Deb Billado: The Cuban protesters and that shining city

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.

Imagine waking up and going to work at a job that pays the same amount per month as most Americans earn in a day or two. Imagine having virtually no civil liberties, with freedom of expression replaced by state-approved expression. Imagine having no right to health care privacy while receiving services in a black market to avoid the crushing high prices and wait times imposed by the bureaucracy. And imagine being arbitrarily detained or imprisoned for “delinquent” behavior.

Well, you don’t have to imagine. That is the reality that millions of Cubans live through each and every day.

Deborah Billado, chair of the Vermont GOP

After decades of economic and personal oppression by a dictatorial state, the Cuban people are at their breaking point. They aren’t asking for liberty anymore — they’re demanding it. It’s no surprise that, when they take to the street — much like the protests for freedom in Hong Kong — they proudly wave the American flag as a beacon for freedom. It speaks volumes next to the socialist protests in our own nation, where banners of Fidel Castro are waved by individuals without the slightest inkling of what those who actually have lived under Castro’s policies have had to endure.

But still, these Cuban protestors look to America as the shining city on the hill that President Reagan so famously described. With all the political infighting and anti-American sentiment within our own country, it is all-too-easy to lose sight of how we are viewed by those around the world without the luxury of their own freedom.

These Cuban protests are a reminder that, whatever our faults and whatever challenges we have yet to overcome, we are still that shining city. We are still the example that so many around the world seek to emulate. We are still the land of opportunity. Our freedoms are written as God-given rights enshrined in our Constitution, while millions around the world only dream of such freedom.

I proudly stand with the Cuban patriots shouting “we are not afraid” and “freedom” — just as all Americans should. When there is injustice in other parts of the world that results in the denial of liberty — or worse, the state-sanctioned ideology of oppression — it is our obligation as that shining city to support them in their struggle.

In these divisive times, let us remember that each and every one of us is so fortunate to live in that shining city — and that we should continue the struggle in our own country to ensure our liberties are never taken for granted.

Image courtesy of Osvaldo Salas/Public Domain

3 thoughts on “Deb Billado: The Cuban protesters and that shining city

  1. So “The Shining City on the Hill” surrounded by razor-wire and Military Guards is what the Cuban people are attracted to? They have that already. The only ones who find it attractive are the Socialist Oligarchs in both parties in Washington!

  2. Response to Repub. Billado Message below;

    Wonderful Essay Below, and ThankYou!

    We should welcome Cubans – whocrave freedom, but now we do NOT. WHY? They want Freedom. Vote Republican
    We welcome central “Americans’ because they will be on welfare and voteDemocratic.

    As I was 10, in 1954, Myparents and their church sponsored a family from post WW2 Latvia. Years in “Displaced Persons camp”.

    Over-run by the Nazi’s, but and safe, ok, The Nazi’s wanted food from farmers.

    Latvia was Gifted to Russia atthe end of the War – Trashed and thrashed off their farm, their daughtertaken away and never heard from again.

    Russia wanted Everything, CONTROL, subjugation, prisoners. OurFriends never got their daughter, or their farm back. Pennieless.

    I learned the value of Freedom,AND America as a 10 year old. Baked into me still !

    The next family was fromIndonesia, Sukarno – just as brutal, inhumane, educated Mother pickedgrubs doing fieldwork, to feed her sons.

    All Hail Freedom in theUnited States of America – even with our “never satisfied” problems,

    Doug Richmond, Underhill

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