Friday, November 25, 2016

A Few Words

Oh, by the way, it's way too late
We're all waiting for the world to end
The Mavericks - Waiting for the World to End

The day after Thanksgiving. 

As I said in this same space several years ago, for this same day-after post, I hope you all had a peaceful and meaningful holiday. I’ve been on La Bloga since its wobbly birth (we celebrate twelve years on November 28) and sometimes I feel like I’m writing the same page for the twelfth time. Or, it’s all brand new to me and I wonder how in the hell I come up with some of the stuff that appears above my byline.

The current Bloga crew is a hard-working, talented group of dedicated writers. You already know that if you’ve spent any time reading La Bloga. I’m quite proud of all of our writers and contributors, past and present, and especially proud of the panoramic collection of articles stashed in our archives, ready and waiting. Our writers produce, almost every day, a kaleidoscope of words, a helter-skelter array of sentences and paragraphs that run the gamut from book reviews, to interviews, to recipes, to health advice, to polemics, to slice-of-life, to poetry, to any number of other things that we live, teach, and write, and all of it pointing to the truth about what it really means to be a person of color in this country, in these times.  In case you are curious, I don't accept a post-truth world.  

Not that it was easy getting up the day after the election. I didn’t want to believe the truth, but there it was. Was I hallucinating from an election hangover? If only. Voters in key electoral states chose a man who is so obviously a phony, a racist, a misogynist, a … well, we’ve been through all that already. Now we face at least four years of phony, racist, misogynistic governance, at best. We’re spurred to study again the meaning of fascism, the danger of appeasement, the strength in united fronts. We recall past struggles, defeats, and victories. We return to the words of past movements and activists, and we tell ourselves we will remain vigilant. Don't wait for the world to end.  Organize, organize, organize …

But, hey. We’ve been through this before. This, and worse. As a Chicano, I share a bloody, violent history of oppression and resistance. As a Chicano, I cling to the fragility of the thin ribbon of hope that many of us reference when we speak of justice, equality, freedom, or democracy – and that many of us believe can be shredded in an instant by unbridled power that goes unchallenged.

So, the election of Trump is not the greatest evil that people of the United States have inflicted on other people of the United States. Actually, far from it. Consider a long list that includes Japanese American concentration camps, Native American genocide, lynchings, slavery. That’s not to say that we can ignore Trump and all he stands for. As Frederick Douglas said, no struggle, no progress. And we will progress past Trump. On that you must rely.

Finally, relevant words from César Chávez:

“It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity." 



Manuel Ramos is the author of several novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction books and articles. His collection of short stories, The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories, was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book Award. My Bad: A Mile High Noir was published by Arte Público Press in October, 2016. 

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