I have a few questions/issues regarding why Chavez is/was so venerated in the culture.
As a child, my dad took me to strike rallies where Chavez spoke and I felt how much people liked him. When I was in college I went to his funeral. In graduate school I began to question. Here are some thoughts:
Yes the corporate owned media and 'the man' would rather give a person using peaceful non-violence methods rather than self defense for self determination, but why did everyone else join in?
In that era, the late 1960's-early 1970's, EVERYONE was ready for a revolution. The civil rights movement fueled a conversation that had all colors, and most classes, demanding and willing to put their lives on the line for a plethora of issues: racial, sexual, class, the end to the Vietnam war, better education, police abuse, abortion rights, animal rights and the environment (yes even back then). Yet many chose to make sure that farm workers got better pay and treatment. Yes, they were being abused and exploited and deserved better, but in that era of cultural, social and political changes, asking for a raise and better treatment, just seems a tad myopic.
It seems like many of us chose to look out for a small minority of the population instead of fighting for the majority who lived in the city, were in screwed up schools, were being beaten by police, being sent off to war, discriminated against in jobs because of their gender or race, and some were even fighting over land. The American Indian Movement, Reis Tijerina's Allianza de Pueblos, and to a degree Corky Gonzalez's Crusade for Justice were fighting over land use/rights issues (and many other related issues) that cut to the core of many of the problems in the US.
Were we duped into fighting an easier battle and giving up the war? Chavez was an inspirational speaker, in an era of inspirational speakers. Why was his voice amplified the most by the media and then us? Was it easier to sit and fast than to pick up a gun for A.I.M, the Black Panthers, the Brown Berets, or any other group at the time? Did Chavez believe in Aztlan? Did he feel bad when he called the migra on strike breakers?
I know as a leader of a union Chavez had to be focused on his cause. Yet, when the spotlight was on him did he acknowledge and support the other causes and fights for justice going on at the time?
Today we are again being led to march and fight for a minority in the population_____________. Yes they need us to fight for them, but imagine if we could get everyone to march and speak out on the issues that affect the majority of us, such as____________? (Fill in your choices)
I'm glad we have a Chavez Day. He was positive and worked in and for light. His light touched and ignited other lights who went on to fight in other fronts. I await other days for other warriors that lived, fought and died for a cause that served others.