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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Como hacer un Dios... Or the Making of a God.

By Roberto Rodriguez

Como hacer un Dios... Or the Making of a God.

That is where we find ourselves today, on a divine path to the White House. While this may sound hyperbolic; it is not. Somewhat metaphorical perhaps, but an exaggeration it is not. This is much more ominous than simply giving a con artist, with a juvenile delinquent mentality, the keys to the White House.

The nation is on the verge of installing its next president, not simply a mentally unstable and narcissistic charlatan – who is not simply a failed and vindictive businessman, with lots of unresolved conflicts of interests – but who in his own mind, is a God-in-waiting. Perhaps the only real question is what kind of God?

An ethically-challenged God of money, greed, fraud, debt and Other Peoples’ Property and Other Peoples’ Money?

A God of obfuscation, smoke and mirrors, mis-education and mis-Information?

A racial supremacist, xenophobic, misogynist, materialistic, megalomaniac and vainglorious God?

A tyrannical, all-knowing, all-seeing and omnipotent God?

An arrogant God that humiliates and demands and rewards 100% loyalty and delights in never-ending exaltation?

A pompous, deceiving, pathologically lying, jealous, judgmental, vengeful, punishing and wrathful God?

A petty, discriminating, angry, hateful, bullying and violent God?

A fear-mongering, God of war, conquest, ethnic cleansing, profit, exploitation, subjugation and domination?

Oddly, these qualities seem very familiar, and yet, he himself has no actual God-like qualities that would make even his own admirers think of him as such, unless we indeed are talking about a god of evil.

To be remembered is that his DNA requires that he be constantly praised in public. Without doubt, he is a mentally deranged man who craves adulation and who would not be satisfied with simply being a strongman president. Even dictator, King, Pharaoh or Emperor would not suffice for his delusional designs.

While some people think he is a Godless dyed-in-the-wool materialist, the truth is, he actually believes in God… when it serves his purpose and wallet. Professing his mediocre book as second only to the Bible, as the greatest book ever, that was blasphemy, though really but show, but also very telling of his delusional self-aggrandizement. Remember, he knows not even one Bible verse, except maybe the one about 2 Corinthians. Yet, he believes in destiny, his own, and that of the unfinished business of Manifest Destiny… of taking all the land from the savages, Providence really. Heaven on Earth. He is surrounded by religious doomsday fanatics that have encouraged him to believe that he alone will bring it about, and thus, he gets to enrich himself, while they get their doomsday. Oh… and his cosmovision, he sees savages everywhere, from Standing Rock to the U.S./Mexico border… that’s why he has lent his support for the pipeline and why he has called for the building of the Wall… and for the uncivilized nation to the south to pay for his wall.

There is something about walls and towers that give us a clue about his God-complex. He doesn’t believe that he is doing God’s bidding, but that he himself is an infallible God. A Supreme God. Simply being the ruler of one nation is not enough. Even his designs for his own Mexican wall would have to eventually come down in favor of towers across the globe. Tall ones, huge ones, located everywhere; all bearing his name and perhaps even his likeness too. Towers and walls equal power and strength, and yet, even using the presidency to create the largest corporation in the world would not suffice.

That he received some 3 million votes less than his opponent, which reportedly gets under his skin, means he will never have what is minimally required to run a country: the ability to say that the American people chose him, and legitimation. Though that is not what he seeks. Arguably, what he seeks is legitimation as Lord.

To simply see him as another money-grubbing, war-mongering Dick Cheney is to not understand that he seeks more than money, power and domination. He wants adulation from his subjects, and more than anything, he wants his “enemies that he defeated” to bow down and effusively praise him, always.

We may never get to see his wall – as he envisions it – go up, despite the fact that he sees it as his consummate Tower. But actual towers, yes. He needs to see more of them across the globe with his name in bright lights and will probably continue to make such deals, unless Congress checks him. Also, unless Congress checks him, perhaps we will soon be seeing oversized portraits of him everywhere, perhaps even huge statutes of him. And temples? Those indeed are his towers. What is missing is a name for this new God.

For him, God is money and money is God, and thus, perhaps from that equation his name will arise (MOOLAH?). Getting Congress to put him on Mt. Rushmore or his face on a $100 bill; probably a good bet, though not sufficient for this man with an oversized and overinflated ego.

Anyone wanting to oppose him simply as a potential ruthless and self-enriching dictator will miss the entire point, and thus will be ineffective. More than control, power and money, he wants to be worshipped. Our recent election shows us that he indeed has many worshippers, though not quite enough to his liking.

Someone please give him a name: The Swamp God works for me.

Rodriguez is an associate professor at the University of Arizona and can be reached at:


Wednesday, January 18, 2017


With the legitimacy of the president-elect in question, not a few people believe that the nation is on the verge of a constitutional crisis. Yet whatever people have feared about the future of the country, in Arizona we have already been living this crisis for 10 years now, especially in the realm of education. And it is about to get worse, as lawmakers have introduced legislation that would have the effect of banning social justice classes, activities and events, from K-12, to colleges and universities statewide. For rest of column, go to:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


On Dec. 12, 2016, as 73-year-old Francisco Serna stepped outside of his house and walked across the street toward seven armed Bakersfield, Calif., police officers, he was felled by 7 bullets, fired by one of them. While police thought that Serna had a gun in his pocket, they never saw a gun, nor did he have one. For rest of column, go to: ...

