The day after the election…

Today, I have chatted with a number of friends who voted for Hillary around the country. Everyone I have talked to harbored a combination of disappointment and even fear, that frankly broke my heart.

You see… I am also disappointed. I have not been particularly discreet about my political views leading up to this election. I went as far as to write an open letter in Spanish (which I submitted to a few Hispanic newspapers) about my reasons for my vote this election. The version of the letter that I posted here earned me numerous attacks on Twitter. But I felt proud to be able to speak up.

I am heartbroken, because I remember in December 1998, when Hugo Chavez got elected in Venezuela, I had this same feeling… looking around me, and saying to myself “There’s no future! I am getting out of here”, not unlike the people that rushed to the Canadian Immigration website, crashing it last night while the results favoring Trump were pouring in. And I stuck to my plan: it took me over one year, but in January 2000 I came to this country.

3 years later, our son was born in American soil, and 14 years later, I became a citizen along with my wife. And yesterday I cast my first of many presidential votes to come.

As the final results began to sink in this morning, one phrase from Hillary’s concession speech stuck with me:

When I think back to what brought the country to where it is today, the one thing I can point back to is that not enough people voted. According to NPR, nearly half of adults registered to vote didn’t show up. It was the election with the lowest turnout since 2000, the previous most hotly contested election in American history.

So if there’s a lesson to take with us, remember: do not ever take for granted this incredible right we have in the United States. There are countries where the liberty to choose is being taken away, and we still have it in the US. And if you don’t believe positive change is possible after yesterday, consider that on the same day, we passed a soda tax all over the Bay Area, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (a 7-term sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, accused of targeting Latinos) was voted out….

and if you need a lighter view of things to make you smile and wipe the tears (I know many of you cried today), check out Ellen DeGeneres’ amazing post-election message.

And no: I am not going to Canada! 😉

P.S. If this made you feel even an ounce better, please feel free to share it…

Por qué voy a votar por Hillary en mi primera elección presidencial

Yo vine con mi familia a los Estados Unidos el año 2000. Como tantos otros inmigrantes, salí de mi Venezuela natal buscando seguridad y estabilidad, dispuesto a contribuir en este gran país. Hace dos años mi esposa y yo nos hicimos ciudadanos de Estados Unidos, y una de las razones más importantes por las que lo hicimos fue para poder votar.

A los 44 años, esta es mi primera elección presidencial en este país, y me siento orgulloso de contribuir con mi voto. Pero me siento obligado a apelar a otros inmigrantes como yo, para que no dejen de votar estas elecciones. Específicamente, quiero hablar de las razones por las que considero que Hillary Clinton es la persona ideal para liderizar el país los próximos cuatro años.

Hillary representa una voz de inclusión y compasión, tan necesaria en estos turbios tiempos en que vivimos. Una voz que le habla de oportunidad y reconciliación a las minorías, a los inmigrantes, a las mujeres, y a todos los grupos que Donald Trump ha pisoteado e insultado a lo largo de su campaña.

Hillary trae décadas de experiencia y liderazgo que necesitamos de frente al futuro que se avecina: años donde tendremos que hacer frente a nuevas realidades en un mundo cada vez más duro; años en que la habilidad de negociar y la habilidad de actuar decisivamente son críticas; años en que las actitudes que ha demostrado Trump son garantía de fracaso.

Hillary defenderá y mejorará ObamaCare, ese programa que (si bien imperfecto), le dio acceso a un seguro de salud a millones de Americanos. Como alguien que fue diagnosticado con diabetes antes de ObamaCare (en el 2002), en un momento que no tenía seguro, entiendo de primera mano lo crítico que es este programa. Trump ha asegurado que eliminará ObamaCare.

Aunque desde el fondo de mi corazón espero que sea por Hillary Clinton, mi pedido muy especial a todos los lectores de esta publicación es sencillo:

VOTA. Si no lo haces, otros decidirán por ti.

Para votar no tienes que esperar al 8 de noviembre: empezando el 24 de octubre puedes acudir a votar en persona. Más detalles aquí: https://www.iwillvote.com/learn/

44 years, 44 lessons

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I am turning 44 years old, tomorrow, July 15, 2016. Repurposing a theme I did when I turned 40, and adding to the list.

If you find any of these useful, please consider making a special donation on my behalf to Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Here are 44 random lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order:
1. Play peek-a-boo with crying babies in airplanes.
2. Always stay in touch with your childhood friends.
3. When you read a good book, tell others about it.
4. Share good jokes: the world needs more people smiling.
5. Adopt a dog: they are great companions.
6. Dance a lot! It’s good for your heart and your soul.
7. Gardening is good exercise and makes you love plants even more.
8. Grilled sandwiches are the best!
9. Learn to play an instrument: you will have a blast.
10. If someone compliments you, take the compliment.
11. Stare at the sky long enough to watch the clouds moving.
12. Take a deep breath… exhale. Repeat… repeat…
13. Rioja wine. Yep, that’s it.
14. Prog rock, for college years. Ambient and jazz, later in life.
15. When the opportunity opens up, travel: go places!
16. Some Sundays, wake up to baroque music.
17. A cup of black coffee in the mornings: hmmm!
18. Rogaine can help with baldness… if you put it on.
19. If your blood sugars are bad one day, try again the next day.
20. Learn a new language or two. You will discover new worlds.
21. When you travel, don’t take a tour bus: walk around the city.
22. When you are upset, get away from the keyboard, take a walk.
23. Embrace gray hairs: celebrate birthdays!
24. Go inside a photo booth and goof off with friends.
25. Buy local, even if it costs a little more.
26. Have a thick cappuccino every so often.
27. Go to Farmers Markets.
28. Praise in public. Criticize in private, one-on-one.
29. Once in a while, wander, don’t pick up a map.
30. Park as far as you can, don’t use the stairs: walk more.
31. It’s OK to feel afraid. Just don’t let fear control you.
32. Straight or gay: it’s all the same. Everyone is a person.
33. Minnesota and Venezuela are closer than you’d believe.
34. Smile when you are on the phone: other people can feel it.
35. Don’t take yourself too seriously… Seriously!
36. Give to at least one charitable cause every year.
37. Aisle is better than window by a long shot.
38. Once in a while, play a song you love real loud.
39. I have an accent, believe it or not: even in Spanish!
40. When in doubt, remember to tell people how much they rock!
41. Give surprise backrubs. People appreciate it.
42. Avocado with a touch of salt: you heard it here first. 😉
43. Read audiobooks… Or listen to them. Just do it.
44. Karaoke with friends: priceless!