Sunday, August 19, 2007

Politicians divide us, politics lead us astray

8/16/2007 letter to Times Ledger:

Politicians need to be sent a powerful message that solidarity by the people will force them to retire to a political grave. The people have waited long and hard to be rescued from their trickery and devilishness, keeping themselves at bay in their comfort zones.

It is a national disgrace.

It is past time for the people to have a new treat of town fathers. Partisan politics at the state, regional and federal levels are dividing us.

The parties stand for nothing and have lost track of basic values. What should be their noble mission of addressing human rights and good government has turned into a self-serving clique, of a high and mighty bunch, who are Incapable of recognizing the cry of pain by the masses.

It is an insult to the intelligence of The American people.

Their modus operandi is only about negative campaigning without alternatives.

Attorneys, judges, politicians and police officers have been allowed to betray many. The good ones among them are portrayed as trouble makers, while the real trouble makers are those without a conscience.

How do we fix the cracks in this democracy?

Our politicians seem like bungling amateurs and idiots.

They are talking the talk, but not walking the walk. It is a national disgrace.

Unfortunately, our community is saturated with such failures and do nothings. They are guilty of corruption and monumental failures.

N. A. Di Croce
Howard Beach


Anonymous said...

N.A. DiCroce? The Richmond Hill real estate broker who helped destroy Liberty Ave. & its surrounding area who is in bed with Albert "Basement" Baldeo?

Anonymous said...

Guyana Journal
"Peoples Of Indian Origin And Other Minorities Can Achieve More
Through Unity And Empowerment In The USA
By Albert Baldeo Attorney At Law

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive." – Thomas Jefferson

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

"National injustice is the surest road to national downfall." – William Ewart Gladstone

"The great can protect themselves, but the poor and humble require the arm and shield of the law." – President Andrew Jackson

"A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness ... the oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity." – Nelson Mandela

“The Presidency is only a means to an end, to attain a sane and safe world, to bring an end to exploitation, suffering and misery, to construct a New Global Human Order. The struggle will continue.” – Cheddi Jagan

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse...the homeless...I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" – Emma Lazarus

A few years ago, on 1/24/00, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and a caucus of Florida legislators put in motion a process to give citizenship to 6-year old Elian Gonzalez, the adorable Cuban boy who made his way to the USA clinging bravely to a raft. It was an extraordinary move. It was previously used to bestow citizenship in very rare causes, most notably on international statesman Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and Raoul Wallenberg. The first two need no introduction. The latter was a Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from Hungary in World War II. The genesis of this bill to grant this hitherto unknown Cuban coveted citizenship of the USA epitomizes the political system which confronts and challenges Peoples of Indian Origin (PIO’s) and other minorities living in the USA – political recognition as a people, or as a group on the radar screen of the USA.

Again, why is there such a glaring difference in the way the city has failed to act favorably in resolving the basement issue which affects many tens of thousands of Indo Caribbean homeowners in New York city and the way the most powerful decision maker in the country, the US Congress, rushed to the aid of a single Cuban 6-year old? Or why do we have to endure comparatively ever widening draconian immigration legislation, police harassment, ethnic profiling, governmental hostility and brutality, prejudices, over crowded classrooms for our children, miniscule returns on our tax dollars, and such other evils, when we work harder and pay more taxes than others? Why is our existence as a people such a token one? Why are we kept out of the mainstream?

The answer is precisely the same reason why the city did not harass homeowners and their kosher kitchens in Borough Park and "mother and daughter apartments" in Howard Beach whilst orchestrating a terrifying campaign against our minority community for illegal basements – UNITY AND POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT, or the lack thereof. The political machinery of Cubans in the USA, with its nucleus in Miami, is a strong and unified lobbying force and has been able to get its agenda on the national stage of American politics as a matter of seeming urgent national importance. This scenario is a guide to what any community can achieve in the USA if it is as resilient and as motivated. The result? Whereas three (3) war heroes from Italy, Ireland and Germany received citizenship, posthumously in 1968, for fighting and dying with American units in Vietnam, and whereas lawn tennis great Ivan Lendl was rejected in his bid despite his many glorious international victories, this Cuban, with comparatively little or nothing to offer, excited the seat of power in America. The lesson of this is clear: Our ability to unite as a people will determine what political attention we muster and quantify what concomitant progress we will make in the USA.

