Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and Political Amnesia

With 2010 ending concluding the nation thereby ends a harmful year of legislative enactments that bordered on the edge of hate crimes against gente de color generally but within the framework of this post Latinas/os specifically. Several of the harmful trajectories "chosen" harmed the nation and took America into the realm of the "against humankind" category.

Two such routes include the "kill ethnic studies" and anti-immigrant hysteria based legislation that defied the legal formalism of long established preemption law and federal state relationships. Isn't it something when such law is not engaged but instead rules are selectively employed to harm concrete population groups to garner favor and promote the skullduggery of political parties?

Yet political amnesia also caused the nation to travel down a dire and negative path. This approach directly and divisively ignored the contributions from communities of color of the past and into the future. Contemplate the labor and efforts of our communities that built and labored on the nation's railroad systems that shortened distances and expedited commerce. How would the agricultural sector fare without the work of farm laborers who are even into the present facing economic hardship? How about the efforts of fearless students and other activists that challenged state goons that sought to preclude their right to the franchise? Their efforts added immeasurable strength to the promises constitutional drafters sought and made. The list of such contributions is endless and benefited the nation's economic, social and political base.

Additionally fear based legislation and its mongers fail to reconcile the weakness of their stance in promoting harmful legislation with the future base needs of the nation. When presented with an invaluable opportunity through the DREAM Act the fear promoting politicians willingly chose a path with no return and thereby turned their backs on the nation. Try and reconcile the talent the affected students would have brought to the economic and well-being base of the nation. Even more specifically, the anti-votes are difficult to reconcile with the innumerable exceptions to current immigration law that permits the entry and permanent residence of many from foreign nations. Span the congressional record for such exceptions that were based inter alia on humanitarian, social, political or other purposes. It is not difficult to conclude that race looms over the political zeitgeist of the times.

Space limitations leave much that has to be left for another post but the passing of Latina/o fearless leaders and activists that fought so many civil rights and political battles mandate our asking "who will replace them?" Can we ever look back at this past year without a big sigh?

In surveying the political debris field this past year also brought a few amazing transformative changes from brave and honorable state and federal representatives and gives hope for the forthcoming new year. Consider the much appreciated news that Florida now and finally recognizes that children need the same-sex parents that sought to adopt them. Illinois also brought news on the civil rights front by recognizing same sex unions. Breathless in their scope but the media also brought attention to a joint collective effort. Specifically the rescue of the Chilean miners that was made possible by the actions of individuals from throughout North and South America.

The rescue underscores even more fundamentally when such collective action works. It further brings much hope for yet other seemingly insurmountable battles that the last elective season promises. Consider hope is needed because legislation is already being introduced to strip certain classes of babies from their citizenship status. One canot wonder about other problems that need attention and how anti-baby legislation is employed to divert constituents from the harsh economic times of the present.

The end of the passing year also obligates a look to the future that the New Year will bring but first mil gracias to the students who led the charge to enact progressive legislation and to protect ethnic studies and their supporters. Students have long engaged in civil rights activities including the present Puerto Rican student strikes of the present. From the past the Chicana/o Blowouts of East L.A. or the walk-outs of South Texas witnessed many students arrested for daring to protest educational disparities and inequities. The successes of the past opened many doors of the present and the present active challenges of students against colonialism and its entrenched tactics is much appreciated.

In saying adios to 2010 and looking to 2011 let us accordingly and for the well-being of the nation indulge a prayer, or a blessing, or a ritual or even one of those fascinating new year's eve superstitions with a firm conviction. Specifically like those brave students of the past and the present who battled so much let us also neither fear nor hide from the forthcoming political amnesia the last election cycle promises to bring.

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