Time to get enraged, Again!

Do not resign yourselves! Get indignant

        José Saramago, Portuguese writer

Writing is a privilege. Not everyone can do it. Or wants to do it. Or dares to do it. 

José Saramago, the author whose quote heads this article, also said: “We are all potential writers, it’s just that some write and others don’t.” If I follow what he says, when I write, I might be read by a myriad of potential writers. I hope to inspire them. To think, to act, to write.

I will try to explore a little further what I mean when I say that writing is a privilege.

This column, generally, is what is known as an Opinion column. An opportunity for a writer to express personal viewpoints. In doing so, I always want to be direct, clear, compelling, truthful. Perhaps this last adjective is a bit troublesome: what we consider true is debatable.

Well, I will use my privilege and open this debate. 

Recently, we have been shaken by various events. Events that were wildly different. Those events moved us to rage, to bitter tears, or to happy howls. 

For example, there were massive expressions of joy when the Golden State Warriors won the National Basketball Association Championship. Just a few days later, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to revoke the constitutional right to have an abortion, millions were left dumfounded, enraged, even impotent.

Before those two events, there was an incident that had already left the front pages of the newspapers and the front pages of our immediate concerns: the horror that took place in that elementary school of Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were murdered by the young legal owner of an AR-15 rifle. That was a massive punch to our collective consciousness.

When the Warriors, our local basketball team, won the NBA title, it served as some kind of palliative to the horror of Uvalde — at least for those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Happy pandemonium ensued and a huge parade took place down Market Street, where the sports heroes received well-deserved accolades. 

Perhaps the most important contribution that those dribblers and dunkers gave us, was that brief distraction from the horror of Uvalde.

A basketball triumph will not provide solutions for poverty, or a necessary response to man’s inhumanity towards man. It is, after all, a game. A game that is also (at a professional level), a business. The heroes of today might likely be sold tomorrow for a bigger bunch of money. But the professional players also profess to understand and stoically say: “It is a business.” 

Yes, it is a business and we live in capitalism. Money talks.

Among those players and coaches, there are people who realize that they also have a privilege and a responsibility to give an opinion. To speak about difficult issues. Like I try, in writing this column. Clearly, their tribune is bigger and their audience is a worldwide stage. 

When the horror and the cowardice of Uvalde happened, Steve Kerr — the coach of the Golden State Warriors — his voice shaking with anger, expressed his outrage against those who refuse to control the obscene proliferation of weapons in this country. It was a compelling example of the healing power of a good person using a public tribune to express an opinion.

A few days ago, when the despicable conservative majority that today controls the U.S. Supreme Court decided to go back 50 years and make abortion illegal again, the joy brought by the Warriors title went to a less important level. This time, the crowds that gathered all over the nation had nothing to celebrate and much to protest.

When the assassination of children and teachers in Uvalde took place, those who support guns in this country, stayed in their homes. There was nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, a sure thing floated above it all: the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was more important than saving children lives. There was no need to gloat. “Thoughts and prayers” would suffice.

As the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion illegal, reinstating women to a familiar secondary and powerless position and making a mockery of the phrase “Our body, our choice,” there were no massive marches celebrating the conservative, rotten, backwards legal decision. 

A few weeks ago, Salvatore Cordileone, the conservative Archbishop of San Francisco, banned Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, from receiving communion, because she supports the right to abortion for women. Righteous outrage ensued among Pelosi supporters.

Nevertheless, it is also imperative to point out that recently, Pelosi threw her support behind Henry Cuéllar, the only anti-abortion Democratic representative in the House.

Cuéllar won re-election against the progressive Jessica Cisneros. 

Hypocritical? Two-faced? A typical politician? For certain, something to be discussed. Or to be indignant about.

When we express our opinion, we have to continuously search for a truth that reflects our values and beliefs. In these dire times, that call for our unequivocal expression of outrage, we shall find allies where we might not expect it. Such as in the world of sports.

We celebrated the Warriors. Now, we all need to become warriors in the many issues afflicting us, whatever they might be. Our voices and actions are needed.

Again, time to get engaged…and enraged.