The sine qua non of achieving political recognition is effective political representation, and the formation and growth of alliances with other groups to show strength in numbers. Politicians who do not wholeheartedly and consistently represent our needs as their constituents should not be elected, nor re-elected. We should not be taken as token contributors to anyone’s campaign to power. In this endeavor, we should all stand up for and endorse politicians who will represent us at every level, starting from the community boards, the city, state and federal levels, and yes, even at the international level. We must raise our level of political consciousness. Concomitantly, our people should galvanize and mobilize themselves more, register and vote, and have a say in every level of government, like Martin Luther King Jr. said, "from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city." UNITY AND EMPOWERMENT should be our mantra. We should all put our support behind those who would represent our causes, not those who would use us as a stepping stone to realize their dream of getting elected and then suffer amnesia thereafter about who we are, and where we reside and what our problems are.

It is not by mere coincidence that the Declaration of Independence provides: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Thirty-nine independent thinkers signed the American Constitution. Today, it governs millions. It inspires the world. That was the first step to the world's most important document, as Lao Tze, the famous Chinese philosopher would say, “the longest journey begins with the first step." We should all make that important first step. This step will determine the quality of our lives hereafter. We need to become more politically aware and active. Many of us left our native lands in search for a better way of life, (our native lands where we were second class citizens at certain periods in our collective and individual histories) but have condemned ourselves to living that way, inert and invisible in America. Democracy is the bedrock for a better way of life, upon which rights and recognition are built. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one. This is the most valuable and sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world." Having been robbed of our civil rights in Guyana, the Caribbean and wherever Peoples of Indian Origin have fled from at certain times in our deprived histories, this diaspora should not make the same mistake again.

It was our own hero, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, who reflected, "I don't live in the past but we must never forget the past. The past must be a guide to us on how we move in the future. We must remember the past in seeing what was good, and what was bad, to have no more of the bad." Let us unify and empower ourselves, register to vote, and have a say in our lives – on basic bread and butter issues, police brutality, hate crimes, amending the draconian immigration laws to alleviate hardship on immigrants and granting amnesty, the present illegal basement issue, a better education for our children, better social services, city services, family services, health issues, fiscal reforms, etc.

As a result of empowerment, those basic rights of the US Constitution, which we call fundamental human rights, were enshrined. We take them for granted, but there were fought for and won with blood, sweat and tears – from the abolition of slavery, to the right to vote, to the end of segregation. "United we stand, divided we fall." Unlike Guyana, the Caribbean and other places where PIO’s migrated from, where voting was rigged, be assured that your vote will be counted. Your vote will make the difference. We must seek solutions to common problems facing our community, and we must demand representation for us at every level of government in the United States from our elected representatives. Yes, we must have the dream and live the dream! Founding Fathers, Politicians and Civil Rights leaders like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Cheddi Jagan, and such great men have always stressed the need for historical and political awareness and action, and gave their lives for the upliftment of their fellow beings. Let us run with the torches they passed to us. Immortal poets like Rabindranath Tagore and Khalil Gibran, and Guyana's Martin Carter have made independence and freedom a frequent theme in their works. Let us gather inspiration from them. Tagore’s is worthy of repetition anywhere:

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless thriving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake.”

Our local factions, whether it be the mandirs, the masjids, the churches, and all civic, social and political organizations, must take nurture and counsel from Rabindranath Tagore and not "break up into fragments by narrow domestic walls," but instead, "by tireless striving stretch our arms towards perfection," and "lead our mind forward by ever widening thought and awake in that heaven of freedom." Dr. Basdeo Mangru, a leading Guyanese historian, in his work, "Indians in Guyana," wrote: "While Caribbean Indians generally have improved their economic status, the community is hopelessly divided and factionalism is widespread. The community suffers from a lack of honest, sincere, dedicated leaders, who are poor role models, are jostling for power, position and prestige.… Even 'spiritual' leaders have become 'little Caesars'..." We have to unite in our focus and approach in tackling issues affecting our community. Factionalism, back biting and downright pettiness must be eradicated. Like all minorities hoping to succeed, we must rise above trivialities and narrow mindedness.

