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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Republicans, Terri Schaivo and Social Security

Posted on March 29, 2005

Political Backlash for Bush & DeLay

The only prize much cared for by the powerful is power.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

This most recent campaign aimed at tugging America's heartstrings for a dying woman appears to have fallen flat for President Bush and Congressman Tom DeLay. According to even the most conservative polls, America has weighed in against the disgusting Karl Rove-styled manipulation that has, up to now, worked so well for the Neoconservative political machine.

The bigger issue going on here is that President Bush tried to pass himself off as someone who dearly cherishes life. But, his implementation of the "Futile Care" law signed in Texas when he was Governor in 1999 proves otherwise. Ironically this law was used just six months ago to terminate an indigent black infant boy's life because little Sun Hudson was - you guessed it, BRAIN DEAD. According to the Sun’s mother, he struggled for his last breaths before finally dying. His five and a half month life ebbed away without so much as a neo-conservative, a Congressman or prayer circle in sight. There were no dramatic late night flights for Air Force One that fateful night. Had Terri Schaivo been in Texas, this discussion would be moot because this Bush Law would mean that her futile condition warranted her death.

Couple that fiasco with President Bush’s brutal record as Governor of Texas. He oversaw an unprecedented, record-setting number of executions surpassing all other states in American History. Despite his claim to, "err on the side of life," Dubya's past actions do little to support his most recent public utterances. In fact, his past actions outright contradict his self acclaimed description as a, “compassionate conservative.” Wow! And this man called Kerry a "Waffler?"

Now, lets talk about Tom DeLay - the lazy-eyed Texas bug exterminator turned Congressman - who all too willingly seized upon this dubious cause but for much different reasons. Very recent polls reveal that Americans believe Representative DeLay’s intentions were less than honorable. It appears he became involved in order to divert public attention away from his CRIMINAL activities currently under scrutiny in the great nation of Texas’ criminal court system. Two weeks ago, before the Schaivo case came to national spot light, Congressman Delay was noticeably laying low and totally avoiding the media regarding allegations of corruption that literally threaten his coveted position of power as Republican Majority Leader. The “distinguished” Congressman aka, “The Hammer” ran with this "Don't kill Terri" Banner because his political future literally depended on it.

Further indications of his spurious motives link either DeLay or one of his cohorts who stupidly generated a memo to fellow Republican Congressmen encouraging them to seize upon this political football and run with it. The memo raised a few eyebrows so, now DeLay posits that his woes back in Texas are part of a greater conspiracy concocted by the Liberal "syndicate" in order to bring him down. Likening himself to the Carpenter, Jesus Christ, Representative DeLay has characterized himself as fodder for Liberal Pharisees who seem bent on questioning his jet-set lifestyle and questionable expenditures of PAC money for essentials such as vacation trips, private jet flights and golf tournaments. Of course everyone knows the Carpenter was crucified for nothing near as noble as the above listed; he died for more banal reasons like preaching social justice and his unrelenting association with society’s poor and disaffected throw-aways.

How wily these Liberals must be indeed. We eagerly await evidence that reveals just how these sinister Liberals actually conspired with the Texas District Court or have damning evidence planted in order to usurp The Hammer’s standing in Congress. Congressman DeLay claims if Terri dies, it is a victory for his detractors. Is it possible he doesn't give a damn about Terri? Is it possible he's trying to save his political bacon at this point?

Also coming to light via an article published in the LA Times, was the fact that Congressman DeLay “euthanized” his father some six years ago. It seems his father was critically injured after a Tram he had built on the farm crashed on its maiden voyage, putting him into a coma. By family consensus, the Senior DeLay was put out of his misery when life support was terminated. Despite such a heart-wrenching decision, Congressman DeLay saw fit to berate Michael Schaivo for his decision to terminate life-support. While Michael Schaivo took nearly five years to come to the conclusion that his wife would never get better, it only took Tom DeLay a few weeks pull the plug on his dear old dad.

Like all the other charlatans who prey on the elderly, these NeoCons shamefully exploited Terri Schaivo’s middle-class, voting, Social Security-age, parents desperate effort to keep their daughter alive. The photo-op was enticing as the Schindlers; intent on keeping their daughter in a Persistent Vegetative State provided the media with the spectacle of their contorted, wide-eyed daughter and her questionable responses to their baby talk.

Someone didn’t do their homework because these politicos were apparently unaware that fully one-third of all Americans have been faced with making the unfortunate decision to terminate life support for a loved family member, much like Senator DeLay had with his father. It seems the majority of Americans differed with the Neoconservative spin. It escaped the NeoCons that their characterization of Michael Schaivo blanketly included those who had already reached the painful personal decision to” pull the plug" on their loved ones in the past. Apparently such folks disagreed with characterizations of them as cold-blooded, heartless murderers. Like Michael Schaivo, they made their decision based on scientific evidence rather than religious dogma regarding life-death decisions.

