Light and Shadow
By Jorge D. H. Prosperi 2019
“Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin.
We can illuminate our path or darken our way.
It is a matter of choice.” –Maya Angelou
The 21st Century Ugly American no longer wears polyester attire of the 1960s but struts through Washington’s Capital Statuary Hall in Stuart Hughes suits, Testoni shoes, $900 voguish haircuts with manicure and massage included. The statues these imposters walk by remain nameless – silent relics rather than sirens of a national conscience echoed by Abraham Lincoln . . . Lest these charlatans forget . . . “ . . . government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The 21st Century Ugly American political double-dealers prey on specific zip codes that have been ignored and feel isolated having lost their regional identity and constructed capital of pigmentation. These political swindlers promise that they will return the country – be their savior – move back the clock. These connivers convince folks that they also shop at Farmer Supply Stores and Walmarts.
Sorry to inform the bitter “base” that these ‘picaros’ (charlatans) prefer sushi, caviar and Kobe beef. The closest they will ever come to driving a Ford Jubilee tractor is a golf cart. These 1 percenters don’t muck cow stalls or plow fields but are experts at making Washington dung available for consumption preaching that their privileged entitled feces don’t stink.
The “Make America Oppressed, Chaotic and Divided” campaign did not start in 2015 but was the con game of the 1900s and 2000s focused on new strategies, exponentially picking up speed after an African American president was elected and re-elected. The formula was well constructed with an insidious national strategy that worked:
– Obstruct, obstruct and obstruct then blame Washington for being broken
– Reinforce gerrymandered districts at every local, state and national level – Suppress and limit voting opportunities
– Redefine “patriotism.” Foster White Nationalism, Nativism, America First and Religious Righteousness rhetoric. Label those who disagree as unAmerican and non-patriotic.
– Embrace, affirm and repeat “confirmation bias” with daily contrived talking points
– Revitalize 1930s scare tactics blaming socio-cultural-political-financial dysfunctions on “others and difference” – create collective noun defaults – immigrants, migrants, feminism, homosexuals, lesbians, transgender, non-christians, unions, liberal judges
– Define and label immigrants as criminals, gangs and infested caravans
– Suppress investigative reporting and news media calling it “fake news”
– Make outlandish promises – say whatever the “base” wants to hear – counter reason, logic, common sense and critical thinking with “big lies” repeating them often and louder
– Deplete – divert coffers from public education, health care, non-profits and unions
– Establish and market strategic echo chambers – information bias – silos – tunnel vision throughout the heartland via radio and TV
– Create the “Great White Hope” hero worship regardless of immoral and unethical flaws
– Hide dark PAC money (Political Action Committees) – (Citizens United). Accept money from industries, businesses (small and large), lobby politicians representing gun, coal, oil, gas, fracking, Wall Street). Focus and promise to overturn environmental restrictions and consumer protections. Bottom line – manipulate votes at all cost
– Create fear in candidates and elected officials that the “Tea Party base” will punish those who dare to voice opposition. Require blind loyalty and obstruct all legislation – disregard rule of law – obstruct investigations
– Keep women in their “natural” state of being – modest, in the kitchen, pregnant and submissive – view feminism as anti-family and marriage
The national Ponzi-Bait-and-Switch Game was on and once in place, America was being asked to literally pay out of pocket for a new financial enterprise called Tax Cuts with its infamous “Trickle Down Effect.” As with all Ponzi schemes, someone gets duped, used, abused and left behind.
Families living the 1% “fail-safe-life” were AGAIN rewarded with unlimited choices of worth – unlimited health care, unlimited mental/physical therapy and rehabilitation, unlimited access to nutrition, unlimited safe housing, unlimited family domestic support, unlimited education at independent-private schools of choice, unlimited educational tutoring, unlimited college counseling, unlimited college tuition without debt, unlimited technology, unlimited institutional nepotism, unlimited transportation, unlimited legal representation, unlimited tax exceptions, unlimited discretionary spending, unlimited inheritance for the children, unlimited front row seats for the “Rich and Famous” in private suites. For the 1%, and often the 5%, the quality of choices is never a matter of availability, limits, restrictions or worth – but rather unequivocal – unrestricted access if and when needed. No waiting in line or taking a number.
America in 2019-2020 is being called AGAIN to identify itself – to reflect upon, authenticate and actualize the founding principles of Democracy, Justice, Equity, Rule of Law, Decency, Civility and Pursuit of a Quality of Life Worth Living – not for some – but for all.
These principles constitute an ever present vision, mission and core values requiring continued affirmation and amplification because these principles are ever morphing – ever expanding the peripheries of inclusion and dealing with the complexities of the human condition shared by all generations.
That said, we could surmise that the pursuit of such ethical and moral ideals would not be a struggle, opposed, obstructed and/or denied but a matter of common civic-civil-moral sense. But our heritage and legacy were woven with a coarse rope used to enslave, oppress and deprive. The rope is ever taut, never relaxed with both sides aware of its meaning, purpose and its legacy.
So who is on each side of the rope of our historical monster tug-of-war? We used to skirt around the answers – try to deny or avoid the raw truths at home, school and neighborhood.
But in 2019 we see each other clearly. Face to face – eye to eye. No more talking around nuances. The time for pretense, fake news and altered realities too much of a stretch for a semblance of critical thinking . . . too much of going back to antiquated tired rhetoric and delusions that the 1950s are right around the corner. Sorry, Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best are now only reruns – with the same language, script and endings.
So in 2019 we witness sides articulating absolute intentions blatantly clear. America has now been provided with Toric lenses with its socio-cultural-political astigmatism and cataracts no longer an excuse. The hands of each citizen are now on the rope of Citizenship and can pull accordingly.
On one side Citizens . . .
<<<<< Well-intended egalitarians (working through historical -isms, phobias, predispositions, biases)
<<<<< Reasonable (using logic, research and facts in search of meaning and truth)
<<<<< Educated life-long-learners (wanting to know what they don’t know)
<<<<< Critical thinkers (not tied to absolute confirmation biases)
<<<<< Astute and curious (about the human condition as it applies to all humans)
<<<<< Discerning (dedicated to decency and civility)
<<<<< Motivated (working consciously and conscientiously to improve quality of life for all)
<<<<< Affirming what they believe is America (for their children and for all children)
<<<<< Rebuking fear and hate (Racism, White Nationalists and Domestic Terrorists)
<<<<< Understanding and supporting common sense gun laws (without fear of losing 2nd amendment rights)
<<<<< Believing in equity (be it gender, minimum wage, education and health care)
<<<<< Wanting credible, trustworthy leadership (with intellect, decency, civility, integrity, dignity, credibility and compassion towards others)
<<<<< Accepting of sexual and gender orientations (focused on listening, learning and going beyond tolerance)
<<<<< Believing in women’s rights as fundamental human rights (to live free from violence, free of misogyny, slavery, discrimination, with equal rights to be educated, own property, vote, earn an equal wage and freedom to choose regarding their personal health and well being)
<<<<< Astutely aware of ecological issues (belief and trust in science and credible research)
<<<<< Working through immigration issues (comprehensive human solutions and reforms)
These are but only some of the ideals that many citizens believe are attainable – and are willing to work towards – willing to pick up the rope and pull with heart and soul – willing to vote on behalf of all citizens – aware of past and future generations.
The tugging has always been a matter of choice not fearing or denying the historical shadow of oppression, prejudice, discrimination, social phobias and the lingering malignancy of racism.
At the same time, it has always been a matter of choice to walk towards the light with advocacy, resiliency, hope and renewed conviction to affirm inalienable rights of all citizens . . . of all human beings . . . each with a lit candle in hand.
End of Part II of III – Go to Part III