Richard Gomez

Opinion and Analysis from the Grassroots

Silence is betrayal! – A GREEN Outlook
By Richard Gomez

Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells is expected to be in Fresno on October 1st and 2nd. To help or for more information call me at 559-269-3828 or nate136_66@yahoo.com or her Web site at www.laurawells.org.

President Obama’s  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told progressive activists to shut the hell up and get to the back of the bus. That’s after you translate what he said to simple English. Gibbs said, “progressives will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality,” adding, “those people ought to be drug-tested.” His job is to protect the President, deny all allegations, blame the victims, and if necessary, take the fall for the president. Loyalty to the end, but as citizens, our loyalties and our ideals should be where they are needed the most.

An ideal that you defend or protect defines you as a person and a country. For who can blame someone for protecting family, friends and strong ideals? I thought the strength of an idea was based on its ability to handle adversity over the years. That dishonest and immoral ideal eventually collapse under the weight of their own falsehoods. Sadly, it doesn’t feel like it when many years of poor folks getting caught, killed and imprisoned while the wealthy ones walk away from their crimes and our prison and court system are seriously in question.

A couple of African-American ladies chastised me for condemning President Obama’s policies. I questioned his desire to stop the war and pleading success for policies that backed down to the corporate greedy. They complained that we should be supporting and not attacking him. Another lady questioned me if I was a Republican. Perhaps, her point is only Democrats, and Republican ideals exist and if you’re not with one, you must be the other. How far from the truth that is but both women claimed they read the Fresno Bee and watched the local television news broadcast and were well informed. Their desire to be informed is wonderful, but the sources worry me.

I wonder if many African-Americans believe that if Obama fails then the opportunity for another African-American male or female president would be severely ruined. Martin L. King, Jr., knew he had to be true to himself when he spoke out against the Vietnam War despite warnings from friends and supporters who advised him to keep quiet. He knew that everything he had done would be a lie if he had kept quiet and he was killed for his belief. Yet had the killers succeeded in quieting dissent and freedom with so few shots? Like a club that hits silently, his death has become a lesson that a better world will not be allowed and thus, as Shakespeare wrote, that conscience does make cowards of us all and silence has become our greatest betrayer.

Too many people have come to accept ideals and beliefs as written by the gods and thus allow human to hide behind a wall of insecurity for fear of mistakes. The Deities may have set the stage for us mere mortals to be inspired, but these principles are human made and fit for human consumption only. And because ideals like love, friendship, respect and more are human made they can be fixed by human beings. Remember, we’re not perfect but we always can be better. So why would anyone want to create a belief system so as to deny us the ability to think, make mistakes and be better—well that’s not reality!

*****

Richard Gomez is a county council member of the Fresno County Green Party. and can be reached at 559-269-3828 or nate136_66@yahoo.com.

Beyond Frustration: Anger and Hate
By Ruth Gadebusch

Ruth Gadebusch
Ruth Gadebusch

The negative seems to prevail almost anywhere one turns in this nation these days. The economy is in dire straits, accounting for part of the sour mood, but even those who are virtually unaffected by it are hardly positive. Partisan politics is certainly part of it, but we are unlikely to wake up the day after the election and find everything all sweetness and light.

In fact, I dare say people will be more locked into their positions. The trouble is that the attitude is more than just frustration. It manifests itself in pure anger and, worse yet, absolute hate.

There is a large contingent of citizens that have not accepted that we have a black president, and they would stop at nothing to undermine him. The last thing they want is to see him succeed, not realizing that if he succeeds the nation succeeds. We stand or fall with him.

Their deep fear, perhaps unacknowledged, is that his success diminishes them. People who have been unable to harness their own talents always look for someone else to put down. That a man of dark skin should be smarter is more than they can take. Of course, not all those who seemingly hate President Obama fit into that category, but there are many who are more than willing to exploit this fear for their own nefarious purposes.

Vitriol poisons the air. Speaking of air, the haters seem to begrudge the air that the president breathes. It isn’t just his politics. No matter what the president and the first family do they are criticized. When the family takes a break the critics complain about the cost of security without giving any consideration to the fact that they cannot just move around as you and I. Sadly enough, this security is required because of the atmosphere that the angry haters have created.

We need desperately to return to some measure of live and let live, to have some appreciation of the needs and ideas of others. This nation created to escape persecution has not always shown tolerance for differences, but over the years as our Constitution has evolved we have done a better job than almost anywhere else. Now, instead of moving ahead we seem to be sliding down a slippery slope toward “my way or the highway.”

There are all too many who would deny one segment the right to choose their life partners. They think anyone of Hispanic origin must be illegal. They do not think women should be allowed to control their own bodies. Their religion is the one and only. Wouldn’t it be nice if these folk could realize that others too have feelings and rights, just as they do?

The election cycle appears to be exacerbating the whole negative feel of the nation. Lest the Democrats gain one vote, the Republicans obstruct almost any proposal. They object to spending money to help the jobless, or health care for all, or social security, or you name it. They refuse to admit how the deficit that they are so concerned about came to be. Protecting the rich who make campaign contributions comes first. To be fair, let us acknowledge that all the D’s are not always pure either.

We have reached a sad state of affairs. Those of tolerance and respect for others have a huge challenge this fall. Even those who have not suffered in this situation must be persuaded that they too have a responsibility. It is time for progressives to gather up the same enthusiasm for our beliefs as the Tea Partiers and their ilk have. The stakes are high.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and false with the true.”

We have cures for many cancers. Isn’t it time we cured this one that hangs over our nation? We can do a better job of living together. Until we become a happier family here, we had best quit advising other nations.

*****

Ruth Gadebusch is a former member of the Fresno Unified School District Board of Education and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and an Emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education. Hawaiians For Peace. . . And Independence
By Carl S. Bosco

Carl Bosco

For too many decades now, the United States has given in to a deadly self-deception: That we can enter a country with guns drawn and call that action the spread of peace. Of course, the war machine can only get away with this ruse with the willing help of the corporate press. Even a decorated marine general like Smedley Butler, who had integrity enough, to tell the truth about U.S. aggression – will not be heard of in the newspapers. In Butler’s sobering book War Is A Racket, published in 1935, he characterized his much-praised service in the Marines as that of a “hit man” for the corporations and banks.

Recently, my partner and I spent a couple of weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii where we both became more familiar with Hawaiian history, including the forceful removal and arrest of Queen Liliuokalani in 1895. When statehood was first proposed, 90% of Hawaiians were against it but were not allowed a voice. There now exists a vocal and articulate counter movement against Hawaii’s so-called annexation in 1893, a euphemism for coup d’etat.

The U.S. government again demonstrated its disdain for Democratic principles as recently as 2004, when president Aristide of Haiti was marched out of his presidential mansion at gunpoint and flown to the Central African Republic by CIA goons.

Hawaiians are also expressing their concerns for other oppressed peoples around the world. Those of us who turn up on the first Friday of every month at Shaw and Blackstone (Peace Corner) to protest the ongoing slaughter in Afghanistan should take heart: The antiwar movement is also alive and well on the Big Island of Hawaii. Week after week they gather in front of the Federal Building with their banners and placards, across from the park on Wainuenue Street in downtown Hilo. Danny, a Hawaiian gentleman of Japanese origin, says he has been at it since the 1970s. I’m amazed at his persistence and energy in the face of such an immovable behemoth as the military/industrial complex. His voice is almost shrill at times with disbelief that war has become a way of life and of thinking with the American people. Sharon, a senior citizen like myself, sits patiently displaying her sign: NO WAR WITH IRAN. Then Gaylen offers me a sign to hold. I tell her about Peace Fresno and the FBI infiltration of that peaceful group that had taken place. We talk about what we’ve recently learned about world affairs via the Internet and marvel at the strength of that tool to empower the people, now and then giving the “hang loose” greeting to passersby.

Danny, a Hawaiian gentleman of Japanese origin, says he has been at it since the 1970s. I’m amazed at his persistence and energy in the face of such an immovable behemoth as the military/industrial complex. His voice is almost shrill at times with disbelief that war has become a way of life and of thinking with the American people. Sharon, a senior citizen like myself, sits patiently displaying her sign: NO WAR WITH IRAN. Then Gaylen offers me a sign to hold. I tell her about Peace Fresno and the FBI infiltration of that peaceful group that had taken place. We talk about what we’ve recently learned about world affairs via the Internet and marvel at the strength of that tool to empower the people, now and then giving the “hang loose” greeting to passersby.

Yes, for some, Hawaii is a paradise, if you have enough money to be there. Hawaiians have been displaced the way the indigenous peoples of North America have been displaced. Their culture has been trampled and trivialized. They have been pushed aside by multimillion dollar golf courses, exclusive hotels and housing subdivisions out of the reach of the McDonalds, Pizza Huts and Wal-Marts. Hawaiians who may have yearned for a simple life are forced to enter the rat race and further sully the remains of their placid heritage and environment.

A well-off lawyer from the mainland who had contemplated retiring in Hawaii came back disillusioned and a bit shocked when he looked beyond the facade. “Man, it’s like a third world country over there!” he said. Well, no kidding. In a very real sense, people like him have made it so. Just as homeless people are ignored, and maimed Vietnam and Gulf War veterans have been brushed aside after they have served their purpose, so the Hawaiians are regarded as a nuisance in the way of upper-class gentrification of this Pacific island. On the mainland, woven Indian blankets and pine needle baskets are the last acceptable and praised vestiges of American Indian culture. Likewise, the Hawaiians are seen as quaint hula dancers and torch jugglers, and the “haoles”—white foreigners (pronounced “howlees”)—feel they are doing their job of appeasement by greeting each other with the word Aloha.

Like other concerned people, the task of enlightening the world often looms heavy in my mind, and I fall into the habit of saying: “Hey, what can be done about it anyway.” I don’t know what the ultimate answer is but for now I will join the rest of my comrades on the picket line.

*****

Carl S. Bosco has been practicing naturopathic chiropractic for more than 30 years and is the former director of the Yosemite Health Retreat in Coarsegold. Contact him at UnCensoredNews@sti.net or 559-760-4199.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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