Let Them Eat Pan Dulce
Marie Antionette and her crew would probably fit into the 90210 and "The O.C." crowd until she met the Gente
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing editor
Recently, I was honored, invited, and asked to address a group of young people at a summer youth program who, aside from being college bound, were avid readers of LatinoLA.
Published on LatinoLA: August 3, 2009
What struck me was how politically astute these youngsters were, and how sensitive they were to other Raza's issues with a lot more compassion than I had at their age.
My compliments to their parents and teachers. These 30 or so young Latino & African American boys and girls are some of tomorrow's leaders...and the world of tomorrow may not be so bad as I thought.
Their main focus of questioning was "Why didn't you guys finish the job in Viet Nam" and how could we "let people continue to be rich and corrupt even after lessons like Watergate and the junk bonds debacle" during my generation's prime.
Here's part of my address to them:
My answer was to re-direct them to history , and how money & power have corrupted even the healthiest of souls...and will continue to so, history not withstanding.
Please don't confuse or interpret this piece as a commercial or suggestion in support of Communism....they have THEIR issue of corrupt souls at the top as well.
We were militarily winning the war in Viet Nam, but we lost it politically. Had we gone in and outright conquered the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, we would have had to pay to support them and rebuild their country, like we're doing now in Iraq. We figured out their oil and other resources were still pretty undeveloped, there wasn't enough money in it for everyone, so if they had just kept to their "Kill a commie for mommie" campaign, the U.S. Government could have slipped out of Viet Nam and blamed our loss on "the draft of poor quality soldiers, public apathy, and the cowardly and uninformed war protestors who turned against them"
(direct quote from one of President Nixon's military advisors)....NOT !!!
People STILL want some payback for that one.
One of history's most favorite example of political payback was the public beheading of Queen Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution, in 1793, at the young age of 37.
Her oft-quoted answer when told that the revolting peasants were staving and had no bread to eat of "Let them eat cake...!" , supposedly so angered the population to the point where they demanded hers & other leaders head ...literally...and they got hers and her husband's, the King & Queen of France.
Whether she really said this or not is still a matter of historic conjecture, but in actuality ,she was a sacrificial lamb for the wealthy in the midst of financial crisis and blatant excesses of wealth and privilege, in the face of the suffering and the have-nots in society, who vastly out numbered the nobility of Europe...sound familiar ?
She was a person of privilege born of the Austrian monarchy, and never knew hard times, the toil of hard working people, or the feeling of hunger in her belly. Being broke and doing without was never in her program. As with most upper classmen of her time, she was surrounded by servants, bodyguards, wealth, and luxury...and she loved it!...as you and I would, were we ever given a shot at that type of lifestyle.
Truth be told, when she began to realize how the poor were suffering at the expense of the rich , she & and her husband the king made attempts to rectify things in the public eye, for the public good, much to the chagrin of the wealthy nobles, who could not stomach the thought of losing their place of undeserved privilege & riches...sound familiar?
Marie began to cut down on the royal servants and household staff, and many unnecessary, but well paid, positions in the royal court based soley on privilege and political connections. This angered the nobles, who had balked at financial reforms that would threaten their comfortable standing...and they began a political smear campaign of rumors and stories about Marie's excesses (leaving out theirs, of course) that made her and her king the focus of political hate and resentment. Rush Limbaugh & Newt Gingrich probably could hang with this crowd) .
In the end, when security & bodyguards failed her, she & her husband were captured, taken prisoner and eventually publicly decapitated on the guillotine. The public's thirst for blood & payback was satisfied, and the rich & powerful of France were just a little more careful after that, but kept their spoils, as their rich current day descendants are proof of.
Moral of the story: Money & power corrupt, and political reform is not easy or cheap or necessarily accepted.
Today, the story is the same. There are rich people who don't EVER want t0 be poor, and they will step on and burn anybody that gets in their way...just the way it is.
They have learned that money in large amounts is only aquired, kept, and protected by people of education (University or street), people with political connections, people who can manipulate the law, people with a touch of greed, and people who have no problem with other people suffering, so long as it isn't them.
It's the capitalist system that has made this country great and powerful. Money can't buy love...but love can't buy shit!
Power = control, influence, profit, and attention.
Power isn't for sale...but that doesn't mean you can't buy it or practice it.
Bullies practice power. Rookie cops with an attitude practice power. Gangsters practice power. Racists practice power. Corporations practice power. Judges and bureaucrats are the worst examples of power practicing.
Nobody EVER said the practicing of power was fair and just...and that's just the way it is...welcome to America! What a Country!
The basic premise of all this is education, and a knowledge of how things work.
...scares the hell out of the elite that a man of color can get some education and ascribe to the Presidency of the United States....who or what's next, they worry...?
Maybe that's why political powers that be have decided to cut education spending in poor & minority neighborhoods, and raise college tuition to a level where only the rich can afford it....and they THINK we don't see the writing on the wall.
We complain about their waste and excess, and still nothing really gets done, because we're basically powerless against them...surprise !!
That's why they stifle art, music, and other creative programs among the poor and working class youth...from creative minds come creative solutions and a sense of appreciation of the world... so pon trucha on who gets the creative juice flowing.
They don't want competition. They don't want to share the wealth and power. They don't want people of color to educate themselves, learn the lessons they have, get a taste of the power they have, and probably threaten the luxury and influence they have controlled and enjoyed for so long....NOT sharing with everyone is another element of power .
It's like they're laughing in our face and saying "...let them eat pan dulce..." why we continue in this financial recession that has all but millionaires and drug dealers suffering or hitting hard times.
Watch and see what minority politicians or rich persons get to be the sacrificial lambs when the recession hits it's peak...locking up or persecuting minorities always seems to shut people up during times of social crisis ...history, remember?
I say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...if you can't join 'em, conquer them through competition on their own playing field...
HOW?....education of our young and each other, sharing of knowledge and resources, and joining up in numbers...it CAN be done...si se puede !!
...pass the pan dulce... I feel a peaceful, intelligent, and most welcome revolution coming...
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul ~ radio personality, author, and regular contributor to this fine web magazine
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