Getting With Those Decent Hispanic Butterflies

NOTE: Please glance at the previous two postings prior to reading this. This is unedited, and rushed. It is intended only for the eyes of CYO people… for the moment. THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT. FORGIVE ME FOR USING HISPANIC INSTEAD OF LATINO IF THE LATTER IS YOUR PREFERENCE.

Getting With Those Decent Hispanic Butterflies
Dedicated to Steve Velasquez… who I just spoke to on the phone for the first time; having just received directions from him, I now provide some potential ‘directions’ of my own.
by Ox

I’m not just talking about Latino ‘butterflies’ here; all at-risk, potentially monarchial (supremely powerful) youngsters are my concern.

I was traveling in and around Sierra Chincua, Mexico recently when I came across some Mexican monarchs, about 60 miles from Mexico City, off of Highway 15 in the nearby mountain range. The butterflies interviewed responded eagerly, once I made it clear that I was truly open to what they had to say.

Ox: You travel 2400 miles to get here every year?

Antonio: Right, brother. And it’s getting to be a real drag with all that we have to put up with.

Ox: What are you talking about?

Bustamante: I’ll tell ‘ya what he’s talkin’ ’bout, ‘bro. In 1996 there were about a billion of us going back and forth to Santa Cruz, California and thereabouts. But because of your deforestation, herbicide use on genetically modified crops, and climate change we’re down to 10% of that.

Ox: What do you mean my deforestation?

Carlos: Well, Oxie, it ain’t us who’s doin’ the damage.

[Pause.]

Right. It’s not the butterflies who are setting up their own demise. One of the longest and most storied journeys in the animal kingdom is about to come to a horribly sad end because of what the powers-that-be have done, and continue to do.

There are forces at work in our society, on our earth, which I want to address following a fresh paradigm. Without blaming the victim. Without being limited to applying band-aids.

I’m scheduled to meet with some decision-makers at CYO on Wednesday. They contribute their heartbeats regularly to help at-risk youth and their loved ones. They should be applauded; I could raise funds for them, gladly. But from my perch, what I see through the binoculars tells me that the most radical approach imaginable is in order for dealing with the death blows which are incessantly leveled at the Hispanic community.

Butterflies cannot negotiate the radiation and other effects which emanate from our high tech gadgetry. And the butterflies of youth cannot survive our daily onslaught. What characterizes that onslaught must be discussed at length, leisurely. AND back and forth dialogue in depth must be embraced in order to rid ourselves of what I call obsolete models for improving matters.

And there is an extreme urgency attached to turning things around. As you must know. For we are just about at the point where ALL citizens will be yawning at the prospect of Monarch butterflies becoming extinct. If that weren’t so, how could things possibly have gotten this far? [Pause.] That all is partly a function of our educational system, of course, wherein kids routinely get through the whole kit and kaboodle without ever learning what a billion is, let alone taking the leap to luxuriate in the simple beauty of a butterfly. Not knowing what a billion is, surely the impact of the decline described above is infinitely reduced. And not having beauty placed at the core of one’s curriculum (in lieu of its position being relegated to disposable electives on the periphery), well… destructive hungers of all kinds must, inevitably, take precedence in one’s life. Decency, then, too takes a nosedive, doomed to disappear for the count. Like a useless butterfly that flaps its wings to deaf ears, courtesy of Monsanto’s momentum and more that’s absolutely diabolical.

My mentor, very long ago, pointed out to me that George Orwell, author of 1984, used to do film reviews at the height of WWII. In 1940 he wrote about Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, and in that piece he wondered out loud what Charlie’s particular gift was. His answer was clear. It was his power “to stand for a sort of concentrated essence of the common man, for the ineradicable belief in decency that still exists….” The same thing could have been said about Orwell himself, his downsides notwithstanding. Ditto for my mentor. And ditto for the incomparably lovely souls who I’ve encountered in and from Mexico. [Pause.] Decency is about to go the way of those sweet butterflies. [Pause.] But not so quickly. [Pause.] I am here.

I remember trying to simply get a book to a family member who was incarcerated in Santa Clara County. No way. The publication had to come from a publisher. Couldn’t come from my hands. And why’s that? I can give you a thousand angles like that that beg for change. Which changes could be brought about virtually overnight… IF a new paradigm for action were employed by those wanting to create changes in the system. Geeeeeeeeeeeeeez. C’mon, a thousand of our innocent incarcerated could actually be released overnight… if career politicians were into doing the right thing. But they’re not. For as we all know, they either don’t care, or they care more about what’ll work for their careers than honoring justice. And so we cannot continue to bang our heads against the wall. And we should not have our sights set so low for our youth. They should not be encouraged only to acclimate to an indecent set of circumstances, to a society which will only tolerate them if they say butterflies aren’t that important. Jobs and health and education can all be had in the midst of honoring decency.

Too many heartbeats are being devoted at present to less than ideal activist, humanitarian scenarios.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with Steve and his colleagues in person, so that the remaining butterflies among us can fly very, very, very, very free.

For the very first time.

Blessings in solidarity,
Ricardo
P.S. A hard rain’s gonna fall, indeed. Harder than it did during our Vietnam era. Harder than it immediately did following the implementation of NAFTA. And the nature of that toxic rain (here now) begs to be discussed — simultaneously — as we address the immediate needs of our youth, the clear/popular utilitarian concerns of their lives. By the way, has everyone seen A Better Life? Don’t read the reviews. See it first. A very decent film.