I rarely engage in political conversation, but I feel the time has come for me to be specific.
I am Mexican American. I am third generation and have many, many more opportunities than my ancestors had. I have much more education and encouragement than many other third generation Americans, of any nationality or race.
I had a teacher, probably Sister Collette or Mr. Maschino, both of whom were fine teachers who had more than a little touch of eccentricity, who told me that with education comes responsibility. (This was before the Spiderman movie, so they didn’t cadge that phrase from there.)
They meant that knowledge of something means an individual has an obligation to act, or not (the lack of making a decision IS a decision.)
That is a lesson I have always taken to heart even thought in my pre-brain damage stage caused me to act impulsively in defense of the small and downtrodden, mostly students who I felt were getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop because of their ethnicity or economic status. (Seriously, I had several students who were just trying to get in front of their past mistakes and make a good life for themselves, but were constantly judged for their appearance.)
Now that I am older (and properly medicated) I am choosing my words and actions more carefully.
I said all of that because I am having a hard time choosing my words. Not because I am unsure, but because I am horrified.
I am also terrified. My fear is exponentially related to the rise of Donald Trump.
I’m not leading up to something hilarious because the time for humor is rapidly passing.
I have recently been made aware of an incident in South Boston.
In August of last year, two brothers, Scott and Steven Leader beat and urinated on a homeless Mexican man.
Before anyone can leap to say, maybe it was a youthful error, the Leaders are both in their thirties, and I know kindergarteners who behave better than that.
These two grown men pleaded guilty to the assault, saying “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
Except the man who was assaulted, Guillermo Rodriguez, is a permanent resident.
“I have heard that they did this because of political rhetoric,” Rodriguez said. “I came to this country many years ago and worked hard in the farm fields to provide produce to people here. I actually became a permanent resident of this country years ago although if I had been undocumented, I still would not have deserved to have been beaten in this way.”
I have been processing this for a day or two and as a Mexican American and thinking human being, I have to say that this is starting to look a lot like Germany, 1938.
For those of you who are not history buffs, I am referring to Kristallnacht. You know, that time in history when a madman’s hate speech led to the rioting and terrorizing of a specific ethnic group?
I didn’t think the world would need reminding that it is so easy for sheer madness to spread and destroy.
Apparently it does.
And I can’t know what I know and think what I think and not say anything.
Especially since I don’t know where this particular flavor of madness is leading.
And now you know.
And you are responsible to act or not.
It’s your choice.
I hope it’s not the last.