Historical Appreciation: Reflecting on the 2016 Presidential Election November 11, 2016 | : by Roberto Rodriguez
On election night, I received hundreds of messages from friends and colleagues from throughout the country. Most seemed to be in utter disbelief. When I got to campus in the morning, I went into the student lounge where I came upon students who were crying.
All day, everyone kept asking me: “How do you feel?”
Strong and determined, primarily because I was prepared. In large part, because I come from peoples who were subjected to the worst genocide in human history (tens of millions) and thus, despair and hopelessness, which I initially have seen all around me, are not part of my reality.
“It is better to die on our feet than to live on our knees.” That was Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata’s admonition. This is the precise time we should be summonsing the wisdom and courage of our ancestors, whether they be indigenous, African or Asian, etc. Perhaps we will all soon be declaring: “We are all Zapatistas.”
Soy macehual and like millions like me, I come from the south, and I am related to all the original peoples of this continent, and I acknowledge that it is our ancestors who already have done the suffering for us.
While I have come across people who believe that the election was irrelevant and that both candidates were equally evil, most people I have come across appear to be genuinely horrified by the results. This is what caused me to remember that I come from peoples that have endured hundreds of years of efforts to exterminate us. As is commonly said in indigenous circles: “We were never meant to survive.” And yet we are here.