Belated Notice of Thanks to Rebecca MacKinnon, who selected the last few of My posts that appeared on Global Voices Online. Ms. MacKinnon is one of the co-founders of GVO. Yes, I know it took Me a while to notice all this, but you know I'm just a Jenius...
What is The Puerto Rican Dream?
No, seriously. What is The Puerto Rican Dream? In 150 words or more, We can try to define The American Dream, and though there might be some debate on what it actually is, there is no debate on whether there is one or not.
For example, The American Dream can be seen as "rags to riches," "opportunity awaits for those who go after it," "everybody equal" or "hard work trumping class distinctions." There's a "can-do" spirit to The American Dream, a sense of hope and a bright future. Pundits use it as shorthand for what makes America great (referring only to the U.S. part of it all) and demagogues use it to lambast the opposition (as in "ruining The American Dream.")
So there is one. Japan has one, too, centered on self-reliance and resiliency, on coming together to overcome any adversity, the deep-seated knowledge that their will can outlast and ultimately triumph over any obstacle.
But what--pray tell--is the Puerto Rican Dream? What myth, mythos, conceptual image, word portrait, shared concept do We have that underlies if not supports Our cultural expressions?
I was born here. Spent half My childhood and most of My adulthood here. My Son was born here. Almost all My relatives were born and raised here. I have worked with thousands of people, read thousands of Our pages, experienced thousands of encounters, lived thousands of hours on this green patch of the Caribbean and for the Life of Me I can't describe The Puerto Rican Dream.
Cynically, many of Us would say The Puerto Rican Dream is to become the 51st State. That's not a dream: that's a surrender. Other cynics would say that the dream is to get more U.S. dinero in exchange for nothing. That's thievery or beggary, both of which We are guilty of. No, those aren't dreams, those are cop outs, the barking of dogs instead of the bracing thoughts of higher primates.
When things get tough, the Dream is what unites, what keeps an individual and a group moving forward. Despite the fact that I--amongs others--see The American Dream now as someone being so pathetic a TV producer makes them over for ratings gold, there is a long history of elements of that Dream coming forth in times of crisis to encourage, support and guide. Think World War II and the lunar landing program, examples of the U.S. of part of A. saying, in effect, "Yes We can."
Catchy phrase, that.
Are there similar examples for Puerto Rico? An example? When a crisis comes, when times get tough and the future looks dim and gray, what do We do? What is Our dream?
We dream of being rescued. By someone, somewhere, out there. No "Yes We can," but "Who can?" No "Let's go", but "Let's wait." No "It's up to Us," but "It's up to the U.S." Or somebody.
Our dream is not that of the cowboy or the samurai or the honorable knight, the proactive heroic figure battling alarming obstacles to set the world aright. No. We are, in Our dreams, the princess waiting to be rescued...by the hero.
Some of My brethren from Our Island will argue against My claim. They might say I'm a traitor, a vende patria or a total idiot for saying such a thing. Okay, they're perfectly entitled to being wrong about that, too. Because here's My challenge: Show Me We aren't the princess. Show Me We aren't the passive want-it-alls who can't--or won't--lift a finger to save Ourselves. Go ahead, try to show Me Our dream isn't "Save Me," that it is, instead, "Saving Ourselves."
Go ahead. Try. It isn't a dream, what We have, but a nightmarish willingness to sleep until the danger is taken care of...by the hero from somewhere out there.
The Jenius Has Spoken.