Special to the PRESS
To the editor:
One of South Padre’s own showed up at the right gas station at the right moment to make a bigger difference than she could imagine. My mother asked me to share her story with you.
On Friday morning, my father, weary from a week of hard labor on his flooded home in Port Aransas, pulled into a gas station. Parked next to him was a woman towing a generator. His had been damaged in the storm and he offered to buy hers. It wasn’t for sale, but wouldn’t you know it, she was a generator mechanic. Her name was Lena. She was headed to Port Aransas and Rockport to help out and took his address. Soon enough, she showed up in his driveway, tinkered with it for a bit, and fired it up.
Never was there a sweeter sound in that driveway than the humming of that motor. It was a badly need check in the plus column. To my parents, it provided some much needed hope in the wreckage left by Harvey.
She gave him her number and told him to call if he had more trouble. Of course he wouldn’t want to bother her. And of course, she showed back up the next day to check in anyhow.
Lena wouldn’t take money and refused to give her last name.
Wanting to express my gratitude, I emailed around South Padre hoping someone knew her. And of course they did. And of course, they wouldn’t give me her last name either.
She’s one of many like her this week. But this week, she’s the one that helped part the clouds for my family.
I want to share how I am surviving the present political turmoil in our society where the attacks on our community are real and devastating for all to see.
I have invested more than 50 percent of my time to study and to be attentive to the political changes thanks to my parents’ direction and lucky enough to have met people who care about other things besides making money; mostly progressive thinkers and educators who question everything.
The USA operates with the model of making profits. All the political classes follow that rule of capitalism.
To acquire seven states from Mexico was one of the best real estate deals for the USA to become what it is now; an imperialist power.
We have had great struggles of resistance to the original vision that produced changes in the US Constitution, such as women’s right to vote, stopping slavery and more. The USA has a great history of resistance that we all should honor and review as a reference.
All these struggles are being dismantled as we speak. We need to remember nothing happens if we do not work at changing the status quo for a model that includes all the citizens not just the rich class.
I have used my understanding of the economic system of capitalism to reject consumerism. I have used my income to buy only what I need and this has given me money and time to dedicate time to be active in matters that I consider important like looking at our society. What I have discovered is we have a RUNAWAY INEQUALITY and racism is used to promote and divide the working class for exploitation. The mainstream media is a good example of a business model which rarely has any Mexican Americans at the discussions. We have Whites, Blacks and Jews and I know we have many very qualified Mexican American historians, but they are not to be seen or heard in the mainstream media. The business model does not allow us in.
We have a problem of internalized racism in our community. This is when Latinos work against their own community and go for the mainstream narrative. A lot of Trump supporters show this phenomena and it needs to be combatted. We have some leaders in the political class who voice opposition to the wall between Mexico and the USA but vote to fund the other illegal wall in Palestine with our tax dollars. This is imperialism and it shows the hypocrisy of these Latino leaders.
We have a lot of good people resisting in Brownsville. We must remember who we are fighting against. We cannot honestly fight against racism without addressing why we allow the racist Confederate monuments to be on display at parks in Brownsville. We will have to address the issue of racism as the root of the problem here. It’s time to be real and remove these monuments.
In conclusion, stay true to the call for ending extreme economic inequality and do not be afraid to get rid of systems that do not work. Don’t accept to massage the system. It needs to be replaced because it only serves a very few of the elites.
The hurricane Harvey in Houston is a good example of why we should not believe the GOP leadership when it was them who working with lobbyists to allow the chemical corporations to function without regulations. Abbott, Trump, and Paxton and all can be seen praying for us when their policies are the cause of the disaster to our fragile environment. Don’t believe their words. Look at their actions!
Get involved and change what adversely affects us. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
Question everything. Remember we are here in the USA because the USA has been in those countries with economic and military penetration. When the USA stops going to other countries, many would stay in their own countries. For us Mexicans we have been here for 500 years and we will remain to change this society to represent all of us not just the elites. My love and solidarity to all who resist fascism.
Yolanda Garza Birdwell
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