11 April 2008

A Prism and a Plan

As Our non-governor Aníbal “Busted Jellyfish” Acevedo plays the limpet, the wings are filled with stage whispers of the willie-nilly kind, namely, that Caguas mayor Willie “Here I Am” Miranda should step in and—chortle—save the party.


Let’s dump this one from the start: Willie isn’t white enough to win. And I don’t mean it in the sense of having a clean political record: I mean his skin color. It’s about the color of good mahogany and not the pale “flesh” tone so favored by Our collective unconscious.

And before you slam into The Jenius for racism, look back at the last 60 years of Our political history and you will notice two things: In a country where roughly 65% of the population is non-white, every governor was pale-faced (and the governess was damn near albino-white) and NO viable candidate was darker than Fred Flintstone.

Dig deeper and you’ll eventually see that all those folks came from upper middle-class or outright upper class backgrounds. Willie? He’s normal. And normal just don’t cut it here.

But say you want to deny this colorful argument and focus on “Willie Wonka’s” wide-ranging development of the city of Caguas, a former urban dumpheap transformed into a sprawling techno-city. “See?” you’d say in your gratingly annoying nasal whine, “Willie can do this for Puerto Rico!”

No. Not really. The difference in Caguas over the past 12 years is the same as the difference between Orlando in 1957 and Orlando in 1969. In ’57, Orlando was a Florida mudhole; in ’69, it was a Florida mudhole with a well-funded, well-focused plan for development. Mickey Mouse himself could have developed Orlando in 1969, but it took a Walt Disney to do that in 1957.

The Caguas Walt was Angel O. Berríos, a head-down, determined, bureaucratic slogger who had something no one else had: vision. To get Caguas there, he knew he had to have the city well-prepared. So Angel set out to prepare Caguas for the future.

But he died. And some time later, “Willie Maze” stepped into the breach and began a tortuous path to making Caguas what it was foreseen to be three decades ago.

Now “Willie Pete” has had some bright ideas, such as the municipal tax (it does free up municipalities from total dependence on the central government) and lump-sum federal funding management (if only because it reduces Our D.C. Dance of Begging). So he isn’t just a factotum carrying out programmed orders.

But a savior? No, that he isn’t. A savior needs to have vision and passion, whereas “Willie Stein” has will, an indomitable thrust that is valuable in itself, but is far from being what his downtrodden and ravaged party needs.

In the end, “Willie Brown” will remain on the sideline, a poignant footnote to the main text of Our election year. And his party will survive because parties come together and are sustained by opinions formed without due examination of their causes, by biases, by rejection of alternate positions based on incomplete knowledge or through unreasoned arguments. In essence, his party will survive by its own prejudices.

The same ones that keep Willie Miranda Marín on the outside looking in.

The Jenius Has Spoken

No comments: