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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Good Will's Wisdom

I saw the last 20 minutes of the 2nd Presidential debate and I was quite satisfied with the results. I won't say whom I am going to vote for because I am a moderate independent and I don't want to give the impression that I support one party over the other. Sometimes I wish political parties didn't exist. Partisan politics just brings a dualistic perspective to government (one way or the other, good or evil, black or white, up or down, right or left...), and I think it just adds murk to true governing for the people (sometimes its governing for the party) and funnels our perspective of the world rather than help us understand it better. Did you know that the first president of the United States, George Washington warned and discouraged against partisan politics? But did the first delegates listen? noooooo. But you know, political parties are such an embedded presence in modern democracy that I don't think the partisan system will topple. I think it suits us to have a partisan political system. American culture is very much dualistic due to America’s initial founding as a Christian nation, which teaches overcoming evil in our lives to achieve a better good. That perspective would be incredibly difficult to change and I for one wouldn’t want it to because even it may keep us ignorant sometimes, it will keep us idealistic and hopeful all of the time. American Idealism (mostly based on egalitarian philosophy) is what makes the US great because it allows one to hope and try to pursue a better life, no matter what your station may be or may have been. Idealism is what allowed Martin Luther King Jr. to believe in his dream and endeavor to make our nation a place where children of all backgrounds could play on the same streets and be in the same classroom without retribution. If he didn’t hold to his ideals in tough times boy would our times be tougher now.

But if you really want to know whom I’m voting for, read the following quote from the film "Good Will Hunting" and you can pretty much decipher which candidate my vote is going to. I love this quote.

* So Will (Matt Damon) is answering Sean's (his shrink played by Robin Williams) question about why he didn't take a job with the National Security Agency, offered to him because of his super, genius mathematical miracles…

"Will : Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll give it a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. So I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never had a problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some guy from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only reason he was over there was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish to scare up oil prices so they could turn a quick buck. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And naturally they're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got to walk to the job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what do I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president."


So yeah, bureaucracy is a bitch that politicians play like a hand. Isn’t it amazing how complicated humanity has made life over the span of our evolution? I mean, when anthropologists study our civilization thousands of years from now it is going to be cluttered with cabinets of paper work, mostly bills and maxed out credit reports. Sometimes, its more than I wish to handle, and perhaps it just maybe my first bitter taste of the world, but why does it have to be freaking complicated?…so I’ve decided that maybe Will in Good Will Hunting had a good idea going in the following quote:

“Sean : So what do you really want to do?
Will : I wanna be a shepherd.
Sean : Really.
Will : I wanna move up to Nashua, get a nice little spread, get some sheep and tend to them.
Sean : Maybe you should go do that.”


Of course what happens next is that Robin Williams stops the therapy session and kicks Will out of his office. But hey you know, these days shepherd doesn’t seem so bad. Hey Jesus was a shepherd, compassionate and egalitarian (after rising on the 3rd day he first appeared to a woman, Mary Magdelene, but do women get credit for this, noooo) and managed to change the world by moving their hearts and spirit. A simple shepherd/carpenter changed the world…geez…but it seems like these days nothing can be simple. So yeah, a nice little spread in Nashua doesn’t sound that bad at all.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK Mayra what JUNK IS THIS!!
This was not for my eyes.. I was reading like some other language lol PERO what do u expect from a NON POLITICAL PERSON and a person with no brains at all.. I guess you can figure who I am now. HE HE HE

Mayra said...

Hi Angie...
hehehe.
Thanks for posting...I'll try to keep the political ranting on the low-key for ya...not! hahaha! JK. Hey when you rant you've gotta rant, and unfortunately for me, I think way too much into things when all I realy have to say "This sucks ass!". lol. by the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUCA!

Anonymous said...

You don't want to vote for Kerry! He may have gone to Vietnam but ask yourself, do you know anybody besides him that ever got ONE or more Purple Heart Medals (for wounds sustained in combat) and didn't spend a single day in the hospital? Additionally he got several other high medals in a four month span! I spent over 20 years in the military and can tell you this does not wash with me. He was an officer! They can write and approve awards/medals! Also are you aware his wife's company "Heinz" has factories abroad!

If elected, John Kerry would be the richest American President EVER! So you make the call.

Just to be honest with you, I am not crazy about Bush. I am sure he got some favoritism in the Guard but at that time in history, it was expected! Even wifes of Colonels and Generals used their husband's ranks to push their own agendas
back then.

The final thing you should consider since Kerry has served over 20 years in the Senate is, what has he done. Look at his voting record!
Can you trust someone who was willing to throw his medals away at the steps of the U.S. Congress? Don't know about you but if I had earned those type of medals at the risk of my life, I would not even consider that, even if I was against the war and wanted to protest it.

What we need is better candidates and men with better character setting the example for others to follow. Not guys like Bush, Kerry, and Clinton.
How does your candidate stack up to this quote?

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King

Mayra said...

Very very good point you have there. I especially like your Martin Luther King comment. If you have ever read my blog you might notice I quote him here and there...but you know that is what we may be lacking these days, honest and well intended people. People whose passion is work for the people and not just political aspirations. I'll be honest too, I am not crazy about Kerry or Bush, but I am basing my vote on two factors, okay three...

1. Foreign Policy: Living on the frontera, I am all too aware of foreign policy issues and under Bush's administartion, he has only isolated us more on the global front. I want a president who will follow a more inclusive global agenda, and Kerry's platform is more formidable to me.

2. Education: I am against the way stadardized testing is being used as a measure to assess education and under his Leave No Child Behind Act, it will only great more pressure for educators and administrators to meet those standards, thus creating limits to education. And it's happening right now, instead of giving students the very best of an educational experience, you have educators teaching out of exam practice booklets, administrators stalling regular school hours so the whole school can write test worthy essays and giving pep rallys and field trips for an exam...and its all good intended don't get me wrong...but it's not solving any problems and only diminishing the quality of education. Instead of students pushing to be their best and educators working to achive their best as teachers, you have students believing that their best is based on a standardized score and teachers who have their job on the line if standards are not met.

3. Well, I think Bush has done a horrible job. I say this not because I am liberal or anti-republican, I am not. Trust me, I voted for republicans, democrats and the green party, but because I considered what their platfrom was and how it served their community. Hey, as Governer I didn't think Bush was half-bad, but as a president, man is he horrible. He has diminished the surplus into the biggest deficit of our nation's history and pretty much destroyed all hopes for my social security. He says we have jobs but the truth is they should look at the statistics of how many college students have yet to find career employment and had to move back in with their parents (I know I am one of them and I have many friends who are in the same boat). People are withholding retirement because their social security id not paying off and bills are getting higher, thus making the job market more competitive. Tell me who are you going ot hire, some with decades or years of experience in a field or a newbee college grad scared out of their wits because they have to pay thousands in college loans? And Bush's Tax cuts don't cut it. $300 would barely manage to cover the light bill for July and his corporate regulations agenda have allowed energy companies to take advantage of their clients and raise their light bills by hundreds of dollars!

So yeah, those are my three reasons. I know it is not most resonable, but it's enough reason for me to vote for Kerry. And yes, perhaps we are selling ourselves out of a true democracy by voting for the lesser of two evils and crossing our fingers hoping all goes well. I would have preffered that Howard Dean ran for president because atleast he really did have alot of zeal and good intentions for our nation. Check out Democracy for America. But he's not running so I am going to vote for Kerry, and I am going to vote to protect my right to do so even more importantly. Pehaps it is another brick in th wall, but FOR NOW its the best that I can do.

Anonymous said...

You have made some good and valid points. Let me add that I think you should consider running for a school board seat if you want to have a direct impact on what and how education proceeds in your district. Secondly, the reason recently graduated college students have trouble getting hired is that they don't do enough internships to get work experience and build a good resume while attending a university. Thirdly, Bush was an effective governor but you can't expect the economy and defecit to be good when we have spent over 200 billion on a war. How would YOUR checkbook be if you had spent $200 you don't have in the bank (think of the college loans you have and compare your feelings of debt to that of our country).

Finally, you are right that Bush did not build a great allaince with other countries like his dad did in Gulf War I but we are safer in the WORLD who knows he will take immediate action on our foes if they mess with us. In his campaigning Kerry has let our friends and FOES know he would not take action without a "Global Test". In other words, he would ask the world, mother may I? And his anti-war (Vietnam) pre-disposition should scare the crap out of you. I guess it is cause I lived through the Jimmy Carter Administration but you did not. This is one time I hope you do not get your way.

Oh by the way, things affecting the border are best handled by the local or state government NOT Washington. Maybe you should take a closer look at what Rick Perry has and has not done for you since Bush left.

Anonymous said...

Go read this article so you can understand the real truth about the mess the U.S.A. is in that neither candidates will tell you or can avoid. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20041012/pl_afp/us_vote_economy_deficits

This affects all of us regardless of where you live.

Mayra said...

I liked the Yahoo! article "Presidential winner faces 'twin deficits' battle" but it also scared the shit out of me. But you are right, I need to understand more about state and local issues before I go throwing flames at central government.

My question then is what is your position?? You know besides devil's advocate. jejeje

PS: Also, I didn't mean to imply that by living on the frontera I had a better advantage or perspective on understanding foreign policy and I apologize if I may have offended you. Actually, I will be blunt, I lived in La Frontera most of my life, but it wasn't till I came back from college (and maybe I had a learning advantage by working at the UT International Office) that I really looked at what was going on in government and culture, and now have everyday events going on in my community that I can use as a resource for my evolving understanding of foreign policy. But I will say it honestly, I am no expert and I have a hell of a lot to learn and experience to gain and for all I know, there is someone in Buenos Aires or Billings, Montana who knows and understands more about my region and culture than I ever could.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah!
Its a good thing to talk about this but it also fustrates me.

Anonymous said...

My positon is clear. I want a better candidate to vote for. In an ideal world that would be true. HOWEVER, the better candidates are folks like you and ME who most likely grew up like us in the Valley but CAN NOT EVER afford to run for public office at those levels. You did not offend me and I do agree you need to broaden your horizens about many issues but I can see you are trying to do so and contribute. For this I applaud your efforts. If only more folks would be involved.

Adelante!

Anonymous said...

BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR SOUND TURNED ON.
>BE sure and click INFO at the very end.
>
>
>This is a must see! Make sure your sound is turned
> up and be prepared for some graphic images. Make
> sure you watch it to the end...when the screen is
> totally black. I commend the man, who created this
> site; it really gets the point across.
>
>http://members.cox.net/classicweb/email.htm

You may have to cut and paste the address into your browser but well worth the effort..

Anonymous said...

In case you want to know how and where it will really be decided for president. Thought you would want to know.



President of the United States of Florida and Ohio
By Lasso | Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 11:49 AM

The Wisconsin Advertising Project keeps track of where the campaigns are advertising. The academic group issued its latest report the other day, and it shows that the race for president of the United States is really a contest to see who can win Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Forty-five of the top 50 markets are in these 10 states, according to information compiled by the Nielsen Monitor-Plus and the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

Mostly, it’s about who can win Florida and Ohio, as you can see from the top 10 advertising markets for both campaigns between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7:

Top 10 Bush markets

Miami
Cleveland
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Reno, Nev.
Albuquerque, N.M.
Cincinnati
Madison, Wisc.
Tampa, Fla.
Las Vegas
Green Bay, Wisc.
Top 10 Kerry markets

Miami
Albuquerque, N.M.
Tampa, Fla.
Denver
Green Bay, Wisc.
Columbus, Ohio
Orlando, Fla.
Charleston, W.Va. and Ohio
Harrisburg, Pa.
Davenport, Iowa

Anonymous said...

In case you want to know how and where it will really be decided for president. Thought you would want to know.



President of the United States of Florida and Ohio
By Lasso | Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 11:49 AM

The Wisconsin Advertising Project keeps track of where the campaigns are advertising. The academic group issued its latest report the other day, and it shows that the race for president of the United States is really a contest to see who can win Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Forty-five of the top 50 markets are in these 10 states, according to information compiled by the Nielsen Monitor-Plus and the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

Mostly, it’s about who can win Florida and Ohio, as you can see from the top 10 advertising markets for both campaigns between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7:

Top 10 Bush markets

Miami
Cleveland
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Reno, Nev.
Albuquerque, N.M.
Cincinnati
Madison, Wisc.
Tampa, Fla.
Las Vegas
Green Bay, Wisc.
Top 10 Kerry markets

Miami
Albuquerque, N.M.
Tampa, Fla.
Denver
Green Bay, Wisc.
Columbus, Ohio
Orlando, Fla.
Charleston, W.Va. and Ohio
Harrisburg, Pa.
Davenport, Iowa

Mayra said...

As I will quote you, "blah, blah, blah..." lol.

Did you see the debates last night? I was able to catch the closing statements (I was out cutitng the lawn and forgot ) and I thought they were both pretty good, got that good feeling in the pit of my stomach..and then my head was like, "SLAP! wake up Mayra! you are in a trance!"....lol. So then I thought, ah if only I could merge Kerry and Bush perhaps their negatives will cancel each other out and I would have this super presidential candidate hybrid that saves me money and saves the environment! lol. It would be presidential candidate Burry or um....presidential candidate Kesh. hmmm...I like Burry, just because it makes me giggle.

:0)

Anonymous said...

I did not do the blah blah blah. It was someone else. I too was working on my yard last night and also only heard the last 35 minutes of the debate. I thought Kerry sounded better. BUT let me be clear, I said SOUNDS better. He should with over 20 years as a career politician. But what has he ever managed successfully of such proportions as our entire federal government? Are we willing to gamble when we know what we have already in place (and with 4 years experience). Since we will have to pay Bush a retirement for the rest of his life, I say, why not let him earn it by working him for another 4 years. Agree?

So you know it's me, I will close with the famous Z for the only character I know that was for the people....Zorro! LOL

Mayra said...

Ok. Very cool sign off Mr. Z. :0) Sorry for the mix up. People (as in people in general, not just you and Angie) are going to need to sign their comments, even if it is only an alias, or sign up with blogger for an account, where you don't have to keep an blog to do so. So maybe I should put an annoucement or something. :0)

But anyways about answering your question. In the spirit of democracy, can we agree to disagree? I am not voting for Bush so he can finish the job, I need more than that one reason to convince me. To me, the reasons to vote for Kerry outweigh the reasons to vote for Bush. And by all means, Kerry and Bush both have shady pasts, but for now I know that I cannot count on character evaluation alone (not that I am disregarding it), like what someone did or didn't do. In the end it's all child's play, kinda like a mudball fight in a playground. So in the end, when all the mud is settled, I want to vote for the person who I think will do a better job administering the country, and I believe Kerry will.

And thank you for sending the 9-11 link. I have complete and total respect for the victims of 9-11 and for the troops abroad. My heart breaks everytime I see an image of those falling towers, more pictures of fallen soilders on the news or even think about those who were on United Airlines Flight 93. But I will be dammed if I don't practice democracy to the best of my contribution thus disrespecting what so many people have died for.

But it is sad, that we cannot count on our candidates to have the best of character these days. Where is our honest Abe or our determined MLK? And don't you find it funny that those icons, the best of the best that we measure the character of a leader by, came from simple backgrounds? Like you said, perhaps our country would be better if regular folk like us could afford to run for office, and not just anyone who is fortunate to be rich.

Sometimes I think that perhaps in an ideal world we would all be socialists, but that ain't going to happen! The truth is we are all flawed, can be greedy, egotistic, disillusioned about something in our lives and are creative and ambitous individuals who need room to breathe and grow. I mean, you can read the literature of Ayn Rand and George Orwell, the literature during the hey day of communism to see how it just wasn't holding up against human nature. And it's not like I hold up a philosophy of objectivism for every facet of life, but I think for my assesment of politics it is where I most apply it.

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."             —Ayn Rand

I know it sounds like a very selfish philosophy, but if all depends on how someone measures their happiness. The really great icons like Abraham Lincoln, MLK or even Elenor Rossevelt were not great because they were selfless, but because their pursuit of happiness coincided with their civic pursuits for their nation.

Anonymous said...

Amen! You said it all. God help us all if you are right and Mr. K. is elected.

Z

Mayra said...

Z! What did you do??? I saw Nader speaking on MSNBC and I thought immediately of your position on wanting a better candidate. Nader is right on the money on the one thing I heard him talk about - partisan politics are shrinking the plane of democracy in America and many a time it feels like instead of electing a candidate, we have coronated an incumbent. I think that by choice of vote, we define the substance and character of our nation, and that if we keep stalling our message for a better government and better leaders, it will not happen. I truly believed that I was convicted about voting for Kerry, but now I have my first doubts and my first consideration to vote for Bush...but Blah, I am so sleepy to try and rationalize this right now...I just wanted to let you know. ...that nice little spread in Nashua really really seems great right now. :o)

Anonymous said...

What did I do? Don't understand, please explain. Ralph Nader has been around a very long time (longer than you have been alive) but no one takes him serious and therefore never gets enough funding for a real run at the top spot.

But I repeat, you said it all...........weren't you paying attention? LOL

Can tell you that I know where Mr. B stands even though he hasn't done as well as I had hoped. Mr. K has no experience and neither will his staff and cabinet appointments. Would you choose to change leaders in the middle of a battle or in this case war?

I will consider your position on Mr. K if you can tell me ONE thing he has already done for this country (to account for over 20 years in the U.S. Senate) and why he wants to be president.

Z

Anonymous said...

What did I do? Don't understand, please explain. Ralph Nader has been around a very long time (longer than you have been alive) but no one takes him serious and therefore never gets enough funding for a real run at the top spot.

But I repeat, you said it all...........weren't you paying attention? LOL

Can tell you that I know where Mr. B stands even though he hasn't done as well as I had hoped. Mr. K has no experience and neither will his staff and cabinet appointments. Would you choose to change leaders in the middle of a battle or in this case war?

I will consider your position on Mr. K if you can tell me ONE thing he has already done for this country (to account for over 20 years in the U.S. Senate) and why he wants to be president.

Z

Mayra said...

Hmmm. Well, he spoke for the vietnam veterans who were disillusioned and who felt needed a voice and say in the direction of the Vietnam War and thus of their nation. It may not have been the most "patriotic" of deeds, but perhaps it was, because he stood against much criticism to help many soilders and families who wanted to make a change for the better...it just all depends on how you define "better"...but yes, I think by serving as an advocate for a demographic that felt betrayed and neglected, who needed to raise their voice and be heard, is very honorable and worthy to note.

When I saw video of him as young man, speaking before a panel of delegates, giving voice to so many's concerns, problems and ideas...I thought, boy what a spirit...the kind of spirit you see in a student when you see their mind expand and from that moment decide to change their life, or the kind of spirit you see in the social activist or the teacher who doesn't give up on a student ...the spirit you recognize as inspiration...and it moved me...

I know this feeling of spirit has nothing to do with being objective...but sometimes you have to also listen to your gut and not just the fears in your head. I guess as an artist and teacher, I recognize something in Kerry that inspires me...and if you think about it...what can you say that Bush did for his country before he became president (besides a good run as Texas governer...?)

And I am even more dumbfounded how people compare Bush's presidential record to Kerry's non existant one...he hasn't even been president and I find it silly sometimes. How can one even compare experience versus possibility, they don't even oppose each other in terms of language?

Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying and believe I do understand your idealistic views on Kerry. However, take my word for it, I was on active duty during Viet Nam and during the first Gulf War. There's nothing wrong with protesting what you consider an unjust war but it is how you do it, what you say, who you hurt, and why you are doing it that also counts. Many of Mr. K's action seem so self serving back then. Do you know why Jane Fonda is disliked? If not, find out! Mr. K was still a commissioned officer (in the reserve) at the time (although discharged), when he met with our Viet Nam enemy in Pais to try to negotiate an end to the war. This was not his place and could easily be considered treason. That and speaking badly about his comrades in arms (while testifying before congress) (saying GIs were killing civilians, etc.) plus throwing his medals at the U.S. Capitol, to me, were and still are unforgiveable. And you would ask me to vote for him? Never! By his actions, he pee'd on the memory of many of my friends who never came back. He used his four months in the war zone as a stepping stone to a political career like a stage production.

Z

Mayra said...

I am sorry and I feel very much for you and the friends you lost. I will admit I am not too aware of the whole picture of Vietnam...in school my teachers were never able to make it past WWII and it felt like Vietnam was just a footnote in our education of American History. I learned more about Vietnam watching Forrest Gump than in HS, which is no good at all....I will check into Jane Fonda...and I am definitely rethinking my vote to Kerry...I am going to have to really look into his background (not that I am not taking your word for it, I am taking it very seriously and I will respect it by informing myself as much as possible) but I know I don't want to give my vote to Bush...I know it very plainly in my heart because I don't want to leave my vote to the last resort.

I am starting up a new letter to editor at the Brownsville Herald concerning polictics and in particular partisan politics..I am fed up with them...SO FED UP WITH ALL OF THEM....especially in concern to the recent redistricting debacle. God, how much money did tax payers loose so democrat and republican delegates can play a game of cat and mouse. Such a waste to civic service...just for popularity contest and some easy electoral votes...it's unforgivable..what the hell does someone in Travis County, lets say South Austin have in common with someone in Edinburg, Texas...with someone in the middle of King Ranch...it's all fucked up. I am not saying what the democrats did was not honorable...but it was also in protection of their own partisan interests as well...

I think America is outgrowing partisan politics, can't you just tell by the amazing amount of undecided voters...and the media is screaming..."what are they waiting for, why can't they make a decision???"...I think we are waiting for what we really deserve...true leadership that does not have political or partisan interests involved...can we ever hope for such a leader?

So I will let you know when the letter comes out...it should sound pretty familiar to you because I will use some of the content we have talked about...thank you so much for all your great comments and feeback. It has been great and very appreciated. :)

I thought you might like to see some letters I have written before, I was not able to find the one which is my favorite...about arts advocacy...but here are some I could find...

Me saying driving in Brownsville sucksMe saying more action and less talk in Brownsville
An article about BISD alumni meeting with the school board, I am quoted but they didn't quote me saying that TAAS sucks...lol...well they didn't...that is the only thingI don't like about the Herald..it can be as sweet as candy sometimes...it hurts your teeth.

Anonymous said...

I had already read the one on driving last month. Surprised? The other one is good too. What more young people need to do is read the newspaper and watch the evening news daily then participate from an informed position. However you should see what it was like for me when I started school. Read this article in The Monitor. You've had it easy compared to us back then.

Jim Crow walked the halls of education in the Rio Grande Valley
October 18,2004
Travis M. Whitehead
Monitor Staff Writer

WESLACO — Mayor Joe Sanchez remembers attending grade school right next to the sewage treatment plant.
“It was part of the playground,” he said with a laugh, before adding, “I am glad those days are in the past. Hopefully they will never return.”
Sanchez, 71, is like many residents throughout the Mid-Valley who remember when communities were sharply divided by the railroad: Hispanic families lived north of the tracks, the Anglo families lived south of the tracks. In McAllen, the situation was reversed. Anglos lived on the north side of town, Hispanics lived in South McAllen.
The Handbook of Texas Online states that a 1921 city ordinance in Weslaco “provided that the land north of the railroad tracks be designated for industry and Hispanic residences and businesses. The area to the south of the tracks was reserved for Anglo residences and businesses.”
The Web site also says the segregation was a result of the farm culture that had introduced the railroad.
Rod Santa Ana III, communication specialist for the Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center, said segregation between Anglos and Hispanics was the Rio Grande Valley’s version of Jim Crow laws.
“It extended far beyond just where you could live and where you couldn’t,” said Santa Ana, 50 . “It was a horrible part of our history. We were denied access to restaurants and public facilities like pools and theaters.”
Mercedes also experienced segregation, said Eddie Howell, now a retired educator. Howell, 56, attended Mercedes schools as a child and said there were separate elementary schools for Hispanic and Anglo students.
“If you were Anglo, even if you lived next door to a Hispanic, you went to a different school,” Howell said.
In Mercedes, Hispanic children attended two elementary schools — North and Taylor — north of the tracks, and Anglo schoolchildren attended West and Graham elementaries on the south side.
“In about 1960 they made a new school, Travis Elementary, where the Anglos went,” he said. “They had a cafeteria, we didn’t. For lunch, we went home, or we brought our lunch and found a nice tree.”
Howell said that on special occasions like Thanksgiving, children from the Hispanic school went to Taylor Elementary for lunch. Although they noticed the strong disparity between the two schools, they didn’t think too much about it at the time.
“Any other time, we didn’t go over there,” he said. “I was too young to know the difference.”
Weslaco residents noticed the difference later when the school board voted to purchase some old barracks to be used at North Ward Elementary where the Hispanic children went to school, said Joe Garza, 67. Garza said the barracks had previously been used to treat people with tuberculosis. Garza said he and his fellow high schools students (he was a freshman or sophomore at the time) were angry that the children had first been forced to attend classes next to a sewer plant. Now they were being exposed to tuberculosis.
“Of course, nobody could catch tuberculosis from that,” Garza said. “But that’s when we got stirred up. There were some heated discussions among us students as to what was going on and why the adult community wasn’t doing anything.”
The barracks were placed at North Ward and used as extra rooms, and nothing else was ever mentioned about it, Garza said. Garza himself never actually attended North Ward. He went to St. Joan of Arc Catholic School a block away.
“We were integrated,” he said. “Our classrooms had boys and girls, Anglos and Mexican-Americans.”
But he could still smell the sewer plant, and he had friends who attended North Ward. The Anglo children went to a school on the south side called Stephen F. Austin Elementary, which had better facilities and an auditorium. However, when the children from both sides of the tracks began the seventh grade, they were integrated in a junior high school, as were junior high school students in Mercedes and Donna.
The integration of white and Hispanic students had mixed results.
“We got along real well, but you hung around with your crowd,” remembers Pat Garcia, now 52, of Donna. “It bothered the white parents. You could tell. They won’t admit it. I don’t remember anybody asking me to go to their house.
“There was mutual respect. By then, everybody was rebelling. We became friends, we got along real well. If somebody from East Donna was picking on a white guy, we’d break it up. We had a lot of violence in East Donna.”
arcia, now the manager of the technology warehouse for Donna schools, remembers having to go to the “zero grade” before entering first grade, along with other Hispanic children who couldn’t speak English.
“We were not allowed to speak Spanish,” he said. “For about three months, we wouldn’t speak. All the classes were taught in English. We did ABCs, phonics. Everything.”
Garcia said the zero grade was probably the equivalent of kindergarten, which did not exist in Donna at the time. He said he doesn’t know whether the prohibition of Spanish was good or bad.
“Within six months or so, we knew English,” he said. “I don’t know if it was a negative thing or a positive thing. By then we were in the first grade.”
Barbara Edwards, 72, said the Hispanic students who attended the zero grade actually had an advantage over other students.
“They had immersion into English,” said Edwards who attended Donna schools and later taught in the district for 45 years.
“They went an extra year to school, but they were ahead of everybody,” Edwards said. “People don’t believe that, they don’t want to believe it.”
She said when the district ended the zero grade, it had an adverse affect on the Hispanic students.
“When they quit giving it to them, I could tell the difference when they got to high school,” she said. “As a teacher, I could tell the difference.”
Edwards said that, as a student growing up in Donna schools, she never felt anyone discriminated against her.
“If they did, I didn’t know about it,” she said. “We didn’t think anything about being Hispanic. Some of my best friends were Hispanic. We stayed friends out of high school and we are still friends today.”
As a teacher in recent years, she has seen discrimination among students.
“I see a lot of discrimination against Anglo students in the schools,” she said. “Not from teachers or administrators.”
Howell remembers seeing fellow students punished for speaking Spanish.
“I was reprimanded and was told I was going to be sent home if I spoke Spanish,” he said. “I saw other kids spanked or sent home for speaking Spanish.”
Howell said he himself was not spanked or sent home, and he believes part of the reason may have been his bicultural heritage. His father was half Anglo.
“They knew my father would come and raise Cain if he knew we were being treated unfairly,” Howell said. “He was very well-accepted by the Anglos. He must have been very sociable.”
Efforts in recent years to teach English and Spanish in Mercedes schools have met with some resistance. Some school administrators have claimed in the past that those who oppose dual language instruction do so because they grew up being told their language — and culture — were inferior. This gave them the feeling that speaking Spanish would hold them back from succeeding in American society. However, Howell, a former member of the Mercedes school board, has a different conclusion.
“There’s only resistance that if they learn in Spanish and English you are wasting time,” he said. “There’s no need to teach in both languages if only English is going to be on the test, whatever is required by the state, or the ACT and SAT on the national level. If you have a good command in English you will do better. That’s how a lot of parents feel.”
Ironically, Spanish is not the only language that was oppressed in Mercedes.
The Handbook of Texas says that Camp Mercedes and Camp Llano Grande, located outside the town, were home to 15,000 soldiers during World War I, when the United States was at war with Germany.
“On April 15, 1918,” says the handbook, “the Mercedes City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal during the duration of the war for anyone to speak German or any other language used by the enemy, ‘in any school, public or private’; it was also made illegal ‘to advertise any trade, profession, or business by name or sign or to preach, lecture, or entertain in the German language.’ ”
Back in Weslaco, persecution of Hispanic Americans and their language continued for decades. The Handbook of Texas says that Weslaco developed as two cities.
“‘El pueblo americano,’ as the Anglo side of town was called, consisted of well-built frame houses; it had paved streets and enclosed sewers,” the Handbook says. “The Mexican side featured corrugated tin shacks, unpaved roads, and outhouses. Mexican women were supposed to shop on the Anglo side of town early on Saturdays only, and be back in ‘Mexican Town’ by sunset. Streets north of the tracks had Spanish names, business was conducted in Spanish, and schools were established for Mexican children. In ‘American Town,’ streets were named for northern states.”
Discrimination, however, was not limited to Hispanics.
“Weslaco had another very small school on Pino Street for the four-five black families,” Garza said. “It’s interesting. The school was facing west, the four or five families, their houses right across the street from the school, faced east.”
Garza said he felt this was sending the message, “Don’t get out of your neighborhood.”
“I don’t know what else to call it,” he said.
Some black students were bused to the school from Harlingen, too, he said.
Farther west, the first half of the 20th century was very difficult for McAllen residents of Mexican descent, says the Handbook of Texas Online.
The handbook says this was a “consequence” of the shift from a Hispanic-dominated ranching economy to an Anglo-dominated farming economy.
“The transfer of power was evident in the segregation of Mexican Americans,” the handbook says. “Segregation was most obvious in the sales policies of the McAllen Real Estate Board and Delta Development Company, which made certain that the town was fully segregated.”
The handbook goes on to say that McAllen schools were segregated through the fifth grade, and that Mexican children were not expected to go beyond that level. Segregated junior and senior high schools were established in the late 1920s.
“Segregation was a reality in all facets of life,” the handbook says. “In 1939, for instance, Hispanics could be admitted to the hospital but were housed in a separate section in the basement. Even Hispanic doctors were refused entry into the city hospital, despite the fact that the entire community contributed to the maintenance of the facility.”
Santa Ana, who writes a weekly column for The Monitor, said his father was one of the few Hispanic professionals in McAllen in the 1950s.
“In 1959, he bought a house in North McAllen, which was considered almost out in the country,” Santa Ana said. “He was criticized for buying a house among Anglos, but it allowed me to go to Jackson Elementary, which was 95-percent Anglo. It allowed me access to the best teachers and best facilities and allowed me to learn how to read and write and go to college.”
Was he discriminated against?
“More by the teachers than by the students,” he said. “Kids don’t make that distinction. I was punished more severely than my fellow students for the same offenses.”
Teachers, he said, openly belittled him in front of other students. Nevertheless, he didn’t become aware of the ethnic issue until later in life.
“I was just angry at the teachers,” he said. “As a kid, you really don’t see it as ethnic racism.”
He said he has received phone calls in response to some of his columns from his former elementary school teachers.
“I have had them call me up after reading my column in the paper and apologize, and they justify it by saying, ‘Those were different times,’” Santa Ana said. “I take pity on them. It’s a pity to have to apologize for acting on a mob mentality and not individual ideas of what our fellow humans are.”
He does, however, accept their apology and appreciates their change of heart.
“As Christians, we are thankful when their hearts and eyes are opened,” he said.
———
Travis M. Whitehead covers Mission, Starr County, and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4452

Anonymous said...

Sorry forgot the Z

Mayra said...

Thought you might like to see this:
The Politics of Indecision

Anonymous said...

Thanks....good comments. They are right. In the end people choose who they vote for for many different reasons..........some that don't even make sense except to the individual sometimes. The important thing is to vote. I hope everybody votes for someone with integrity and who can be calm in a criss like Bush was during and after 911. We all want to know what to expect from our leaders and that they will be consistent!

Z

Mayra said...

A thought to share...
After bouts of unresolved indecision, I asked the open air, "What should I do?", and then I remebered this quote.

"This is what you shall do: love the earth and the Sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence towards the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and mothers of families, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body."
-Walt Whitman

Phoenix said...

Hello Mayra.

You said I should contribute to the political discourse.

Ah.
I am actually responding to a blog.
Will wonders never cease.
Here goes...

Why I am for political parties

A lot of people are against political parties. They say they are too partisan. That they spend too much time thinking about themselves and lining their pockets than about regular people.

A lot of people are against corporations for this same reason. They care more about the bottom line than their employees.

And a lot of people are against organized religion. They want to believe whatever they want without boundaries.

The common denominator between all of these things is that people want to do whatever they want and want to be left alone.

Unfortunately, in a country with approx. 260 million people in a world of 6 billion, that really isn't feasible.

The reason why political parties, corporations, religions, fan clubs, and coalitions exist is that people have discovered that the only way to get certain things done is to combine forces with other people.

Think about it:
you don't like political parties, but it is because of these two parties duking it out that you have a car that isn't going to fall apart the minute you leave the showroom.
It is the reason why you were able to get that grant for college.
The reason why we are able to respond to a blog on our lovely laptops without the dang things going up in flames. Politicians arguing created the laws that keep things running.

You don't like corporations? Well for me, the corporation is the reason why I got to eat dinner every night. It is the reason you have clothes on your back. The reason, for better or worse, that prices are so low at a certain discount retailer that starts with a "W" (and admit it you anti-corporate people, you have shopped there and liked it).

You don't like organized religion? It is the reason why orphans in other countries are able to eat. Why Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and countless other humanitarian organizations exist.
Why people go to sleep in a crazy world and can still be at peace. They believe that someone, somewhere, is looking out for them. And it helps them to know this.

None of these groups (i.e. political parties, corporations and religions) are perfect because they are made up of PEOPLE. And people, as we all know, are not perfect and do bad things.

But the fact that most things actually work (at least some of the time) is a testament to the power of people working together for a common goal.

And that is the reason why I like political parties.

Even if I don't always agree with them.

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact: galloblanco03@yahoo.com

Art by Rosendo Sandoval - Title:"La que bailo con el diablo " contact: galloblanco03@yahoo.com

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