Here it is again, from me: For all of you (us) depressed and negative about last night and about Bernie’s possibilities on the Democratic ballot:
1. We knew back in April of 2015 when he announced his candidacy that it was going to be a tough and long and uphill road, with lots of heartbreak along the way. That is the way true change comes; only in Hollywood movies do you have a genie show up and grant you three wishes.
2. Math and science in this type of thing? Not what this is about. This is about changing THE CORE of what is wrong with a) our country and b) the world. Because everything that happens in the United States affects the rest of the planet, period.
3. We should think of this as an opportunity, which comes once in ten lifetimes, of actually making a real change for the better, in a world that has turned into a bad horror movie, except that the blood is not ketchup and the haunting eyes of the miserable are not Hollywood actors. This means we buckle our seatbelts because it’s going to be a bumpy night… (No, she doesn’t say ride, she says night).
4. To give you some simple examples of things that were “impossible” but happened anyway:
a. The emancipation of slaves
b. The labor movement, the 8-hour workday, the prohibition of child labor, worker safety statutes…
c. The gay marriage act, and the acceptance of the LGBT community…
d. The right of women, indigenous people, blacks, and others to vote, to work, to earn an equal living.
Obviously all of the above are not completely done; even slavery is still alive and well today, the gains of the labor movement are being destroyed by greed, and the LGBT movement still encounters violence and discrimination. The rights of women and minorities, although they may be contained in documents, are still subject to abuse and violation. But they were passed, and they exist in documents, and it is possible to defend that which has been established than to establish it in the first place.
Frederick Douglass tells us: ““Let me give you a word on the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to — and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” —Frederick Douglass, “The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies” (August 3, 1857)
We have been deliberately un- and mis-educated and made to feel like impotent, always obedient children in this country. We have romantic ideas about change, about rights, about how things get done. Well, they get done step by step, as if you were building a house or a building; you lay a foundation, you do the framing, you add walls, windows, doors, and whatever else is needed. This does not happen in one day.
Gardens don’t grow in one day either. You plant your seeds, water them, let them be nurtured by the darkness of the earth, and sometime later you have food, or beautiful flowers. Step by step; not so much math or science as effort. Painstaking, sometimes grueling effort.
I am in this for the long run. I have been in this since I first began to reason, even as a child. I am a child of the Cuban revolution, and I have seen its travails and its victories; most of the travails coming from the northern neighbor, the seat of Empire… I was living in the Dominican Republic when the US landed thousands of Marines and unleashed a bloody civil war… I went to college in Puerto Rico, which has never been allowed to be free and which now is bankrupt due to multinational depredation. The longest-held political prisoner in the United States is Oscar López Rivera, a freedom fighter.
How much longer can we sit in front of our television sets or tablets or I-pads or whatever your particular tool, and pretend we just don’t see what is out there? Remember Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind?
Our sense of unrest is not new, and some of us have been fighting, protesting, getting arrested, running for office, and having our hearts broken again and again because when the common coin of the land is greed and profit, all meaning is taken away. And now we have this man from Brooklyn and Vermont, who has decided to take them all on, who has chosen, rather than take it “easy” at his age, to throw in the entire effort of his personality, of his countless years of fighting for the common man and woman, and we are talking about math and science?
We never had a chance in the Democratic primary anyway. Bernie is threatening to take away all the nasty privileges that they are all used to; the private jets and the mansions here and there, and the bribes and the failure to pay your way, by outsourcing jobs, by outsourcing your soul, by burying or muzzling it, so it makes no noise… I am moved to tears every time he takes the stage and begins to pound the podium, with his flyaway hair and his Brooklyn accent… Sometimes it takes me a while to calm down, but always I am left with a sense of hope, with a desire to fight yet another day, with the knowledge that finally, we can do something to change the way things are.
Because they must change, because no matter how quixotic the pursuit, there are things that must be done to achieve justice… For those of you who are still thinking that voting for the “lesser evil,” I won’t argue with you anymore. But for me, I am NOT giving up the fight. Let us hold hands and move forward. Let us reach for the stars. Let the new world begin!
Silvia Antonia Brandon Pérez, viuda de Forsyth