Dr Laura Quit Crying
Dr Laura hates and insults her caller’s everyday, they reach out to her for emotional support and she slaps them and belittles them, then she tells them times up, next caller. She hold her self out as the moral standard for family relationships, yet supposedly, she hasn’t spoken to her mother in 20 years. She longs for the Eisenhower era, when every family had a stay at home mom and everybody was an American, who knew their place. Her show was mean-spirited and driven by right wing simplicities that could fix any problem. She blamed hip hop, gays, working women, Latinos and blacks for the decline in our society. Her listeners and the rest of us let her define what the problem was and most people, bought into the her right –wing jingoism, She blamed those damn “working moms’’, she pounded on it everyday, “We need stay at home moms”, We need stay at home moms”. She hammered away every day, on that single theme “Stay at home moms”, and after 100 million times of saying it, quietly, then not so quietly, it found its way into right wing policy.
Energized, by her popularity, she felt strong enough, to once an for all sanitize the n-word, figuring if a word is not good, then it must be reprehensible to everybody and shouldn’t be used by anybody. Then in order to remove its sting and hurt, she would use it a hundred times. Seems to me she was a little bit too comfortable using the n-word, but we all know, when you scratch the surface of most right wing jingoisms, there is always the underpinning of racism, disguised and sometime not, yet very real. My point is that we all let this happen, we allowed Dr Laura to become a moral authority, and she did it with words, with right wing simplicities. It continues to happen, its happening as I write this and will happen tomorrow and the next day. Ironically, she concerned about her first amendment rights and her free speech, when in point of fact, her free speech rights have allowed her to do so much damage psychologically to the thousands of callers who have sought her support and assistance and have been yelled at and humiliated.
The right wing interest are very capable of defining and simplifying issues and converting them into hard and fast policy positions making them black and white, good and bad, American and Un-American.
They used the Obama presidency, to officially declare that racism is over, knowing full well, that political expediency mandates his disengagement from any black issues, lest he jeopardize a second term, while black unemployment and black drop-out rate, skyrockets. They have Obama, afraid of and reacting to the likes of Glenn Beck, who with his looneyness belongs on the sci-fi channel, rather than Fox News, yet his ratings grow by leaps and bounds.
Most profoundly, the right wing has taken away that American ideal of competition of ideas, the old notion that you must prove to me that your idea is either better than mine or that we share more in common, than that which separates us. They do it on the radio by screening out the competent or credible opposition or if they let your point of view in, they set up where your point get’s punked, like in the case of the issue of immigration. In San Diego for example, Roger Hedgecock will never have substantial guest or callers debate him, despite the fact that San Diego State and UCSD have nationally renowned academic centers on the study of migration and San Diego County is home to many of the most prominent experts. What he does is get callers who barely speak English, has little to no knowledge about the latest legislative move in the field of immigration and then he ask them “Pepe what do you think about the revenue implications of bill 2010, Pepe’s response is “Huh”.
There you go ladies and gentleman, the Hispanic community’s position on bill 2010, as articulated by caller “Pepe trabajo duro”, is “Huh”. Its not Pepe’s fault, it is our fault for letting this madness go on and for not having clear and simplified positions, where all of us are prepared and can challenge and hold accountable, those who with words would hurt us. To date, we have not organized significant sponsor boycotts to articulate our hurt and displeasure, yet our history in this country, is replete with strikes and boycotts to correct injustices, dating back to the 1800’s and the miners in Arizona. We talk about the great potential of the Hispanic dollar, yet we very seldom exercise it in an effective manner against those who would hurt us and marginalize our contribution. Our enemies don’t fear us because they know, we won’t really fight back. We may do a lot of shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag in the gym, have a march and a demonstration or two, but when the bell rings for the real fight, for whatever reason, we back down and wait for the next insult to get mad all over again and we repeat the dance. The reasons for backing down range from electing Obama to funding something, to getting somebody appointed to something, etc. There all good reasons, no doubt, but in the end, we wind up getting punked. We should learn from the Jewish community and understand, as they do, that to love Israel is to love their selves. The act of loving oneself is an affirmation of their history and culture. They expect the greater good for themselves and their interest.
Television as a medium has completely escaped us and the programming slant of the right makes it virtually impossible for us to get a break. We have as our national spokespersons a combination of entertainers from “Piolin,” to Olmos to comedians like George Lopez and Carlos Mencia. Great entertainers no doubt, but a little lacking in public policy depth. We rely on Univision and Televisa and other Spanish language media to combat the outrageous nativist attacks, yet the programming on those systems speaks to a unique set of priorities that is more Latin American than American. Just recently Glenn Beck and the Tea Baggers reclaimed the civil rights movement, and now they are going to put America back on the road to liberty and freedom, by impeaching Obama. How do we fight that kind of madness, when they have god on their side, as they really believe they do and that god, by the way, happens to be a patriot and Republican. We need to be very afraid, of the right wing wackos, for they are armed with words that can destroy and minimize. When must stand ready to struggle and challenge all that is ugly and mean.
It seems to me that we must first examine ourselves and try to determine why, we take this abuse ,what happened to all the anger and where did the sense of activism go ,that used to be a central to our community organizing, throughout the southwest and across the country. We will discover, as I have, that the primary reason is a disconnect between the generation that fought in Vietnam, marched and boycotted with Cesar Chavez, organized school walkouts, insisted on Chicano studies and Chicano teachers where there were none, who set up clinics and community based service centers and the Generation that is leading today. It is part of the natural order of things, that one generation must disparage the other to move forward. That being said, there is still much that the old school can teach about standing up and struggling for those things that you know are right. Let us not stand still and let words minimize our lives. Words can hurt but they can also be a call to action, we must not forget these words out our past:
Persecution of Pedro J.Gonzalez
Lemon Grove Incident
Sleepy Lagoon Trial
Zoot Suit Riots
Japanese American Internment Camps
LULAC and G.I forum Lawsuits for Veteran rights
House Un-American committee actions against labor organizers and Labeling as communist.