Declaring Independence From Fear

Everyone should step forward with their own plan

By Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: July 4, 2004

Declaring Independence From Fear

It's BRW vs. ABB. That's Bush, Right or Wrong vs. Anyone But Bush.

That pretty much sums up the upcoming November presidential elections.

Feeling under siege, the right wing believes that the whole world is unfairly ganging up on the president and his inspired policies. The left, on the other hand, is exasperated at the inability to drive a sharp distinction between Kerry and the imposter they love to loathe.

And Nader? Forget him (if Republicans/conservatives permit us to). Democrats are convinced that he's hell-bent on ensuring four more years of Bush.

And so, it's a two- or four-man race, though if Kerry were smart, he'd pick a woman as his running mate.

For the right, it's governance from a place of fear and "bring 'em on." And it's actually not Bush right or wrong, but Bush right or more right, as his supporters do not acknowledge that he's ever done anything wrong except not being tougher against his enemies.

For the left, it's a quagmire. Not the war, but of being reduced to ABB politics as opposed to getting behind someone they actually believe in. Kerry supported the war and the USA Patriot Act. Anyone who was duped by the president, not once but twice, doesn't deserve to be president. (Hey, maybe there's hope since he hasn't been duped three times.) Worse, if Kerry's foreign policy is virtually indistinguishable from Bush's, then what's the point?

This is the mood of the country, this at a time when we as a nation are supposed to be focusing on the meaning of independence. (Whatever happened to just enjoying the fireworks?) Perhaps it's a time to look at the election as an opportunity to fight for the kind of country we want to live in.

In that spirit, we offer our own 13-point program.

We want to live in a society where:

-- all life is not only viewed as sacred, but is treated as sacred. This includes abolishing capital punishment and where speaking a common language alludes to belonging to one humanity, not a draconian English-only edict.

-- all people are treated under the law as full human beings, and there are no such things as legal and illegal human beings.

-- we adhere to all human rights laws and we don't take away people's rights while "fighting for them."

-- we adhere not simply to what's legal, but also to what's moral, and we don't permit administrations to arbitrarily interpret laws to their own liking.

-- all women and men are treated equally and no one is viewed by the law as inferior because of racial, spiritual, gender or physical identities.

-- the Earth is treated as sacred, ensuring that a maximum effort is undertaken to clean it up and prevent it from being further contaminated.

-- the principles of fair trade are enshrined in international law, trumping the exploitive practices of "free trade." Such principles include moving toward the regulation of global corporations worldwide.

-- universal health care is guaranteed, and homelessness is not an option, particularly for those who've served this nation honorably, and where, without exception, all workers earn living wages.

-- a free higher education is available to all, ensuring that society's educational budget will be greater than the "defense" budget.

-- the military truly serves to protect the nation, not for the purposes of building an empire or propping up tin-pot dictators, and where a permanent state of war is flatly rejected, as is pre-emptive war.

-- there is a full accounting for past U.S. military misadventures, which would include a truth and reconciliation commission.

-- prisons are the last resort and only for those whom are completely incorrigible.

-- the full potential and creativity of all individuals is not only encouraged but promoted and supported (full funding for the arts).

We think everyone should step forward with their own plan ... and then vote for the candidate whose philosophy and track record most closely resembles his or her own ideals. And then hold the winner accountable every day from day one -- whoever it is. The times and the Constitution actually implore us to do this.

(c) Universal Press Syndicate 2004

* The Aztlanahuac Map exhibit has been extended through July 11, 2004 at the Young Research Library, UCLA. For related info/research go to:

About Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez:
Rodriguez & Gonzales can be reached at:

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