I Walked 10 Miles to Vote, Uphill Both Ways in a Blizzard! (And other stories…)

My Abuelo (my grandfather) is 89 years old. He is a wonderful Christian man who sacrificed much to give his family the best life he could. In many ways, the gifts and blessings of my life and the lives of my children, cousins and various other family members are all due to the hard work and sacrifice of my grandfather, Ramon. And he LOVES the United States of America.

About 50 years ago Ramon fled Cuba (with his wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters) and the harsh dictatorship of Fidel Castro for the Promised Land that was the USA. Richard Nixon was President, and my grandfather was still angry with the now deceased JFK because of his blunders at the Bay of Pigs – which is part of the reason he had become a staunch supporter of the Republican Party.

After years of living and working in Miami and then New York City, my grandfather finally became a citizen of the United States – earning the right to vote. It was a proud day. It was a joyous day. He had earned the right to tell the world that he was an American.

I was born near the end of the Carter administration and at the dawn of the prosperous age of Reagan, and my childhood reflected that. I lived in a home with interior plumbing and carpeted floors. I went to a private school and always had the latest toys and gadgets. Just 20 years removed from communist Cuba, and my family had gone from the dusty life of poor rural farmers in the Cuban hill country to the suburban life of middle class America! My grandfather did this.

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Life in the old country was hard before Castro, it was even harder after. My grandfather once told me that after the Castro regime took over he’d had to hide his milk cow up in the hills of his farm because his neighbors would come and take the milk from her. They said that Cuba was communist now, so the milk cow was as much theirs as she was his! He knew he had to risk everything to give his family hope for the future… and so he did.

Life in America was better – but the work was just as hard. He worked 2 and 3 jobs for 40+ years in America. But he would say that it was all worth it… his grandchildren (first generation Americans, all) have attended schools like; Liberty University, St. John’s University, Quinnipiac University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Central Florida, the University of North Florida, Mercy College, and Manhattan College. In one generation his descendants have become middle class Americans who are educated, hard working and thankful. Thankful for a grandfather who would sacrifice his best years to give us better lives.

My grandfather did something else for me. He instilled in me a love for my God and for my country. He taught me to always appreciate the freedom that those who’d come before me had purchased with blood, sweat and hard work. My grandfather told me stories of communism, of war, of capitalism and of progress. It was from my grandfather I learned that, “Not every Democrat is a communist – But every communist is a Democrat.”

voteAbuelo is now 89 and in poor health. He isn’t as mobile or as active as he’d like to be, but he’s already let my grandmother know that she better be ready on November 4th. Because on Tuesday November 4th he will be going to his local polling station in Miami, Florida and punching his ballot on what will likely be an almost straight line Republican ticket. (I’m telling you, he is still angry with Kennedy.)

I don’t know how much longer my grandfather will be here, but the lessons he’s taught me will stay with me forever. Love God, love your neighbors, take care of your family, work hard, be honest and always be thankful that you were born an American. God bless America for being so good to the Coca family. And God bless my grandfather, Ramon Coca, for being such a great example of what every American should be.

We want you to get out there and vote, just like my Abuelo.

We also want you to be educated about your vote, and to do this, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Christian-Jewish Voter Guides and Liberty Alliance. They have been working overtime this election season to get you the materials you’ll need to vote wisely.

Many Americans enter the polling station with little knowledge of the men, women and issues that they will be voting for… and these decisions are too important to simply guess on.

So, this election season, we want to encourage you to get informed by using one of our voting guides.

Over at Christian-Jewish Voter Guides, there are several options that you can take advantage of:


The Life, Marriage, Conscience & Israel VOW Voting Guide

Faith & Freedom Coalition Voter Guides


Focus on the Family – State Family Policy Council Guides

AIPAC: The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee

Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk Action

Family Research Council Action

Tea Party DEBT-HAWKS – Voter Guide

Mike Huckabee’s America Takes Action


Our favorite of the bunch happens to be the Life, Marriage Conscience, & Israel VOW voting guide, which was developed by Constitutional attorneys, Capitol Hill staffers, political strategists, 501(c) activists, and humanitarian philanthropists. We think the VOW could be a game changer in helping to educate voters about the candidates they are voting for. Far too often American voters are punching the ballots of politicians they disagree with, when a simple voting guide could have helped inform their decision and change their vote.

Maybe you look over the VOW and decide it’s not for you… any of the other above voting guides can also be extremely helpful to you in the voting booth.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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