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    United States Socialist Republic book by HG Goerner

    My 2020 Year-end Ruminations

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    By Armando Vazquez

    My 2020 year-end ruminations of love, gratitude, and respect for my ancestors and the courageous frontline warriors of our time, the world’s immigrants, for their unremittent and courageous love. Their love and selfless sacrifice is the beacon of transformative faith and hope to a dark, dangerous, and desperate world. 

    “As an immigrant I want to lay down, but these countries are like bad uncles who touch you when you’re young and asleep. Look at all these borders foaming at the mouth with bodies broken and desperate…I spent days and nights in the stomach of the truck; I did not come out the same. Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body.”…Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

    I am an immigrant and I thank the Great Spirit that I am alive today. To be able to celebrate the holidays and 2020 years end, with my family, my loved ones, and friends. Even in this terribly painful, agonizing and deadly year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am committed to the “good trouble” revolutionary struggle with faith, eternal gratitude and love cautiously navigating adelante into the coming New Year.

    I am a 70 year old Chicano who has weathered and been humbled by the long twisted, unpredictable, sometimes euphoric, and at times wicked turn of my life’s trajectory. I am eternally grateful for both the velvet kisses and the many ass kicking that I have received in revolutionary service to my community! I do not want to die, just yet, I have a lot to contribute. But if the time comes for me to return to celestial star dust, I’m cool. While I have breath in my lungs and love in heart life here are some of the things that I am especially grateful for.

    I am eternally grateful to my jefitos and all of the immigrants of the world that carry with them a love so strong for their loved ones that they commit to the mysterious, seemingly eternal, often deadly trek with blinding, all-consuming, and unwavering faith that despite monstrous odds they will reach their “promise land” and provide a chance for a better day for their progeny. This is the greatest gift of love manifested, compete and total surrender of self in the name of love. That miraculous selfless love, my fellow Americans, is what immigrants demonstrate to the world each and every day. So why do so many American despise, corrupt, and fear this monumental and heroic act of total selfless love? Can it be that it is hard, almost impossible in abundant, affluent and avaricious America to distinguish real love from momentary palpation of our lusty materialistic, greedy and selfish egos?

    “The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality”…Che

    I am eternally grateful for the educational opportunities that my revolutionary sisters and brothers of this country and throughout the world who fought and died so that I, and my tribe, might have the possibility to develop an insatiably, critical, fearless, discerning and inquisitive mind. So when I read anew Frantz Fanon, in Black Skin, White Masks write, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are present with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted (Think Trumpism). It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it so important to the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with their core belief”

    “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”… Emiliano Zapata

    I fully understand what Fanon is talking about, how and why we as American have become an acutely irrational, fearful and polarized nation. More than half of the white population feels that their “core beliefs” are being threatened by this nations eternal scapegoats, the “immigrant terrorists, rapists, the gangsters, and bad hombres” and scientific or new information that brushes up against the “core beliefs” of this delusional population only exacerbates cognitive dissonance and creates as we have witnessed irrational fear, loathing, and hatred. So a mad evil genius like Trump can deftly, and with coldblooded precision manipulate this mostly white man irrational fear further until we are now faced with a national chasm so deep and divided that it threatens to explode into civil war.

    “I believe that every American should have stable, dignified housing; health care; education – that the most very basic needs to sustain modern life should be guaranteed in a moral society”…Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    I am now at the age that I may someday soon need extensive medical help, but for today my body and mind are as strong as a Lion, I think I can still run a marathon. For this healthy body I am eternally grateful. That is not the case with some members of my family. I have two children that suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, their medical care is extensive, costly and for now will be with them for the rest of their lives. Without appropriate health care, and costly medications their quality of life would deteriorate horrifically. My dearest friend, a family member, and business partner of 30 years has serious chronic heart and lung issues, without her medical regimen her current and precarious health would spiral out of control leading toward certain death. I work and volunteer in the recovery community and many of these sisters and brothers literally depend on their medication and therapy for their sobriety and a chance to get back their lives. Most however in the recovery community do not have health insurance. So it goes for the countless million Americans that do not have health insurances

    Why is it so damn hard for the richest nation in the world to provide universal health care for all?  The answer is as horrible as it is obvious, there is little to no value that we place in this society on our most needy residents. They are abandoned by a materialistic society that condemns the poor, the homeless, the immigrants, the children and the affirmed to the scrap heap of oblivion, like the useless material trinkets that we spend our entire lives acquiring, consuming, get bored off and then mindlessly discarding.

    No segment of the American work force gets more abused and discarded than the farmworkers of this nation.  Nelson Mandela, in his book The Long Walk to Freedom reminds us all that, “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones” A recent California Agricultural Workers Health Survey was conducted   and revealed that over 80% of the farmworkers surveyed did not have any kind of health insurance. With the current COVID-19 pandemic raging out of control in California these vital and essential front line workers are disproportionately infected and die due to lack of health care. This is an American travesty of the first order.

    My father and his four brothers were all Mexican immigrant farmworkers that came to California in the late 1940’s. And for more than 50 years my father toiled in the glasshouse “fields” of Southern California propagating orchids for the consumption of the well to do American consumer, and never once did my father or his brothers have the benefit of health insurance, nor the benefit and support of a labor union.

    One of the unsung heroes of the early labor movement in California and the Southwest along with Bert Corona and Luisa Moreno, was Josephina Fierro. She helped form the group El Congreso de Pueblos Habla Espanola (El Congreso) in 1938 to help immigrants and farmworkers organize and fight for their rights. Josephina Fierro explained her organizing efforts thusly, “so that we can shape the law to benefit all levels of society and influence labor bosses and farm growers. We need to have control over the mayor and the judges. We are here to channel into positive ways of thinking and behaving that will help all of us to end the repression that is the source of our misery. The challenge is still there to pave the way for other exploited workers.” Here we are at the end of 2020, little has changed since Fierro began her organizing work, with more than 80% of all farmworkers in the California fields still without basic health insurance. I honor the memory of early labor activists like Fierro and my ancestors and I am in eternal gratitude, committed to the fight until universal health, basic humane and decent rights are provided to all workers in this nation.

    It is infinite love, this greatest of all gifts that my selfless parents gave to me, and I want to continue to share with my community and the world. It is this ethical and moral selfless code of love that our ancestors have imparted upon us, the immigrants and the disenfranchised of this nation and the world so that we may continue our righteous fight for social justice, liberty and equality for children and for future generations to come.

    It is a dark, foreboding and desperate time in America and through the world, and ironically it is the most vilified, demonized, and the least of us; the poor, the immigrants, the youth, the homeless, the farmworker that with their infinite acts of selfless sacrifice will continue to show America and the rest of the world that love, not money, not power, not weapons, but pure sweet miraculous love that will liberate our country from shackles of the greedy elites and help transform our nation and the world into a just, peaceful and equitable place where we are all free and equals. This is my dream, my reality, my struggle, mi lucha por la justa causa amorosa.

     


    Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition

     


    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


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