Si, se puede

When you invent a product to sell to the masses, please choose your name carefully.

Zim’s Crack Creme?

Uh.  Right.

La Onda Bajita
Friday, September 12th, 2008

Obama’s whole mantra is “yes we can” — si se puede — but what happens when “yes we can” runs into the reality of “no you can’t”.  ‘Cause there is still a reality in this country of deep seated divisions in this country.  Going back to slavery in this country.  A whole system of white supremacy that’s rooted at the foundation.

When you keep preaching “yes we can”, you keep preaching personal responsibility just like Bill Cosby has been doing.  And you keep telling the youth — you’re essentially putting blame on the victims.  There’s actually a system at work.  When you keep telling people all you gotta is try hard like Obama and Michelle Obama’s speeches at the convention, the whole thing was, We worked hard and we made it and anyone can do that in this country.  That’s the promise of America.

You know what?  That’s not the promise of America.  The promise of America is what you saw in the streets of Minneapolis and Denver, which was riot gear, tear gas, pepper spray.  This is what Democracy looks like.  It looks like pepper spray, tear gas and baton sticks.


Here’s the thing.  Well, first, I still find it strange that the progressive Hispanics and Native Americans are so anti-Obama.  They’re anti-system, really, but they are incessantly attacking Obama.  Not McCain.  But Obama.  Every show is basically saying, don’t trust Obama.

One of the people on the show said that there is no free speech in America.  You know, the same way people say that there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties.

That may be true on some level, as a means of rhetorical critique, for example.  But you have to be willfully cynical and self-deluding to accept the line that there is no difference.  Not enough difference, I’d agree.  There are too many entities involved in the halls of political power and processes other than We, the people.  (Who said “We get the government we deserve”?)

But when one party says that abortion should be safe, legal and rare and the other party says that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, you can’t really say there’s no difference.

It may be idealist to have “Hope” and “Change we can believe in” as your slogans, but compare that to “Drill, baby. Drill”.

One party says, let government help its people and assist them at times.  The other party says, return wealth to the wealthiest and everyone fares better.  A rising tide may lift all boats, but not all of us can afford to heat our homes throughout the winter, much less recreational watercraft.

Okay, I was trying to be even-handed and I just lost my way.  Sorry.

Change (as a non-slogan) doesn’t come quickly enough, that’s for sure.  And one step forward, two steps back.  That’s the way it feels sometimes.  The country has not done right by Native Americans.  It has not done right by Hispanics.  Or black people.  And especially poor people, because that’s what this is really about.

This race stuff is a red herring.  All of these factions are clamoring for attention and meanwhile we’re all being crushed and robbed blind.  Poor folks are still poor and have fewer avenues out of poverty.  We’re not a manufacturing economy anymore.  We’re a service economy.  That means the kind of blue collar jobs that provided so many people with steady work and rugged dignity don’t exist anymore.  No pensions anymore.

The middle class is taxed and pressed from all sides.  We’re all encouraged to spend and use credit and meanwhile … well, you know.  The cost of everything increases and our salaries sure enough don’t keep up.

I’m reading “Swan Peak”.  Great book.  The narrator makes an observation about a certain kind of southern white men and I had a flash of realization at how similar the problems of poor whites are to poor blacks.  And poor everybody.

Poverty, crime, addiction, abuse, misdirected frustration and rage.  Universal symptoms of the Have Nots of the world.


I’m beginning to repeat myself in my blogs.  Year after year.  Forgive me.

The idea that optimism, hope and self-discipline and self-reliance are destructive because those concepts are too pie-in-the-sky … well, that’s just sad.  What do you tell  your people, your kids, then?

“Brothers and sisters!  No.  We can’t.  We’re being abused and taken advantage of by a racist system.  There’s no way out of this.  We have to march and protest and until the system changes…somehow.”

A college colleague, female, once said about black people:

“Relying on the government to solve our problems is like a rape victim relying on her rapist to make her feel safe, confident and whole again.”

Yes, we have to fight the injustices of “the system”, but that does not absolve us from our own weakness and atrocities.  Yes, we should be outraged when another unarmed young black (or other) man or boy is gunned down by police officers.  But shouldn’t we be more outraged when five young black men are gunned down in one weekend by other young black men?  When Latinos kill other Latinos over … I don’t know what.

If Obama is elected, having a black president is not going to magically solve any of these issues.  If he’s elected I’m not going to instantly lose 30 lbs. of fat, be debt free and win the Lotto.  Changing our lives and our communities will be up to us like it’s always been.

But you can’t tell me that he’s the same as McCain or that after 4 or 8 years the results wouldn’t differ.

In other words, stop hatin’, y’all.  There are many ways to make a difference.  Maybe protesting and rallies are yours.  Go for it.  You rock.  But recognize that not all change is a radical, revolutionary upheaval.  Change also happens within the system, pendulous though it may be.  It was the combination of the Civil Rights Movement and legislation and jurisprudence and executive decrees that brought about the societal shift.  And journalism.

Oh.  Way too much blog time tonight.  I’m going to pretend I have a life before I get to bed.

G’night, America.

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