The Government Is You

I must have been four or five years old when I attended my first political rally. Dad worked for the state-owned mining company in charge of mining uranium. (Uranium which would be shipped to the United States for nuclear energy and atomic research and bombs.) He was a field worker, going out into different parts of Mexico to look for sources of uranium to mine. In the early 1980s, the company started to have problems keeping its obligations to its workers, so the workers went on strike.

I don’t remember much about the “mitin” in question. The only details I remember is sitting on dad’s shoulders and seeing a big crowd around me. Ahead of us, a man yells something into a bullhorn. Suddenly, everyone raises their fists in the air and begins chanting, “¡Este puño sí se ve!” (“This fist can be seen!”) They continue the chanting for a while, and then I join in with my little fist in the air. Upon seeing this, dad smiles and raises me higher so I can get my fist even higher in the air.

I had joined the rebellion.


“¡Este sándwich sí se ve!”

After the company failed to meet the workers’ demands, the strikers succeeded in closing it all down. What was left of the company was privatized and eventually shuttered. You can see the old mines closed-up and abandoned back in my ancestral hometown. Such was the power of the people.

Things not always went well with political dissidents in Mexico, however. There were many times when my grandfather, father and uncles got in hot water with the authorities as they became political dissidents and activists with the National Action Party (PAN, in Spanish). They would go to polls to watch election proceedings and make sure the ruling party — the perfect dictatorship — wouldn’t stuff ballot boxes. If there were any shenanigans, they would make a lot of noise to get the people and the world to notice.

And noise they made.

Since the election back in November, I’ve had a number of close friends and family who “lost it” when they saw a misogynist, racist, authoritarian fraud get elected. They are convinced that these are the end times, and that we’re all collectively screwed. I take another stance. I think we’re going to be okay.

Yeah, alright, so some things may be lost and damaged with this new administration and Congress. There may even be times when people’s liberties will get trampled on. We might lose a freedom or two. You know what, though? We won’t stand for it. We’ll raise our fists and make them seen. The people in power will hear us either because we protest or because we come out and vote en masse in the next election.

We do not live in a Banana Republic.


We’d look very fashionable if we did. (Banana Republic is a clothing store.)

Some of us will go a step further and financially support organizations that will do some of the tough work for us, like the ACLU or Anti Defamation League. Fewer of us will actually do stuff personally, like contacting our elected officials or attending their meetings to tell them how we really feel. (Rep. Scott Perry must absolutely love me by now, especially after I called his office to sarcastically thank him for allowing Zika to get out of control.) An even smaller subset will manage to get something done.

But it will get done.

As President Obama said, “We’re going to be okay.”

See, the government is very much you. I know that there are times when you feel disconnected, or that the people in power don’t see the world the way you see the world. That’s where you need to show them. You need to be their eyes and ears and make it known to them that you are watching. It is very healthy of people in a democracy to make the government be afraid of its citizens, not the other way around. (Never allow it to be the other way around.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to make this whole thing a better place for my future child (due this summer).

7 Comments on “The Government Is You”

      • Well, there’s the first months, when a full night’s sleep is impossible.
        One of our two children had colic pretty bad, two out of three grandchildren had colic *really* bad. I was the only one who could quiet them down (via carrying them at waist level, facing outward, my palm and forearm splint the abdomen, palm supporting their buttocks with the rest of my palm, opposing arm linked with the supporting hand).
        Everyone was amazed how quiet that they were when I held them. Our grandson was eventually diagnosed with reflux, our oldest granddaughter never did have a diagnosis (I suspect some issues with colonization of the GI tract, gassy bloating and such until the flora and fauna balance themselves out).
        Eventually, they begin to participate and are fun to play with. 😀


  1. Congratulations!

    By the way, even though both of you are medical professionals… nothing prepares you for what will happen.

    Always expect the unexpected. Do not read any birth experiences from any person… because that will not affect what happens to you! Just listen to your medical professionals, and prepare for weeks without sleep.

    That means having food planned out… get it delivered! I hope your friends do better than diaper delivery, that means they give you food delivery! A good baby shower gift is someone to do household duties like laundry. Also, someone to watch newborn for a few weeks so The Girl can sleep.

    Also make sure that no one who is “trying” to help rearranges your house. That is what my stepmother did during the week my firstborn was in the hospital. That is very annoying. Seriously I really liked her support when my baby was hospitalized, I did not like that I was bumping into furniture in the wrong places. (dear hubby stopped her when she tried to rearrange my kitchen.. think about it… the baby sleep deprivation caused a friend to put her toaster back into the fridge… not the cupboard…. okay, I did put an onion back into a cutlery drawer).

    The sleep deprivation also caused me to run a red light. Also at one point I wanted to throw a boiling pot of water at a wailing baby. So, this is no joke… this is tough stuff. If help is offered, take it. Though you are allowed to put limitations… like rearranging your entire house. “Really, Mom… you put a chair and a table directly between our bedroom and the kitchen? Why do I need to get calf/knee bruises just to make our morning coffee?”


    • Heh, I came home from a deployment to find a sofa directly in my path walking toward the laundry hamper we kept downstairs for my uniforms.
      I was carrying a duffel full of soiled uniforms and sundry garments, fell right over the sofa and onto the floor, into an impossible position, as I arrived home a day early. My wife flipped on the lights to the ludicrous sight of me head down on the floor, tangled in duffel strap weighting me down in the wrong direction and paralyzed in laughter.
      This, after yet another family briefing by command not to change things around at home while we’re gone (a standard SF briefing).
      I might have been irritated at the unnatural flow of the traffic through the house were the lights on when I came in, but I’ve always been accustomed to moving around the house in the dark, so, my position and the “roadblock”, while arriving to surprise her, tickled my funny bone immensely.

      Last December marked our 35th anniversary. 🙂

      I’ll add, when doctor is off duty and one only has an answering service, then second best returning the call, Doctor Mom can have some good ideas.
      While I’ve long functioned under sleep deprivation, infant driven sleep deprivation is something greater than even combat can induce. Humans require sleep, infants don’t (in joke with pediatricians in the military, referring to children’s lack of reserve in bodily systems and paradoxical reactions to certain medications).
      Doctor Mom gave me excellent ideas, which when adapted, worked well with her colic driven eldest, shortly after I caught myself getting ready to shake her.*
      That derived method was described above, when referring to our grandchildren who suffered from colic.

      *I caught myself and realizing what I was nearly about to do, set her down in her crib and sunk into the corner and cried worse than her.


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