfort to some of their suffering constituents.

Coming from any Diaz-Balart or Ros Lehtinen does not surprise me. But from Debbie Wasserman Schultz…

Then again, I will never forget my visit with the congresswoman in 2004 or 2005. The issue was travel to Cuba. President Bush had just limited family visits to once every three years – with NO exceptions.

Wasserman Schultz told me that she stood with the president. I asked: “Not even for a dying mother?”

I will never forget her answer: “Not even. It’s the law…”

I should have reminded her that before 1920 the law clearly stated that women were not allowed to vote. Did that make it right?, I should have inquired.