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Haitian-American Democrats Are Actually Against Democracy

November 16, 2012


IIt's one thing to live in America, having emigrated from Haiti, but it's another thing entirely to fail to understand the basic premise of democracy upon which this nation was founded. Haitian-Americans are the proud descendents of the only successful slave rebellion in world history. Since gaining independence from France in 1804, Haiti has been held under the yolk of tyranny and oppression. Dictatorial regimes have ruled Haiti through the years, including the three decades of despotic Duvalier rule.

Democracy is something that Haitians know little about, at least from personal experience. So when they emigrate to the United States, they are granted freedoms they never experienced before. One of the most basic freedoms is to choose what to believe in and to support a particular direction they would like to see the nation move in. Most Haitians tend to support the Democratic Party and they are entitled to their beliefs.

However, the recent presidential election on November 6, 2012 highlighted a growing problem within the Haitian-American community. Haitian physician, Dr Danel Cedent, Coalition's Chair of Caribbean Americans, a group that supports Republican candidates, also a radio program host on WJCC Radio Mega 1700 AM North Miami, was the victim of harsh attacks by those who don't agree with his views.

Dr. Cedent's case has shown that many of the Haitian-Americans who support the Democratic Party are, in fact, anti-democratic. This is not merely a trend within the Haitian-American community, either, but Dr. Cedent was the victim of a campaign to destroy his credibility and good name by some supporters of the Democratic Party. It is shameful to have witnessed other radio host lambaste the physician for voicing his support of the Republican Party. Their attempt to destroy his reputation is disgraceful.

The United States was founded on the principles of its citizens having opposing viewpoints and discussing those opinions openly and respectfully to lead it into the future stronger than before. Demonizing an individual because he or she believes in ideals that differ from your own is the antithesis of democracy. Karl Marx once commented that, "Man is the product of his environment." That many Haitians only understand dictatorship could be a reason why so many Haitian-Americans believe in a one party system.

However, it is important that respect and tolerance be the cornerstones of life in the United States as that can lead to positive changes back in our homeland. One party systems have continually failed throughout history and that's why opposing viewpoints are important.

It is unfortunate that most Haitian-American registered Democrats have shown not only a lack of respect for differing opinions, but complete intolerance and disrespect to those opposed to their beliefs. It causes others to be afraid of voicing their opinions for fear of backlash. It is time for Haitian-Americans and Democrats to stand up for the principles they profess to believe. It is time for them to stand up against intolerance, be accepting of those who are different and don't share their beliefs. The essence of democracy is the right to be wrong. The key to democracy is the right to state one's own opinion. As Cubans, we have found it possible to find allies in both parties and Haitian-Americans should embrace differences.

Dr. Cedent has the right to his opinion and to be a Republican. He showed strength, courage, and bravura in standing up for his ideals and voicing them in spite of the name calling and attempts to intimidate him. It's time for Haitian-American democrats to practice what their party supposedly preaches. It's time for them to respect other opinions.

Dessalines Ferdinand

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