March 31st — why a holiday for Cesar Chavez?
“I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men! ” —Cesar Chavez
March 31st, anniversary of the birth of Cesar Chavez in 1927 in Arizona, USA, is now observed as an official holiday in California and several states, and commemorations of various kinds are held in communities all across America. Why should he be so honored?
An irony is that in his lifetime, Cesar Chavez, leader of the United Farm Workers of America, shunned all personal publicity and celebrity. For Chavez, it was always about “La Causa,” the cause of justice for farm workers, who have always been excluded from the protections of the National Labor Relations Act and other statutory protections, although theirs is regarded as the most dangerous occupation in America.
Among other things, Cesar, at the height of national attention to the farm workers movement and his personal though unsought fame, refused offers in the millions for the rights to make a movie of his life. He refused similar offers to buy the right to write his authorized biography. The clos-est thing to an authorized biography is “The Autobiography Of La Causa,” by Jacques Levy. He didn’t “buy” the right to write it; he earned it by working in the movement with Cesar for over a decade.
Although it was never about him and always about La Causa, Cesar Chavez deservedly became internationally renown as the moral heart of the American Labor Movement. He became an icon in the American Civil Rights Movement, too, before it lost all honor due to the black race-exploiting likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakan, and Jeremiah Wright, and others of their exclusionary black racist ilk, along with white, black, and 50 Shades Of Gray Progressive Liberals like Barack Obama in between infected with anti-American “we will transform America” totalitarianism.”
Despite Chavez’ own reality in his life of eschewing all personal aggrandizement, Liberals and Latinos have attempted to exploit his name and fame and “transform” Chavez into their own Progressive Liberal image, just as they desire to “transform” America into their own image. Lib-erals and Latinos have diligently exploited Chavez’ life, name, and work, to claim an ownership of him by race , ethnicity, national origin, or ideology, and transform him from what he was into what they want him to be, and he wasn’t.
They want him to be understood by Americans as like them. He wasn’t. He was uniquely himself: He was an unabashed, unapologetic Christian, a devout Catholic attempting to live a life of faith in God and service to others, all out of love for Jesus Christ, his savior in a world of hurt, and injustice.
At his death, although Cesar was not a priest and held no office in the Catholic Church, then-Pope John Paul II, now a saint, issued a statement from the Vatican on Cesar’s passing. Of all the many awards and honors he received, perhaps Cesar would have been most touched by the fact that in the U.S. Bishops Catholic Catechism For Adults, in the section on “Life In Christ,” the life which is used as exemplary is that of Cesar Chavez.
Almost as distasteful and repugnant to Progressive Liberals as is Chavez’ essence as a Christian, is the fact that Chavez was an American veteran, a third-generation American, born in Ari-zona, who volunteered to serve in defense of his country, the United States, in the U.S. Navy in World War II. (I spell out “World War II” these days as I have learned that the modern genera-tion of Americans have been taught so little about the history of America by liberals running government schools, that many don’t know what “WWII” means anymore than they know what “WWI” means.)
An example of Liberals and Latinos transformation and exploitation of Chavez to celebrate and honor themselves by purporting to honor him arises in Portland, OR, the Principality Of Progres-sive Liberal Political Correctness, a “Sanctuary City” which spends several hundred thousand dollars a year extorted from taxpayer’s to operated an an illegal aliens hiring hall, to undermine working conditions of American workers for work elitist Progressive Liberals have no need to compete.
Portland Progressive Liberals and race-baiting Oregon “Latinos” exploited Cesar Chavez’ work and name to celebrate themselves by insisting that the name of historic 39th Street, a major thor-oughfare running through the city, be changed to “Cesar Chavez Blvd.”
They said it was to honor him. It was, in fact, to honor themselves as just so much more noble and good they are than the rest of us, because they are busy “honoring” him — but not, however, by bestirring themselves to drop their government or non-profit corporation jobs or college stu-dent status and go to California and work for justice in the fields with Chavez’ United Farm Workers of America. That, in fact, is the only way in which he desired to be “honored.”
Far from honoring Chavez, renaming 39th Street for Chavez is, in fact, an insult to Cesar Chavez. He never sought such personal publicity, especially in a city in which he had such minimal actual contact. Cesar did next to nothing in Portland. He had no real connection or rela-tion to the city. He was used by Liberals to celebrate their politically-correct better-than-thou self-righteousness, and by resentful Latinos to poke other white people in the eye. (Latinos, after all, are but Caucasians who speak Spanish, the language of slavery in the Americas, Spain be-ing the first leading slave-trading power in the world.)
I have no doubt, based on actually working with him including as one of his lawyers for more than twenty-years, until his death on April 23, 1993, that if Cesar had a choice, Cesar would have asked the name of 39th street not be changed to honor him, especially if he learned of the overwhelming opposition to re-naming 39th Street of the people who actually live there. They turned out by the thousands to be oppose it. But they were merely tolerated (given “1 min-ute” to express opposition), then ignored by the city’s liberal rulers on the All-Liberal Portland City Commission. When the Oregonian newspaper finally thought it might be a good idea to find out what the Chavez family thought about re-naming 39th Street for him, Chavez’ son, Paul, for the family, said: “I think my Dad would have said that there are a lot more important things to be doing than naming a street after him.”