Had the NeoCons manipulations worked, such a coup could have been construed as yet another "mandate" for ram-rodding Mr. Bush’s floundering Social Security agenda through; the better he fared with Schaivo, the more clout he could use in compelling Congress to accede to his wishes regarding Social Security reform.

The strategy was eerily reminiscent of the Iraq + WMD + 911/Al Qaeda calculus of deception which resulted in Bush getting rid of Saddam Hussein. This time however, President Bush’s rock-'em sock-’em cowboy style failed him. America didn't bite. The crusade nose-dived. America wasn't quite so gullible this time.

Ironically, these two "Christian" politicians' have immersed themselves in color-by-numbers religiosity as they repeatedly invoke the commandment, "Thou shall not kill" while staunchly favoring the Death Penalty. Truth is stranger than fiction here folks. Curiously, the prevailing arguments - namely the 14th Amendment for due process, invoked by the NeoCons these days is the exact same appeal used by death-penalty opponents. Until recently such appeals were flat out dismissed as "Bleeding heart Liberal" drivel that unnecessarily tie up the courts and prolong the wait for those condemned to die! Apparently indigent citizens of Texas do not enjoy the privilege of having the 14th Amendment guaranteed by heroic actions of either a President or Majority Congressional leader who just happen to hail from their home state. It is not politically expedient to take up the same cause and the result is a poor black child in the same condition as Terri Schaivo is now quite dead. Why is it nobody "erred on the side if life" for him? Either it is okay to kill or not. What is good on Sunday ought to be good every day of the week shouldn't it? What happened to "Fair and balanced?" Welcome to America, where everyone is created equal; some people just happen to be more "equal " than others. Where is the outrage?

In light of the marginal coverage by the cowering "liberal" media and the faux news eschewed by the conservatively skewed cable news pundits, it is truly amazing America knows anything at all about the ongoing hypocrisy. For instance, despite the tragedy which took place on Red Lake Reservation last week where the second largest school slaughter took place in American History, neither President Bush nor did any representative of the Jesus Jihad spoke up about the tragedy. It took President Bush four days to finally make a call to address the tragedy. It looks like dead Indians, confined to reservations, living in squalor and despair rate as much with the Neoconservatives as much as do poor black kids on life support in Texas.

How odd that Republicans whose platform has traditionally been marked by advocating for limited Federal intervention and strong State's Rights now intentionally disregarded it altogether and then tried to side-step the Florida judiciary through their unprecedented meddling by inventing a custom made law for Terri Schaivo alone. Review of the legislation’s wording clearly indicates its specific intention aimed at usurping a judicial decision, based on a law, thoughtfully implemented by the Florida legislature and adjudicated in the courts. These NeoCons intentionally interfered with Michael Schaivo's clearly defined right to exercise regarding his wife’s end-of-life decision.

One thing is patently clear, the Republicans tried to make an end run around States rights (unfortunately with the assistance of a hand-full of cowering Democrats who feared political backlash if they voted against the bill). Fortunately however, there exists a third part of the American Check and Balance System; the Judiciary which found in favor of long-ago established precedents legislated in Florida, bi-camerally, implemented by the executive branch and tested in the Court. The Lower Court decisions were so solid that the Florida Supreme Court, Federal District Court and the 11th District Court upheld the decision. Interestingly, the Florida legislature failed to succumb to pressure from the religious right and did not pass legislation that would have kept Terri Schaivo alive. With such a large elderly population, they undoubtedly realized the economic implications of buckling into the Neoconservative agenda promulgated by their Governor Jeb Bush, the President's brother.

At any rate, thank heaven for the Constitution which, thus far has remained intact against the recent egregious partisan onslaught. This cabal of ultra right-wing Neoconservatives ceaselessly foists its morality on America even at the expense of weakening our beloved Constitution. If these NeoCons have their way, they will eventually destroy that blessed document because of their lock-stepped march toward fulfilling their agenda.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mejor morir a pie que vivir de rodillas - It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees - Pancho Villa

And so I pray I am today as honest
with myself, with life all around me and below and above me,
with all who I encounter.
Jimmy Santiago Baca - Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande


The title of my first posting is a famous quote attributed to Emiliano Zapata who proclaimed, "It is better to die on your feet to live on your knees." It is one of my favorite quotes because it pretty much sums up my mentality. Dignity ranks among the most important words in my vocabulary, right up with there with loyalty, honor and respect. I give it freely and I measure every person I encounter on the measure they dole out. I comport myself as a guest in all people's lives and I treat everyone as an honored guest in mine.