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Rather than saying good riddance to 2016 or bemoaning 2017, instead, here is some great news as we close 2016 and enter the New Year…
The Smiling Brown: Gente de Bronce – People Color of the Earth play is set for Sunday, March 12th 2017, from 2:30pm- 5pm in the ILC 141 at the University of Arizona during the Tucson Festival of Books.
The play will be a combination of live testimonios, audio, video and actos, poetry and music, and most importantly, a dialogue with the audience. At the moment, it is envisioned as a 90-120-minute play. March 12 will be a preview that will end up in Los Angeles for its premiere, perhaps in the fall or shortly thereafter. After the play, we will have extended discussion as to how to improve it. Also, as envisioned, it will be able to be performed anywhere around the country, with localized testimonios.
As part of this project and play, a CD will also be created of a combination of spoken word, hip-hop, song, poetry etc. (See contact info below).


The Smiling Brown Project uniquely examines a taboo topic regarding the role of color and specifically, light-skin color preference in the Mexican/Mexican American//Central American and Andean communities of the United States. But unlike the manner in which this issue is treated in this country, this play treats the issue of color - not through a black-white paradigm per se, which is the norm, but rather - primarily in relationship to Indigeneity. That is, it examines the issue not simply as "colorism," but rather, as part of the historic process of de-Indigenization (and its religious roots) within these communities. However, because these peoples live in this country, it also does not shy away from the historic issues related to race and color in this country, including Afro-Indigenous identity and denial of that identity. Additionally, a number of testimonios are from peoples of other cultures as this is a worldwide phenomenon. For a more in-depth background article, go to:…/smiling-brown-gente-de-bron…

The Project

The Smiling Brown project has a number of components: a book, a play, testimonios, huehuetlahtolli (ancient guidances) music, poetry, spoken word, hip-hop and artwork, and also a research project. All are related and all flow into each other. This here is a summary of the play, which has a format akin to the Vagina Monologues, though with an emphasis on testimonios and dialogues.

The Play

The play’s primary emphasis is peoples’ earliest memories of when they became aware of their skin color and became aware of the significance attached to their color. While most such memories are negative and for some, painful and even traumatic even to this day, the project and play also seek to highlight the memories of when people became aware that there was never anything wrong with them in the first place. In fact, it also seeks to highlight stories of how children were raised right.

Over the past generation, since at least the 1960s, this topic has been dealt with at an external level, which initially gave rise to the era of "Brown Power" along with the idea of "Brown is Beautiful." This is true especially among writers, poets, artists and musicians. This was in response to the racism and hostility aimed at these communities, first in Mexico/Central America and its ingrained anti-Indigenous attitudes (and points south) and later, here in the United States with its extreme anti-Mexican and anti-Indigenous attitudes. However, for this project, the emphasis is internal, because despite that [short-lived] era, the mass media, and Spanish-language television in particular, did not do away with that light-skin preference. In fact, those issues remain very real today and among adults, many continue to be subjected to racial profiling by these country’s institutions. And while those issues continue to be addressed publicly, they have not been similarly addressed internally... that is, within these cultures and among those closest to us and within the home, which includes family, loved ones, relatives, neighbors and schoolmates. This is why the topic is taboo, because this happens among those closest to us. The idea here is to examine how these attitudes continue to be replicated and transmitted, but even more importantly, to hopefully change those attitudes which have both, colonial roots, and in reality, without sugar-coating it, white supremacy.

Some 100 testimonios have been gathered thus far. The objective is to get 200 total within the next year (2017). If you would like to submit a testimonio, we are looking for 300-1200 words written, recorded or videotaped. The testimonios can be in the form of vignettes, a story, a song, poetry, hip-hop, etc. Also, if you are interested send to (or for more info):

Friday, December 30, 2016

Holidays with a Storm on the Horizon

We are in the midst of the holidays and I ask myself, what compels me to write when I should instead simply be enjoying the holidays?

The answer: because the proverbial calm before the storm is upon us and it seems a bit too eerie for me. This past week, I filled out that professor watchlist petition because the times remind me of that Tagalog expression, Isang Balsak — when one falls, we all fall, and conversely, when one rises, we all rise. There appears to be a consensus that the incoming administration will be anti-education in general, anti-academic freedom specifically, and even more so, that it will be hostile to undocumented students. For rest of column, go to:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dec 28 Maiz painting unveiling

A very special maiz painting unveiling by Pola Lopez. She will be present.... and a platica re support of the O'tham Nation.. For whoever is in town, Dec 28, Wed 5-9pm (Green Corn Tamales and Champurrado included):

Rodriguez: Michelle Obama and the ‘Men’ of Hope

In a recent interview, Michelle Obama said this to Oprah Winfrey about the absence of hope: “We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like.”

Immediately, I thought of the maíz–based Maya concepts or ethos called “men,” one of 7 maíz–based concepts I have been teaching in my classrooms for many, many years, which is a concept even more powerful than hope. However, before explaining it, Michelle Obama’s comment needs to be contextualized within the tumultuous political climate in which we are now living in this country.

The operative word here is “we.”
On this one I do agree with the president-elect’s assessment; there is an abundance of hope from his base of support … for a return to the days of White supremacy, xenophobia, misogyny and an anti-intellectualism from a different era. Unfortunately, he and his supporters also now have power and a medieval view of the world that can help them achieve their hopes and misguided dreams. Though to be truthful, he will have dictatorial powers; it is his supporters that have the misguided dreams.
For the restof the column, please go to: