Saturday, June 9, 2012

Along the Route: ¡Despierta, Borinqueño!

When one envisions a Caribbean island, one envisions palm trees, sandy beaches with clear ocean waters and a vibrant sunshine. A vacation on an island as such can be the escape from the mundane feeling, the stress and every day anxiety that work brings. A much needed vacation where one can relax, release and play.

It is there where one is devoid of the fact that just beyond the next palm tree lies unemployment, political deceit and a centuries old fallacy. That is the truth that befalls many Puerto Ricans that live on the island and are constantly infused with an American dream filled with promise. An American dream which makes one just capable enough to help run the machine's cogs and wheels but not to actually run the machine itself. Where the machinations of this society are in the hands of the money grubbing corporations which have politicians in their pockets.

Here is the deal. We are taught to believe that we can be as successful as the Gates and Zuckerbergs of this great society. But, like any society, there has to be a measure of control. Surely, this control has been occurring in Puerto Rico for well over a century under U.S. control. The U.S. has infused into the Puerto Rican psyche, even before the Jones Act, the dream of a Puerto Rico, USA. It is that dream that has created the political status dilemma that haunts islanders to this very day.The haunting takes shape in the psyche form that believes that without the U.S., Puerto Rico would fall into the hands a greater evil. That its very existence will be ravaged with greater poverty than currently exists. Yet, with a greater commonality or coexistence with the U.S. the belief that more can be achieved is envisioned on the other side of the coin. Within that exists the loss of a culture and identity. It continues as a belief that, without the ties that bind the two together, the island would cease to exist as a viable nation. There are many sides to the coin that make for a dilemma and either an American dream or nightmare, depending on where one stands.

Every attempt is made to assimilate into the American way of life. It is the copycat syndrome that the dream keeps alive. After all, it is said that you should follow your dreams. It is then safe to say that there is a thin line between dream and reality? The American dream is really more an illusion, a feeling of moving up from a lower social class, earning enough so your children can go to college and owning a home. It takes away the humility in the average man and replaces it with a greedy capitalists mentality. While the general population is busy keeping up with the joneses, corporate fat cats can run the country as they see fit. Just smart enough to maintain and keep the machine going but never having full control. Such is, the American dream.

A couple of questions, in Puerto Rico, then are, can it or can it not survive without the U.S. Are the people so heavily infused with an American dream that they are willing to assimilate to the point of cultural and identity loss? In the end, the answers lie within the people of the island and only if they awake from that dream and approach things on clear and concise footing.

¡Despierta, Borinqueño!

Along the parade route, as flags wave and multitudes of people adorn themselves with various trinkets of Puerto Rican  pride, we have to question where that pride leads us. We have to question the motives of the capitalist corporations that adorn floats in attempts to captivate the moment. The very same attempts which glorify the American dream across the globe. Can we continue to survive as Puerto Ricans solely on pride alone? Is that pride sincere or not? Can we carry that pride and convert it to truly preserving and enriching our fellow Puerto Ricans who are in the most need? Can we exercise our minds to learn more about the history and culture of our people?

Let us take the energy that fills our parades with pride further than the avenue routes and face that which divides us, both on the island and within every Puerto Rican enclave in the U.S. to a collective advent and confront the reality that is colonialism. It is with that, that we must find the energy to confront the stigma that affects the independent thought of a Puerto Rican dream.

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