Best of Freshman Writing
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PSU – Brandywine
The Political Leader We All Want
One of the first things I heard about Marco Rubio was his personal story. His parents are Cuban immigrants who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover. He was born in 1971 while his family was living in Miami. The Rubios were not a wealthy family. His father worked as a bartender and his mother worked as a housekeeper at a hotel (Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida). While some families may have felt this humble life to be a handicap, the Rubios chose to focus instead on the promise of the American Dream. Marco Rubio went to college and graduated with honors from the University of Miami’s Law School in 1996(Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida). Four years later he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he quickly proved himself to be an able and charismatic leader. During his eight years in the Florida House he was chosen by his peers to serve as both Speaker of the House and House Majority Whip. In 2010 his leadership was recognized by the people of Florida, and he was elected as Senator to the United States Congress. After only a year in office, he has already started becoming a well known political figure. During an Internet search on him I was pleasantly surprised to find that the BBC interviewed him following a speech on American foreign policy, which Senator Joe Lieberman described as “lucid and visionary” (“ICYMI”). That a foreign news network chose to interview him about his vision for American foreign policy over more senior Senators is a sign that he is on the way to becoming a respected figure.
As a State Representative and later a United States Senator, Marco Rubio has demonstrated that he cares not only about his country but about his constituents. As a State Representative he recognized that he was not elected to rule but to serve. He strove to do what was best for the State of Florida in the interests of his constituents. Prior to becoming Speaker of the House he traveled around Florida hosting “idea-raisers”(Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida). These novel events presented the people of Florida a chance to actively participate in their State Government and tell Marco Rubio ways they thought the government could improve conditions in the state. He listened to their ideas and compiled a collection of the one hundred he felt would most improve the state (Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida). In congress he worked to get these ideas turned into laws. Each of the one hundred ideas he had collected passed in the house and fifty seven would eventually become laws (Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida). Some examples of these laws include measures to “crack down on gangs and sexual predators; promote energy efficient buildings, appliances and vehicles; and help small businesses obtain affordable health coverage” (Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida, “Biography” section). This unusual policy proves Marco Rubio is a politician who cares not only about how his constituents’ vote but also about how they feel and what they want. When he speaks he is always frank and open. He doesn’t try to hide what he thinks by saying one thing in public and then voting in a completely different way. He is proud of his beliefs and is articulate and intelligent enough to frame his arguments in a simple and practical way. In a speech to the Senate on our national debt, Senator Rubio used the analogy of a burning house: “If my house was on fire,” he said, “I can’t compromise about which part of the house I’m going to save. You save the whole house or it will all burn down. We either save this country or we do not. And to save it, we must seek solutions” (Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida, “Press Releases” section). I thought this was a great analogy. It succinctly drives home Senator Rubio’s point in a way that is impossible to misunderstand.
Since I first started learning about him, I have liked the fact that Marco Rubio is both mentally and emotionally engaged in the issues he confronts. This comes across very clearly in his public speaking. My brother says that Marco Rubio is one of the few politicians who are actually enjoyable and interesting to watch and I agree. There is something about the way Senator Rubio speaks that makes me believe he is sincere. The tone, the words and the gestures he uses communicate that he is passionate about what he is saying. Not only is his style excellent, so is his message. During the summer budget debates I watched several of his speeches on the Senate floor. I noticed that he always emphasized his willingness to compromise as long as the end result of that compromise improved the state of the country. However, when he was confronted with a final budget deal which went against his principles, he held fast and didn’t support it. I find this honesty and commitment refreshing. While it is important to recognize the value of compromise and negotiation, it is easy for politicians to end up compromising their core values. Marco Rubio has not done this, and I hope he never does. His sincerity makes him more than just a charismatic speaker, an intelligent man and a good leader. If he holds his present course, I believe that we will see more of him in the years to come.
I think Mark Twain had it right when he commented on honesty in politics. Honest politicians shine because so many of their peers are deceitful and self serving. We distrust and stereotype them because many of them have come to deserve it. When I talk to people who are disgusted with politics they often say there isn’t a single good politician. I ask them if they have heard of Marco Rubio. The answer is invariably no and they ask me who he is. I try to explain, but often feel my explanation is inadequate. It’s difficult to sum up someone we admire in only a sentence or two, but I think I know what my answer is going to be from now on. “Marco Rubio,” I will say, “is the political leader we all want.”
Schmidt, Barbara. Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related
Resources. Barbara Schmidt. (2010). Web. 16 Sep. 2011.
Marco Rubio: United States Senator for Florida. Marco Rubio. 20 Sep. 2011. Web. 20
“ICYMI: In TV Interviews, Senator Rbio Outlines His Views on America's Role in the
World.” Transcript of Interviews with BBCs Katey Kay and Fox's Greta Van Susteren.
14 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Sep. 2011.
Cody Bressler's essay appears here with his express written permission and cannot be reproduced in any manner or fashion without his express written permission.