2016 Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio addressed Freedom Fest attendees Friday night with a message centered around the idea of the American Dream, the story of his parents’ immigration, and his own success.
Rubio is one of two presidential candidates reaching out to a mix of about 2,000 conservative and libertarian-leaning conference goers. The other attendee is the new Republican frontrunner, real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Rubio recalled the story of his hard-working Cuban parents who immigrated to the United States in 1956. His father worked as a bartender, his mother mainly as a maid. He made it a point that he lived in Las Vegas for six years as a kid. The story, which he has told during many a speech, contrasts his father’s work at the back of a room to propel Rubio’s later ascension to a podium at the front of the room.
“We call it the American dream, but it really is a universal dream,” Rubio declared. “People all over the world have this dream, they’ve had it for millennia, the desire not just to be better off and to earn a better life, but to leave their kids better off than themselves. Why they call it the American dream is because so many millions of people have been able to achieve it here and not enough places. That’s the real American Dream.
“Here’s the spiritual principal. Every human being, not every human being born in North America, every human being is born with certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“The road to the American Dream has gotten narrower” because of two things, Rubio said. He listed the globalization of the economy and advances in technology as those two obstacles.
“We now compete with people half way around the world for the best ideas, the best talent, the best innovations, the best jobs, the best companies.”
It’s the relaxing of protections for American workers that has been criticized, as American workers have been replaced by foreign H1B visa workers in instances such as the Disney layoffs. Rubio has come under continual criticism for lax stances on immigration, including his role in the “Gang of 8” immigration reform bill.
He went on to note that today, even bartender and maid positions require more advanced training and technology in the 21st century.
He seemed to pick up Sen. Ted Cruz’s “cartel” terminology, calling the traditional higher education system an “existing and stagnant cartel.” Cruz has been emphasizing the idea of the “Washington Cartel” in his speeches and new book.
Rubio touched on a complicated, burdensome tax system and regulatory system.
He closed with “I have a debt to America I will never repay,” and that the journey from the back of the room to the front of the room was the American Dream. “Whether we remain a special country or not will be determined by whether that journey is still possible for the people trying to make that journey now.”
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