The Jenius has never posted on a weekend before. But thanks to my esteemed colleague, José Rodríguez, who sent me a sobering e-mail two days ago, a weekend post is necessary.
Translated from Spanish, this essay, anonymously written, is either inflammatory or depressing. Maybe both. There is an abundance of Truth here and those of Us who refuse to acknowledge it are without a doubt the ones thoroughly skewered in its words.
The general belief is that Rafael Henández Colón was no good, the same as Pedro Roselló (sic) and Sila Calderón. Now it’s said that Aníbal Acevedo Vilá is no good. And whoever comes after Aníbal will be no good either.
That’s why I’m beginning to suspect that the problem isn’t how corrupt and how big a thief Roselló (sic) was, or how autocratic Sila was. The problem is us. Us as a NATION. Us as the raw material of a country.
Because I belong to a country where becoming rich overnight is a virtue more appreciated than forming a family based on values and respect for others.
I belong to a country where, sadly, newspapers can never be sold like they are sold in other countries, that is, by placing some boxes on the sidewalks where one pays for one newspaper AND TAKES ONLY ONE NEWSPAPER AND LEAVES THE REST IN THE BOX.
I belong to a country where “PRIVATE BUSINESSES” are the “personal office supply stores” of their dishonest employees, blithely taking home paper, pencils, pens, markers and everything needed for their children’s projects, amongst other things.
I belong to a country where the people feel triumphant if they can steal cable TV by hooking up to their neighbor’s; where the people lie without shame to pay less in taxes or no taxes at all. I belong to a country where not being on time is a habit. Where company executives do not develop their human resources. Where there is very little interest in ecology, where people throw garbage in the streets and then blame the government for not keeping the sewer system clean. Where we steal power and water services and complain about how expensive they are.
Where there is no culture of reading and there is neither political, historical and economic conscience nor memory. Where our legislators work two days a year (and collect for the rest of the year like CEOs) to approve bills that only sink those that have nothing, screw those that have little and benefit just a handful of people.
I belong to a country where driver’s licenses, car inspections and medical certificates can be bought without any sort of test. A country where an elderly person, a woman with a child in her arms or a disabled person can get on a bus and people already seated pretend not see them so as not to give up their seat.
A country where cars have priority over pedestrians, even on the sidewalk. A country full of faults, but intent on lambasting its government. “The more I call Roselló or Aníbal a rat, the better I am as a person, though just yesterday I cheated on my math test or work schedule."
"The more I yell 'Autocrat!' at Aníbal, the more Puerto Rican I am."
No. No. No. Goddammit. That’s enough.
As the Raw Material of a country, we have many good things but we are far from being the men and women that our country needs. These defects, the constant cheating and undermining, the small-scale dishonesty that grows and evolves to become scandals, that lack of humanity, more that Romero, Hernández, Roselló (sic), Calderón or Acevedo is what has us in such dire straits, because these people have been nothing more and nothing less than OUR GOVERNORS. Born here, not anywhere else.
I’m sorry, because even if Acevedo resigns today, the next governor would have to continue working with the same defective raw material, that as a nation, we are. And he or she won’t be able to do a thing. I have no guarantee that anybody can do a better job, but while no one points out a way to eradicate the vices and flaws we have as a nation, no governor can be any good.
Do we need to bring in a dictator, to force us to obey the law by force or under a cloud of fear?
What we need is something else. Something more than critics and amateur political analysts. And while that “solution” doesn’t emerge from the bottom up, the top down, from the center, the sides or wherever, we’ll be equally damned, equally stuck…equally screwed.
We love being Puerto Rican. But when that Puerto Rican-ness becomes an obstacle to the possibility of our development as a Nation, then something has to be done.
We can’t afford to light the saints a candle to see if they’ll send us a Messiah. We have to change, for a new governor with the same Puerto Ricans won’t be able to do anything. It’s very clear: we have to change first.
The Jenius Has Quoted.