The foolishness of politicians; the future of the progressive; The fantasies of the proletariatFeatured, Immigration, Racial Equity — By Nezua on March 30, 2010 at 08:30
WE ARE SERENADED and handled by sociopathically-skilled master paraders. The Good Cop/Bad Cop dynamic shuttles us from room to room eliciting the desired confession and appropriate gratitude. Meanwhile, the People dance and still struggle, while the sun turns Glen Beck’s tears into blood diamonds.
THERE WILL BE NO MEANINGFUL IMMIGRATION REFORM. Not this year, and not next year. If it lurches up to the starting gate in any form, it will be in a cruel, misshapen, bruised, and weeping condition.
The Much-Vaunted LATINO VOTE
No, the question is how will those of us who took hope in hearing Obama’s campaign-trail passion on the issue react to this news, once it manifests? The immigration-talk theater being put on now between Democrats and Republicans boils down, as I see it, to a theatrical piece where the players joust to show their base who defeated/championed a legislative effort at all. Because they translate that piece of fantasy into votes for or against them when nothing passes.
The purpose of the charade is, too (and equally important), to let us down very gently in order to dull a wave of reaction that might hurt them at the voting booth. As was done with the Public Option popping in and out and in and out of play during the Health Care talks, until our nerves were greatly numbed to the idea of either outcome. These politicians are nearly sociopathic in their ability to read and manipulate large masses of people. That’s their job, they do it well, and they learn all the wrong lessons. But one they stick close to is blunt the edge of any potential progressive populist anger. That anger, after all, is not pro-corporation.
They tell us that our power lies in our votes. But does it?
The Democratic party assumes that Liberals and Latinos alike won’t defect, in the end. Even if they punt on the immigration issue. “After all,” they imagine us saying, as they play puppet games in the library whilst drinking outlandishly expensive cognac, “Democrats fought for health care! And what is the GOP today anyway, except a festering, miserable, fearful, warlike, racist contingent of the rich and the wanna-be rich? Surely no place for us there!”
Or…we stay home and do not vote. Or…we vote third party just to say fuck you, you cynical, cowardly, well-funded, well-fed, well-powdered power brokers. All of you.
I attended the march and rally for immigration reform on Sunday, March 21, in Washington DC. I shot a video of it for my weekly news/commentary video series, News With Nezua. This week’s piece—”200,000 Strong”—is featured at La Frontera Times.
Here’s an article at the American Prospect covering the same event:
Last Sunday, 200,000 immigrant-rights protesters shared the National Mall with a Tea Party crowd that shouted racial epithets and spat at members of Congress. Unsurprisingly, the media focused on the histrionics of the Tea Partiers, but Sunday’s immigration demonstration was an important manifestation of the movement’s building impatience. In its enthusiasm and optics — legal and undocumented immigrants chanting “Sí se puede,” singing folk songs, and waving both American and Mexican flags — the demonstration was reminiscent of the immigration protests in 2006.
Yes, you are right that it is “unsurprising” that “the media” focused on the histrionics of the relatively miniscule opposition. It is unsurprising in a context where an article writer like yourself poses the two as comparative entities in the first line of your essay! Ay.
Let me tell you something. The Teabaggers, and the NumbersUSA crowd were SO SMALL in the overall reality of that day that I never once bumped into them. I actually set out to find them, and could not. So that article (while not a bad one at all) begins disingenuously. Not malevolently, I just think the writer desired a certain entrance.
Further compounding the sense of unreliability in the text is the line equivocating the waving of “both American and Mexican flags.” Writer is stretching hard, here, to justify the mirroring that they propose between 2006 and now.
I shot photos all day. I took audio. I shot video–on both my camcorder as well as my iPhone. I interviewed the young and the old. I traversed the grounds from riser and Press tent to the street and the dirty dusty danced-up soil of the National Mall until my entire body hurt and I could barely walk anymore. I squatted, ran, walked, and even hung from one arm on a tree to get a good shot. There were maybe…three Mexican flags that I saw amidst the thousands I laid eyes on. And one was tiny and hanging from my own back pocket. You go ahead and peruse the images and video you find online. And if you discover any kind of ratio that would justify that article’s imagining of an equivalency between flag-waving, come back and tell me! (Incidentally, though a bit irrelevant perhaps nonetheless, I did see a handful of El Salvadorean flags, but RIFA went to a lot of trouble to avoid a replay of the 2006 march, where the sight of Mexican flags in the street caused many, many palpitations on the Right side of the aisle.)
What IS IT with reporters today? There is so much drama and passion and honesty and fight and meaning out there. You don’t need to make things up!
No, the message transmitted by the rally and march was strongly contained and crafted and directed. That much is clear. It was a good show. RIFA did a great job. White clothes (Mexican tradition as far as I know regarding marches and protest) for a positive, clean feeling; chants of “USA! USA!” to sooth the fragile trembling tissues of the Buchananites, who toss and turn nightly over visions of Indians leaping fences to plant flags bright with writhing cobras and hungry eagles in pure pristine AMERICAN soil; big showing of proudly self-identifying Christians for immigration reform….and so on. I don’t mind, I don’t think it’s anything but smart. You would have to take control of this message in particular if you were hosting an event that large, sure.
Anyway, human rights advocates understand (one hopes!) that being involved in a pro-migrant cause requires one to push back against many nation-deep memes that feed on Indian blood, a nation that overall prefers its darkies in cells and chains or at least busing tables.
And this is a show, after all! Politics is not about truth, and even when it is, Politics has two arms. One is draped in diamonds and silks and shows up on TV, and one holds a gun and leans its elbow into the dry sand of foreign nations as it clambers ever closer to the dizzying scents of petroleum and blood. The fine line between entertainment and war, says Rage Against the Machine.
So put on the show.
My video was not celebrating the chances of reform passing. I appreciate that La Frontera Times tweeted today that I “captured a celebration of hope.” That’s just what I felt was my imperative to do on the scene, once I was there and had walked around a bit.
As a…Journalartist or…an Artivist… (or someword that combines Journalism, activism, politics, and art), my job at these events is to capture and translate the mood and feel of the happening. To tell the truth as a journalist would—by showing you who was there and what was happening—and to send it flying with the power embedded in the poetic passport only an artist may employ to launch a truth into your heartspace. The “activism” part (if it must be called something, this will do) is simply in the fact that we all know, and it is not hidden in the video, that I do not pretend to be showing some middle-of the road, “neutral” piece, but am certainly there vibing with the people I am presenting. Nonetheless, I was not there to push any political entities’ agenda, nor to lie about what I see—and finally, not to claim that what I see is all there is, either. (Though I deny an equivalent number of Mexican and US Flags!)
Fact is, if it felt different in DC on that day, the video would have come out different. I soaked it all up, and I give it back. The day felt utterly positive, true, real, and beautiful. And that was not due to the speeches (which is why my video has hardly more than one line of those in it), but to the heart and soul and bodies and voices and needs of the people.Tags: Borders, Culture of Criminality, Democratic Party, Human Rights, Immigration, justice, latinos, media, Mexican Politics, Palabras, Politics, The Vote, U.S.A., United States Politics
Author: Nezua (7 Articles)
Nezua is a blogger and creator of The Unapologetic Mexican. He has been able to channel a reactive frustration to the anti-Mexican sentiment in the media into a positive proactive expression online, and connect with many people who engage the same challenges in our society.
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