Also included in my first posting is my quote from Jimmy Santiago Baca, a distant cousin who has done quite well for himself by writing poetry from his heart as he describes the richly delicious culture of our people. I love, admire and respect the man for giving so much dignity and respect to a people whose existence pre-dates America itself and who's struggle to endure has been anything but easy. My people have pressed on, against all odds to retain their unique culture and are finally just beginning to realize that the often painful effort to maintain their world view has turned out to be well worth it. Day by day, the world is coming to know the Chicano experience with the rise of musicians, actors, writers and poets who share our beautiful culture with the world. God bless them all. They deserve all the accolades and profits for their contributions to the Human experience.

This blog is dedicated to every small voice on the planet. My greatest hope is that this becomes a place where people from all walks of life can come to express their feelings and share their perspectives because every person has the God-given right to speak freely. I will be posting on various topics and anything is fair play.

As a Latino who identifies myself to be a Chicano, I most definitely have a world view that is particularly unique to me. I will say outright, I am an American and I do love my country however, I have my own ideas regarding what is right and what is wrong. Undoubtedly, we will not agree on every point which I discuss and I respect your opinion. I expect that you will do the same. I invite you to express yourselves freely but I do reserve the right to remove postings that I consider to be offensive or in poor taste. I expect my censorhip will be quite limited because I am pretty thick-skinned and besides, this is my world and you are just passing through it!

There are people who share my descent who describe themselves as Mexican-American but that descriptive falls short for me because I was not born in Mexico and moreover, modern-day New Mexico was only part of Mexico proper for 22 years after they won their Independence from Spain. Be that as it may, as previously stated above, I identify myself as a Chicano. This descriptive had its birth during the 1960's Civil Rights Movement.

Here Chicano is defined according to

A relatively recent term that has been appropriated by many Mexican descendants as unique and therefore reflective of their unique culture, though its first usage seems to have been discriminatory. The most likely source of the word is traced to the 1930 and 40s period, when poor, rural Mexicans, often native Americans, were imported to the US to provide cheap field labor, under an agreement of the governments of both countries. The term seems to have come into first use in the fields of California in derision of the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from Morelos state to refer to themselves as "Mexicanos," and instead spoke of themselves as "Mesheecanos," in accordance with the pronunciation rules of their language (for additional details, refer to the file MEXICO on this same subdirectory). An equivocal factor is that in vulgar Spanish it is common for Mexicans to use the "CH" conjunction in place of certain consonants in order to create a term of endearment. Whatever its origin, it was at first insulting to be identified by this name. The term was appropriated by Mexican-American activists who took part in the Brown Power movement of the 60s and 70s in the US southwest, and has now come into widespread usage. Among more "assimilated" Mexican-Americans, the term still retains an unsavory connotation, particularly because it is preferred by political activists and by those who seek to create a new and fresh identity for their culture rather than to subsume it blandly under the guise of any mainstream culture.

Doubtless, I have great pride in my roots which are a mixture of European and Native American. There is a term "mestizaje" which means "mixed nature." It is a very popular and accepted term in Mexico however, it does not enjoy as much popularity north of the US-Mexico border for 'assimilated' Spanish-speaking citizens born in the US. Unfortunately, as part of the assimilation process, many Latinos deny they have any mixed blood and prefer to believe the myth that they are 'true' Spaniards. They prefer to claim a heritage of exclusively European ancestry. Nevertheless, I love the term Chicano because it pays tribute to my Indio roots. The reality is that, unlike the Quebqois of French Canada who brought their women to the new world, the Spanish did not. Consequently, the overwhelming majority of Spaniards took new world women as spouses and lovers and their progeny were the mestizos.

To my way of thinking, to deny my Indian roots would be tantamount to denying my ancestral mother. My people eat foods that were and continue to be the typical staple of new world Indios. The food I was raised on in New Mexico where I was born and raised is the food of the indigenous people and not their Spanish conquerers. While I can trace my family's roots directly back to the Chavez, Luceros, Gutierrez and,the Bernals who arrived in the New Wolrd with Coronado in the mid-sixteenth century, I am equally proud to claim my maternal, Indio roots pre-date that by tens of thousands of years.

In 1925, Mexican author, Jose Vasconselos wrote La Raza Cosmica. In it, he refers to ascendency of a new, mixed-blood race of people whom he refers to as the Cosmic Race. Chicanos are part of that cosmic race. The poem written in 1983 by Lorenzo Roberto Almada,in memory of Roberto Alaniz is a decent insight to the Chicano World View - It is worth taking the time to read.

I have covered a tremendous amount of history in these few lines. As time passes, I will always endeavor to share what I do know with you. I was educated at The University of New Mexico where I recieved two degrees. As a scientist and historian I find my intrests are highly varied.

I had the distinct pleasure of studying under Professor Charles Truxillo and I thank him for igniting the tremendous pride I have in my roots and, for my people. I also had the distinct honor of studying under the Historian, Tobias Duran whose Doctoral Dissertation, "We come as Friends" reads like a novel. I also studied under Sociologist, Felipe Gonzales PhD, Director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. I can never thank these three men for all they did to help me see how blessed I am to be a Latino and more particularly a Chicano.

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