14 March 2006

...There Be Dragons

With a nod to the late Earl Nightingale...

Cartographers of long ago drew their speculative charts and when they reached a region where explorers, or their knowledge, couldn't pinpoint features, they wrote "Here there be Dragons."

Rather than admitting ignorance, the mapmakers chose to speculate--in obviously negative fashion--what lay beyond "the known world". In choosing their description, they tossed away practically everything they knew of the world in favor of illegitimate flights of fancy coupled with the notion of a danger never proven.

Call it marketing, if you wish. I prefer to call it demagoguery. Exactly the kind of demagoguery We encounter with the term "independence".

Independence for Puerto Rico is, at best, a vague notion, something "out there", closer to Our heart than blood and yet farther than the faintest star. For one, We don't want it. Well, actually We do...but We don't. We're eternal teenagers, stuck at 14, wanting the freedom of being adults, lacking the resources to make it happen and unwilling to actually make the effort to earn those resources. Thus We're left with the occasional outburst of "Look at me!", semi-constant whining about "Our condition" and flaccid bowels when it comes to face the issue head-on.

When reality comes at Us too fast to dodge, We're left with the conclusion that independence for Puerto Rico is not an option. And it's all the dragons' fault.

Like Medieval villagers, We have continued to place a "...there be dragons" label on all that independence would mean for Puerto Rico. Years ago--and probably still in vogue--there was the notion that, if We were granted independence, Cuba would invade Us within a week.

Yeah, right. The hubris here is laughable, the geopolitical grasp is that of a sea cucumber and the fact remains: Let them try. We'll handle it.

The biggest problem in defeating the dragons is that the "explorers" have been blind and dumb. (Not mute...dumb.) Our would-be explorers--independentista "leaders"--have consistently, almost criminally, failed to create a viable scenario for Puerto Rican independence. The closest they have ever come was to screech "socialist republic", a notion so full of holes it would make a sponge look like a lead brick.

Instead of finding solutions based on Our own ingenuity and determination, based on the notion that "We can handle it", the unseeing dummies and other Fools ended up creating a whole series of mythical beasts, unreal and irrelevant, that made further exploration into the unknown more difficult to the many who'd rather wave a flag and cheer Miss Universe on TV.

Independence, or its more realistic term autonomy, is not a "no-man's land" of danger: it is simply a way of life. Being autonomous now is not an invitation to be conquered as it was back when mapmakers knew mermaids tricked sailors. Nor is it carte blanche to toss away the power of democracy and capitalism in favor of dictatorship, however mild you want to pretend it will be. Just as a teenager walks towards adulthood with both promise and danger dogging his or her steps, so it could be--should be--with Us.

To look at the known path of commonwealth or statehood and deem it better than the creation of One's Own Fate is the pathetic delirium We have endured for half a century: Hammered by fear, panic-stricken at the notion of personal responsibility, lacking faith in Our abilities and yet yearning oh-so-wistfully for the glory of standing alone. This is the sad tragedy of those who believe "...there be dragons."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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