The Time Magazine headline, “Yo Decido; Why Latinos Will Pick the Next President,” caused a stir in the Latino press. In this column, translated from La Tribuna Hispana, opinion-writer Lux Fer dismisses as empty flattery the idea of Latinos deciding major policy:
The Spanish-language media mavens in the United States – who love to shout from the rooftops any news which, supposedly, makes Hispanics stand out – are like neighborhood gossips at the news that the well-known magazine Time says on a recent cover that Hispanic voters will decide the presidential election. The headline: “Yo Decido.”
The headline looks pretty and flattering, and in a certain sense it seems a recognition of the power of the vote. But as a good skeptic, I would take this headline with a large grain of salt because, if we take a look at the realities, the very same headline could read, “I Decide… That the Deportations Will Continue.” Or, “I Decide… That They Can Keep On Reaching into Our Pockets to Pay the Banks’ ‘Penalties.’”
And this is not merely a word game or a joke, but simple reality. For example, in 2008 Hispanic voters decided, with their votes, against their will and without knowing what was really in the mind of the current principal tenant of the White House, that not only would the deportations of their fellow Latinos continue, but also that the number of deportations would break all records set by the previous government. So much for “hope.” And further, that deportations would continue at the same rate – to the point that, if Obama is re-elected, by the end of Obama’s second term in 2016, he will have deported one to two million more undocumented immigrants.
So, counselor, whom are we going to decide for this time?
The way things are, it is preferable to be kicked by a donkey than to be stomped on by an elephant.
So this business of “I decide” – to be more sincere than [Paraguay's] priest-president [Fernando] Lugo when he declared that yes, he had a few children here and there – is like giving us a few marijuana cookies so we could hallucinate and believe that we can make the difference in some presidential elections. But the reality – like the horrible reality Morpheus shows Neo in Matrix – is that they will simply use us to maintain the status quo, just like what happened in 2008. And the deportations are only one example out of so many that you could produce a soap opera called “Prometheus.”
We could also say: “I Decide… that the Banks Can Keep Reaching into My Pockets.” As we have written in our two previous columns, in spite of the disaster and fraud which has left us with millions of debtors (it makes no sense to call them homeowners because under the terms and conditions of the mortgages that allowed them to buy their houses they would be owners only in 30 to 40 years, if they make it that far; what they actually own is a monstrous debt, so the house is on loan, nothing more) after all this the banks are still doing just fine, while not a hair on Mr. President’s head is out of place.
All this and more happens because the owners of the country are the 1 percent, and the elections at every level – from national to state and local – have become a kind of mini-buffet, where you get to choose one of the two dishes offered and nothing more. But worst of all is that from condiment down to the last grain of rice the two dishes are the same – that is to say, politics in service and obedience to the 1 percent.
Counselor, could it be that voting for Democrats or Republicans is the same thing?
So it is, my dear friend. The only difference is in how hard they’ll kick you or how heavily they’ll stomp you.
So it is that, to take up our thread again – the same as the banks when they send you the bill for your mortgage at the end of each month – the now famous “I Decide…” is another elaborate trick to make us believe that we live in a “democracy” and have more than one choice. In reality, though – something we don’t realize – United States citizens vote just like the citizens of countries where there is one official party – like in the ex-Soviet Union, or the way it is now in China or Cuba.
And that is how the manipulation of the masses works. There’s a flock of sheep who live in a world of hyper-reality in which they believe – as if it were the truth or the only reality – what they see on television or the Internet, what they hear on the radio, what they read in the newspapers or the large-circulation magazines, all of which, to close the circle, are owned by the same powerful people – read, the power of the 1 percent – who control the politicians and the elections.
People believe that they elect and that the politicians work for them. The last President who tried to do that was John F. Kennedy; he tried to eliminate the Federal Reserve (which is nothing but a private bankers’ club that loans money to the government), and we know what happened to him. L. B. Johnson and Nixon went to war in Vietnam in order to consolidate the power of the military-industrial complex (which Eisenhower warned about, before J.F.K.). Carter tried to do something different, and he lasted only one term — no pain, no glory. Then came Reagan, whose administration began the deregulation of the banks, which was the genesis of the later economic disasters. Then Bush, who invaded Panama and made the first Gulf War. Then Clinton, under whose administrations the de-industrialization of the country accelerated. Followed by Bush the Younger, who sank the country even deeper with his invasions and occupations (to the immense benefit of the arms and security industries) and by giving Wall Street carte blanche to plunder the middle class. And now Obama, to recap in a few words, is no more than W. Bush Redux. So: who were all these presidents serving?
Well then, Counsellor, whom do we vote for?
To paraphrase old Uncle [José] Saramago in his “Ensayo Sobre la Lucidez” [“Seeing,” in English] I ask: What would happen if in some election or other, the majority of the electorate opted to leave their ballots blank?