Our political choices must put the community's interests above their own, must be motivated to serve us as part of their constituents, must understand the history and heritage of our peoples, must bring valuable resources to our community, stand up for our rights, impassionately represent us and further our causes. They must be strong advocates for human rights and be willing to listen and act on our behalf. We have to mobilize ourselves behind them and build bridges and promote harmony in our society. In so doing, we will be doing for ourselves and for future generations. Let us unite and empower ourselves!

It is only then that we will make progress in the USA and truly live the American Dream!

Like the Mahatma said, "Voting is a sacred duty." Lincoln endorsed that when he said, "The ballot is stronger than the bullet." Appropriately, President Johnson emphasized that "Voting is the first duty of democracy." Surely, there is wisdom in these great minds?

If not us, who? If not now, when? Let us not deny ourselves the lessons of history. Just remember this: If we were politically empowered, there would have been no basement crisis, no immigration abuses, no police brutality, no hate crimes, no victimization and no exploitation. We would be in the mainstream, where the grass is indeed greener.

It is my fervent hope that Congress will look at the millions of immigrants who deserve relief. Are we still "a nation of immigrants?" The time is ripe for Congress to help immigrants realize the "American Dream" by granting them a long awaited amnesty. If immigrants are given such an opportunity, it will benefit America in no uncertain terms. The Dream will be of mutual benefit for both America and immigrants. Increases in tax and other revenues, employment, skills, talents, patriotism are only a few of the political, economic and social gains of amnesty while eradicating the many evils which are nurtured by an underground economy. Emerson was right when he said, "A nation, like a tree, does not thrive well till it is engraffed with a foreign stock." It is crystal clear that America will continue to reap the benefits wrought from its long history of immigration. America was built by immigrants. Statistics in every conceivable area confirm that the benefits far supersede any perceived negatives. In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that increasing immigration will help ensure that the economic boom continues. He opined that labor shortages are threatening the economy, and that taking a look at easing immigration laws could solve this potential problem. President Bush recently proposed guest worker visas to certain immigrants, a drop in the ocean, a mere proposition, but a thought in the right direction. Many categorize it as pandering to a new generation of immigrants, who empowered themselves by becoming an effective lobbying group to catch the attention of immigrants! Politicians should stop the hypocritical charade and act positively.

A large percentage of the prestigious Nobel Prize laureates are descendants of immigrants. Why stop that flow? Many immigrants have unrequitedly shed their blood and given their lives for America. They have revitalized depressed areas and energized flagging communities, with little or no help from the government, accomplishing their goals only by sacrifices, industry, resolve, dedication and, yes, with blood, sweat, tears and prayers. Many have worked two and three jobs concurrently and struggled long hours to achieve the elusive American Dream. Immigrants spin the proverbial straw into gold by taking jobs Americans refuse. America abounds with many places such as Richmond Hill or "Little Guyana," and “Little Trinidad,” the home of many Guyanese and Trinidadian immigrants, where immigrants comprise a living testament and an inspiring microcosm of the single-minded success of how immigrants can benefit the larger USA. Peoples of Indian origin, like so many other minorities, have a reputation as dedicated and faithful workers, second to none.

Large sums of taxpayers' money have been spent, for example, on wars and operations in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, towards the preservation of endangered species in countries a world away, and in space exploration, whereas, at our own doorsteps, and in our backyards, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free are suffocated. C’mon America!

Liberty, like charity, must begin at home." – James B. Conant, 1942."

Anonymous said...

Good points. time in 60 words or less please.
It's a damn doctoral dissertation in length!

Anonymous said...

Gawd! I almost voted for this nut.

Anonymous said...

N.A. DiCroce says:
"The people have waited long and hard to be rescued from their trickery and devilishness, keeping themselves at bay in their comfort zones."

And the people will continue - perpetually - to wait to be rescued.

Citizen voters have only themselves to blame and only themselves to rescue themselves from the miserable fix they're in with the corrupt and incompetent politicians.

Why are elections with only a single candidate tolerated? Competition is the solution. Genuine competition!