Sunday, September 30, 2012

How My Ex Votes

Tell me how many of you have heard a story that started out like this: I dated this girl who was a Republican. Well I dated a Mexicana, that had grown up in the midwest. She was very much a strong believer in Catholicism, and Christianity, which I guess kinda made her an orthodox or unorthodox something or other. She was making more of a shift toward Christianity, because she felt it gave her the answers she required. She was Republican because she believed that they held up the Chrisitan code of ethics and vice versa. A very nice woman, that liked helping out her raza, having been raised by migrant laborers for parents, in the present she made it her mission to collect clothing and books annually for the laborers that stayed at the migrant camps (yes, those still continue to exist all over the U.S. not just the midwest). She was liberal to a certain degree in her economic beliefs, she believed in working hard, but at the same time, she believed in giving back to her community, especially her own raza. I remember sitting with her one Sunday morning watching one of those early morning political news shows. For some reason Bush was being discussed by the panel, and out of the blue, my ex said "I thought, Bush was a great president."

From there, we got into a discussion about the democratic and republican party. Her reason for shifting from democrat to republican, was basically because the republican party was made up of like minded people as herself, in other words conservative Christians. That was also the reason she liked Bush, because after 9/11, if people can recall he used a lot of religious rhetoric, invoking God, a lot. So basically she rooted for republicans only because they were Christians and she ignored the fact that Bush fucked up our economy, but hey, as long as they believe in the Christian God, all that can be overlooked. Can we say blind faith? Again, a nice woman, but when it came to this, she wasn't budging because she held her religious faith close to her. She made the following observation/argument, "Mexicans vote democrat, even though, democrats are liberal about their religious beliefs. As Catholics we are supposed to have a strong religious belief, they should technically be voting republican." That's a very basic argument that holds a lot of truth. But it's a basic argument that makes it easy for me and many others to say that's why there needs to be a separation between politics and religion. That's an easy statement to make, considering how much religious ideology influences political ideology (past and present). Because as my ex has clearly exhibited it is difficult for some people to separate their religious beliefs from their political beliefs. People such as herself would vote for a republican candidate or ally themselves with the party solely based on the fact that it has a strong Christian base. It's funny, because people like her complained about how many people were voting for Barack Obama solely based on the fact that he is black, yet here we have a long history of religious folk, Chrisitans, voting for a candidate simply for his/her religious belief-Chritianity, and not for his/her political beliefs. That is a double standard.

Then again, she also believed that Obama was the anti-christ based on what her church was preaching, (I'm starting to wonder why I stayed with her for so long?). She seriously tried to convince me about the whole Obama as the anti-Christ thing, and then I had to point out to her, that just about every president as far as I could remember was considered to be the great beast that would bring about WWIII, both republican and democrat presidents had been labeled the possible anti-Christ in the 90's as we got closer to the century mark. I remember watching Unsolved Mysteries, so whenever there was something on Nostradamus and discussions of the future, inevitably something on the anti-Christ would be brought up, and if it wasn't some dictator who might bear the mark of the beast (666), then it was who ever was the American President at the time. But I'm not surprised that Chrisitan republicans would be a bit more adamant about pointing their religious index finger at a democratic president, especially if he's black. I had to point out to my girlfriend at the time, that Chrisitans are the same religious group that used and still use the bible to justify the lynching and general killing of African-Americans and other minorities that aren't pure white Christians; well not all Chrisitans, but it's easily associated with the Ku Klux Klan, and their burning crosses. She conceded to this, but couldn't change her mind about Obama.
Let's be honest, I think my ex overlooked the fact that the only reason politicans ever use religious rhetoric in their campaigns is to gain more constituents, to gain as many followers as they can get. These Christian politicians don't necessarily stand by their religious beliefs, because at the end of the day they are politicians, and they need to reinforce political structures, not so much religious structures, that is unless the religious structures help them stay in power-but that's how the political game is played here in these United States. Is this evil? Of course not, all political leaders at one point or another have used religion to to gain a strong base. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X have done it. Cesar Chavez and he UFW have used the image of La Virgen in order to gain more Mexican Catolicos to support them in their own acts of civil disobidieance. Now I guess what becomes a question or point of contention is, is it okay when anyone uses religion for a political cause? Or does it depend? Or does it become an issue of transparency? Malcolm X was clearly recruiting people to become Muslims, however the way I understand it, he was also trying to empower them as African-Americans. He didn't hide the fact that he wanted them to become Muslims, but he wanted to offer an alternative that he seems to have felt was not available; especially with so many African-American's practicing "the white man's" religion, the same religion used against them by the KKK. Chavez as far as I know was a very spiritual person, and La Virgen de Guadalupe almost seems to have become more of a spiritual figure as opposed to simply just a religious figure, especially in Chicano/a Studies, specifically in relation to Xicana Feminists. There is a big difference when a figure like her transcends from being just a religious figure, specifically Catholic, and instead becomes a universal figure of spirituality used in struggles and revolutions, such as the UFW's labor movement. And I recall reading in Watsonville: Some Place Not Here, a play by Cherie Moraga, where one of her character's discusses La Virgen in the following manner:

Juan: Do you remember the words of the Virgin Mary when she says: “The mighty will be put down from their thrones. And the lowly will be lifted up in their place.”
Monsignor: Yes. “And the hungry will be fed.” Is this another test?
Juan: “And the fat and over content will be sent away empty. “
Monsignor: I know the passage Mr. Cunningham.
Juan: Well, those are the are the words of an angry woman, sir. Not some passive long suffering Santa.
La Virgen de Guadalupe that Juan Cunningham describes does not sound like the one that many of us "traditional Catholics" are familiar with. The play is very much a feminist work, therefore the above dialogue speaks to the Xicana feminist cause as much as it does to the poor and the laborers. Hence, it is my belief that she becomes more spiritual, represented as an "angry woman," or an image with a cause or multiple causes as opposed to simply "some passive long suffering Santa" that the people go to pray for salvation. Instead she is brought about in a variety of struggles, where religion does not overwhelm the main reason for the struggle, be it labor, economic, civil, etc. So I guess then it goes back to a question of can the religious co-exist with any political movement? And I think it is possible. However, the political duopoly uses religion when it is convenient. Republicans and Democrats will use whatever religious rhetoric they can get away with in order to gain their constituents. And this is where the question doesn't apply very well, because if we think about it, in U.S. politics, religion is usually cast aside by both of the politicos with the toothy smiles. And four years later the rat race is on again, and my ex although claiming to read the political platforms of both candidates, continues looking to Christian republicans to give her the answers she seeks.

As I mentioned she is very supportive of her raza, especially the migrant laborer community, but I wonder if she realizes that it's that same Republican party in Arizona, that has chosen to ban Mexican-American Studies and literature, and that has also given Arpaio the power to stop anyone looking Mexican, and ask for their papers, or what about that 6 year old girl that Arpaio claimed he saved by deporting. I wonder what my ex thinks about all of this, along with Romney's own belief on deportation, or if she's been fooled by his whole "I'm Mexican, really!" schtick? I really do wonder if she'll vote for Romney this term, or more specifically Republican? Will her devotion to Christianity outweigh her devotion to her raza? Not that Obama has done any better by us, well at least not until this past year, when he knew he'd be running again, and decided it was time to throw us Mexicans some scraps. By the way raza, please don't vote for Romney due to whatever roots he claims to have in Mexico. I'm all for nationalism, but please, understand what this baboso is really about. It'd be as bad as leaning one way because the guy is black, or leaning the other way, because the guy is a conservative Christian. Don't be my ex.

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