Thursday, August 23, 2007

To be or not to be. That is the question.

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them."

Shakespeare wasn't talking about Puerto Rico, but he might have just as well. Because that is the question. But the classic Shakespearian drama pales in comparison with the reality lived on this island. Survival is part of the drama here, to make it to tomorrow, to pay the bills at the end of the week, to provide for those who depend on your labor. But while survival remains the priority, no one has time to philosophize about the future.

Anyone caught contemplating this most important of questions is ridiculed and shunned as out of touch and the politicians play on this and prey upon the people's fears. Fear of what? The fear that only a people living in a tiny island could imagine, from hurricanes to tsunamis to foreign invasions, but more salient still is the fear that tomorrow their labor may have been for naught. The people live in fear here, the politicians thrive on that fear. And the thinkers are called stupid for refusing to be afraid. Shakespeare said it best out of Hamlet's mouth:

"Conscience does make cowards of us all"

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