After more than two centuries of existence, America continues to be a nation always in the act of becoming, and the new moment the country has entered allows HispanicLatinos to reintroduce themselves in a new light to the country – and to themselves. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, young Americans, feeling freed of conventions that were assumed to be breeding a national identity, went off in search of a self that somehow was unfulfilled.
Many went off on journeys of personal discovery that led them as far as the mystics of India and the pinnacles of the Himalayas. Their explorations implied that instead of fortifying a single, impregnable national character,America is always in the process of forming itself as a new people. A defined American identity barely exists – which arguably is the secret of the most successful nation of its time.
Thus HispanicLatinos like all Americans have the right and freedom to re-introduce themselves to themselves and to imagine themselves as something other than they have been – or expected to become. Many, having fled to safe quarters of a non-descript and not particularly productive existence, feign belief that they belong to – and are accepted totally by – a country a large part of which has consciously demonstrated otherwise.
But now, instead of running from themselves, HispanicLatinos empowered by their new demography now can run to themselves, to the essence of a new identity that revolves around their understanding and appreciation of the precise nature of the moment to which history has called them. The very act of considering their new-found importance to a whole nation contains the potential to change them, and they have much on which to build.
HispanicLatinos are a loyal people who want to belong, and they possess a valuable asset: They are long-steeped in the language and concept of salvation. In this, they are in line with the tradition of the original English settlers who formed a nation based precisely on the theme of deliverance in this world and the next. The products generally of a fatalistic religion that promises ultimate reward, HispanicLatinos possess a powerful sense of destiny and fate that they can marshal and apply to their great, new mission.
Building on their philosophical tradition, HispanicLatinos can create a new identity that revolves around the concept of saving themselves – and a country. The nexus of their task rests on how to remake themselves while in the process strengthening the nation.
Within the HispanicLatino population resides a great receptivity to a call to action never before summoned. Their willingness to serve is an asset America should not let dribble away, but might, because HispanicLatinos are barreling into an uncertain and uncharted future without a more formal framework or declaration of intent for their important work.
No Declaration of Independence marks the date of departure of HispanicLatinos into a new era. No Manifest Destiny calls them to action. No Emancipation Proclamation fixes the moment. Only the Constitution remains to guide them, but something more needs to come from within the HispanicLatino psyche: A clear vision of themselves that does not cloud their destiny, makes sure to capture their imagination, changes their very sense of self and explains their new being to their fellow Americas and themselves.
Feel free to forward these blogs adapted from previous writings, with additional thoughts published invariably in between.