¡VOTE, Mi Gente!
For all and those whom we love: VOTE! For our past and our future: VOTE!
Guadalupe Gonzalez (c)
I have remained silent far too long. Here and there, alone with my thoughts and impressions. Sometimes saying things, quietly, to mi Querido or mi familia. Never saying anything publicly. Because, remember what happened one day at my local Trader Joe's (or as mi Mami calls it, "El Trailer Joe's.") Some old guy stood there in the parking lot, leering, commenting that he "had moved to Simi Valley because of this." When I asked why, he had the gall to say, "Because it's like 'Tia-Huana' around here."
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2016
Stunned. My whole being froze. I said, "I am Latina, you know." Faced him down until he smirked and drove off. And I drove home, filled with anger and frustration. Crying. Thinking "I shoulda said...I coulda said..." But I didn't.
Well, Mi Gente--now I will. I have had it with the politics of today. Having morons like Donald Trump slide into our lives and talk SMACK about our Gente. Say things about our parents and grand-parents, who came here in search of better lives for themselves and their hijos. US. Those people who worked like dogs, in the fields, in the kitchens in restaurants, pouring water into our glasses, not daring to look into our eyes. Those Papis and Mamis who told us about staying in school, doing our best, fixing our trencitas and "Dippity-Do'ing" our hair so we would look nice.
My Papito, dead since Christmas, a few years ago, told us how he cried when his own father told him he had to leave school to help support the others. My Papi was in third grade. He told us how he would watch the other, more lucky students in his class, as they walked along. While he was selling Chicles in the street. My Papi was a proud man, strong. Courageous. He came to this country speaking only a few words: "Ham and Eggs." He would laugh as he would segue into the next part. We knew already. "And then, mi'jitas, the man said, 'Scrambled, Poached, Over Easy...'"'
We would laugh, too, knowing our Papi had figured it out. Only to move onto the next test.
Mi Abuelito, the man who yanked his son out of third grade, was a busboy at Philippe's in what is now known as DTLA. When I am lucky enough to stop in for their yummy sandwiches, I turn, quickly, thinking I might see him, short, stooped, gaunt, pushing the broom and making stacks of other people's trash. Cleaning up after "Los Otros."
And then, there is the matter of the man--El Cobarde--who DARES to chop us down every chance he gets. "Mexico sends--rapists and criminals..." WHAT THE HELL IS HE TALKING ABOUT? I have been at baby showers where someone asks me, "Y tu, Lupita. Como llegastes?" I see their surprise when I tell them I was born here. I am so proud that they think I am from "The Other Side." Because I speak Spanish well enough, because I love my culture--our culture, our heritage--so passionately. I have seen what life is like there. And it is not easy. It is a life of travail and trastornos. "Pero, hay vamos, right?"
But for an accident of birth, I am here. I have been blessed in so many ways. Have had opportunities open up for me that my Mami and Papi could not have imagined. Certainly not as they walked out of Union Station in DTLA, hand in hand as newly-weds.
Mi Gente: We are done cleaning up after "Los Otros." WE NOW HAVE TREMENDOUS POWER. Alex Padilla (imaginense, un hombre con nombre Latino) our Secretary of State, says that we now have 600,000 new voters, ready to vote [today]. (Actually, some have already voted by mail, including my Mami. She called me last week, her voice bright and shiny and happy, "Mi'jita! Ya vote para la Señora Clinton!")
We must not allow ANYTHING OR ANYONE to take this power and privilege away from us. El Bernie Sanders is right in one thing (only one): Even if we hear Hillary Clinton has won enough delegates to be the 2016 Democratic Nominee for President--and we hear that at 5 P.M., WE MUST STILL VOTE. Call your friends, your familias, your primas that you think are chocantes, WHATEVER, please vote.
Vote for someone who has not offended us personally and as a group. Vote for someone who is not dissing a federal court judge because of his last name. Vote for someone who has not made a WOMAN work twice as hard for a position that she is eminently qualified to hold, just because he is ashamed to lose to a woman.
You know, by this time, for whom I will cast my vote. I told you, right off, that I was tired of remaining silent. Well, Mi Gente, here goes. When you hear a candidate talking about about "free college"--has he told you HOW this wonderful idea will come about? When you hear about the "99% who have nothing and the 1% who have it all"--we know how this has happened, the theft, "the rich get richer"--but have you been told HOW this will get fixed?
When you are reminded how we are not adequately insured and we ALL need good doctors and not just the emergency room where they move us around like pan caliente--Have you learned HOW we will get the good doctors and the medicine and the hospital visits, if needed?
Watching candidates--and forget EL TRAMPOSO, Donald Trump--if you plan to vote for him, just stop right here, there is nothing I can or will say to you--on television, I see a man who gets mad and walks away when asked a pregunta con piquitos como una tuna. He gets huffy and walks away. Why? Yesterday he tried to crash an event at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood. Una mujer told him "This is OUR event." Who has the cojones (perdonenme, Sras y Señoritas) to bust into someone else's party, just because? Hell, I've seen really cool Quinceañeras y Bautizos at the Hall or the Park, but I don't bust in and become the taquiza buster.
Why does this guy talk like 60's titles: "Love the One Your With", "Revolution", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need..." All talk. Good ideas. I like the beat. But I can't dance to it. (Ask your parents about this.)
I got one for all of us: Aretha Franklin: 'RESPECT."
WE DEMAND RESPECT. NO MORE, "Ay, Señor, por favor." As Hillary Clinton has said, "¡Ya Basta!"
So, Mi Gente, I am no longer silent. Hopefully you are thinking about your lives, your Papis and Mamis and what they have done for YOU. Hopefully, you love our heritage and culture to want to protect it from morons who demean us and, actually, hate us.
Think of the rights we have, rights which we fought for in las piscas, in unions, in courts, in schools and in our hearts. Do not allow those rights to be taken away. It is important to vote for PRESIDENT because it is that person who will name Supreme Court Justices in the future. Why do you think the Republicans are dragging their patotas in hearing about President Obama's nominee? A guy, by the way, they liked before his nomination. Now they don't want him. Because they want to keep that place empty until they have a chance to put in some monster that will march in lock step with EL TRAMPOSO.
Vote. And be happy with your vote. I know I will be happy for us all.
Mi Gente Querida
Guadalupe Gonzalez (c):
Una Mujer Latina Que Se Fija
A Watchful Latina