According to F.B.I. statistics, between 2003 and 2006, there was a 35% increase in hate crimes against Latinos across the United States. Good chance the documentation errs on the low side. In general, hate crimes are on the rise, according to recent data coming out of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As we watch the presidential race riots, we are once again distracted from a core issue: our silence as a nation, as The People. Where is the noise of collective action? Where are the voices of local leaders calling out the truth of our conditions? And please don’t tell me about HOPE. Hope is the new dope, as my friend Fred Ho, says and I agree. Hope cannot replace action. It is like the word “relax” which is usually code for “don’t make me uncomfortable with the truth.” Whoever you plan to vote for, please don’t count on your candidate to change our economically, socially and intellectually anemic landscape. We have surrendered our passion to reality television, grieving and celebrating televised lives while suppressing the responses to our own with multiple addictions: food, tobacco, alcohol, drugs and Lotto dreams.
When we go to movie theaters, we now sit through advertising. We PAY for the privilege. The audience just sits there and takes it in. Advertising is everywhere. Soon the plasma screens with ads will be going up in restaurants and other public places. Have you been in NYC lately? The stairs of subway stations are being branded, products sold to your every step. We work, we spend, we collapse in front of the TV in our branded shoes and clothing, nothing left for casual conversation with the letter carrier or worse, our loved ones. It is only a matter of time before we are tagged like cattle with a governmental barcode and our bodies solicited by corporations as billboards. Whose brand will you wear on your face when there is nothing left with which to feed your children?
Hillary this, Obama that. It is impossible to run for the office of President and maintain untarnished integrity. Candidates listen to the oncoming waves and dress accordingly, but we are the ones drowning. Drowning in silence. According to the Associated Press, more than 5,000 square miles of ice shelf have broken off in Antarctica over the past 50 years. We go on about our days, oblivious and shopping with money we don’t have for toxic, polluting garbage we don’t need. No President can replace the Voice of the People. But The People can easily be replaced by the President, as the current regime has proven. The People speak in whispers, as the Predators of the United States roar and devour our rights, our economy, our true safety. Hillary cannot save us. Obama cannot save us. They are too busy saving themselves. If we want change, we cannot be afraid of our rage or a collective, creative and organized response to injustice. We need noise in the streets again – it is a matter of self-defense.
Visit Magdalena Gómez at her space: www.myspace.com/magdalenagomez
La Prensa is a proud member of the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce