For the many carnales and carnalas who have struggled against the daunting forces of racism, sexism, classism, militarism, heterosexism, ageism and ableism for several decades to achieve some semblance of social justice and equality for our communities, let me share a few heart-felt sentiments about what the future seems to hold for us. Activists had visions and dreams about what kind of América we wanted to build. During the Civil Rights Movements, we dreamt of creating a new society living in freedom from the labor intensive shackles of enslavement that alienated our spirits; from the racist ideology that belittled and commodified our culture placing it for sale on the common market but negated our presence, and from educational hegemony that kept us ignorant of our history.
I wanted to build an América that would heal the pangs of racism—racial tensions that have destroyed the fabric of our society—creating division between and among groups.
In my naiveté, I wanted to work towards building an América that would be transformed from a mono-cultural, mono-lingual society into a salad with all of the cultural trimmings and a polyglot of thriving languages. I wanted to build an América that would heal the pangs of racism—racial tensions that have destroyed the fabric of our society—creating division between and among groups. In an attempt to rid ourselves of the hate-filled mongers that want to turn the clock back into a historical period when abhorrence prevailed, a new fire has been ignited, one that burns the soul. I wanted to build an América that would open up her arms as she had done in the past and accept the many brothers and sisters who trek through dangerous deserts filled with violence to come to this country to work and contribute. I wanted to build an América that would begin and continue to honor all women for the many contributions they made to better the lives of all Americans. I wanted to build an América that would provide equal education for all, an América that would open up its arms and embrace the multicultural education that all Americans deserve so that we could learn about each other’s cultures and histories. I wanted to build an América that would pay decent wages to farm laborers that put food on our tables. I wanted to build an América that would provide equal opportunity that was inclusive of all oppressed groups, opening the once shut doors of segregation in business, government, nonprofits and community establishments. The binding threads of respect and appreciation for differences have worn out and the vision is now dangling on street corners that were once filled with diversity. I wanted to build an América that would hold honest, forthright elections, living out the true meaning of democracy in a free country. I wanted to build an América that would live up to its creed of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of its citizens; an América whose flag would be honored by all, not just the privileged who ironically desecrate its true meaning.
For the last three decades those dreams have faded away into oblivion. Those dreams are only illusions of deceit and disgust as the country flounders in a state of nihilism, an abyss with an unknown future, drooping on a thread of mediocrity. Every day television is full of politicians fighting with each other about who is right and who is wrong. Dialogue has been turned upside, transmuted into mud-slinging contests as human beings desecrate each other. Impetuous leaders have lost control of their impulses behaving like they had just crawled out of kindergarten camps unable to use the gift of language to communicate while hurling spontaneous invectives towards their fellow Americans.
The world is at war with those who use it to delegate authority, with an intentionality to keep the structure as it is versus those that use the word to emancipate and liberate the masses. The value of respect has dwindled down into particles of dust, flung needlessly into América’s streets, filling it with vile and contempt. My dreams have been replaced by nightmares about World War III with jackbooted modern weaponry, and long welfare lines. Modern technology has become a weapon creating undue suspiciousness and paranoia against those whose goal is to build a better América. Domination, commodification and manipulation have become key weapons on the ongoing class warfare in today’s society.
We live in interesting times as the powerful hang onto an outdated version of neoliberalism whose definition confuses many and whose application denies the rest. This false ideology continues to attempt to shape our perception about the equality Americans possess while many Americans wait in line for a replaced health care plan, dismantling what little is left while competition and privatization is causing a polarization of the classes. Anti-climatologists deny the destruction of mother earth as violent storms and hurricanes run amok, destroying communities.
Hate has replaced love. Peace has been switched to violence on American streets. Anger has supplanted happiness.
That’s not the América I wanted to build.
Dr. Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist. © 7-17-2017 Ramón Del Castillo.