Indeed, especially cringe-worthy is the fact that self-righteous Liberals and resentful Latinos of Portland who have done nothing or next to nothing in the civil rights movement insisted on changing the name of 39th Street for Cesar Chavez — who had never been in Portland except for driving through it or giving an occasional speech — while ignoring such Oregonians who had ac-tually resided on 39th Street as world-famous scientist, double Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling.
Renaming a street in Portland on which Linus Pauling lived to allegedly honor Cesar Chavez who had no real contact with Portland, is as preposterous as would be East Los Angeles renam-ing a street on which Cesar Chavez lived to honor Linus Pauling. But one must not in Portland question the acts of totalitarian Liberals–their motives, after all, are “pure,” even if their acts appear to be naught but anally birthed political dross.
However, notwithstanding such Liberal and Latino distortion of Cesar Chavez’ own reality, Ce-sar was, in fact, a humble and faithful Christian living as best he could the theological and moral teachings of Jesus Christ, the latter of which Thomas Jefferson wrote were “the most sub-lime ever offered to humankind.”
Cesar Chavez was an American proud of his Mexican heritage but also proud to be an American. He was a man and leader who lived and preached racial inclusiveness not exclusiveness, and who, in the two decades I was with him, never identified anyone as a “Latino” or a “His-panic” (from which derived the slur, “Spic”), and refused to use the term “La Raza,” expressly telling me that was because he believed it was racist. In the millions of words he spoke in fight-ing for justice in ‘La Causa,” I don’t believe one will ever encounter the three words together: “Viva La Raza!” (Long Live The Race!)
Although often held out as a “Mexican-American Civil Rights Leader,” or just “Mexican,” Cesar himself did not identify himself as a civil rights leader. On the contrary, he consistently identi-fied himself as a “union leader,” leading a union composed of all farm workers whatever their race, and not a “Mexican union,””Chicano union,” or “Latino union.”
It should be remembered that the famous march that Cesar Chavez led from Indio, CA to the Mexican border in 1969 was not in protest against growers exploiting farm workers: It was to protest the federal government’s failure to secure the border from illegal entry of Mexican who were used as strike breakers. Ten years later, in 1979, Cesar Chavez testified before Congress that the border had to be sealed as it was all but impossible to better farm workers’ wages, hours, and working conditions when there is an endless supply of exploitable labor from Mexico through a porous border. He also cooperated with the the Border Patrol and INS (now ICE) to secure the border and keep out strike breakers and others undermining the effort to improve farm workers lives through the union.
Those who demand that the border be secured today are denounced as “bigots” and “racists” by Liberals when they are in fact making the same demands the Cesar Chavez made. Was he, too, a “racist”?
The essential reality of Cesar Chavez, untransformable no matter how much Progressive Liberal propaganda is pumped out that Chavez was really one of them, is that Cesar Chavez was a Christian living a life in Jesus Christ.
That is the man, the Christian man, who is and should be honored on each March 31 marking the anniversary of his birth because of his service to others through consciously attempting to live his life in Christ.
That is the man whose deeds as well as words brought dignity to so many who were without it. That is the Christian who “transformed” lives by the example of his own life in Christ. That Christian cannot be “transformed” now in death by Progressive Liberals feeding vulture-like on his life.
We Americans treasure freedom, which our Declaration of Independence declares is not given us by government but which God, our “Creator,” endowed each of us with at conception. But the truth is that there is no dignity without freedom; and there is no real freedom without dignity. Cesar Chavez did many things for many millions of Americans in his lifetime, of all races. But perhaps most importantly, by living a life in Jesus Christ and his teachings, Chavez brought dig-nity to those who had not known it.
Cesar did that not by rendering onto Caesar, but by rendering his life onto God — hour by hour, day by day, every day, to the best of his ability, in service to others. His faith and love in Jesus Christ informed his life, and made him what he was.
The quote of Cesar Chavez cited at the beginning of this tribute — “ I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!” — is carved into the stone memorial to him at his gravesite at “La Paz,” the headquarter’s of the United Farm Workers of America in the Tehachapi Mountains, in Keene, CA, now a National Historic Memo-rial.
What Liberal would say those words of Cesar Chavez today? Which of those Progressive Liber-als transforming Cesar into a clone of themselves would dare to say those words, referencing “God” and “manliness” and not be figuratively stoned by contemporary Progressive Liberal De-mocrats?
Cesar Chavez was in his own reality, not as transformed by those who would exploit his life for their own purposes, a great man, a Christian man, the lessons of whose life have inspired and in-fluenced so many others’ lives, including my own.
Thus, in 2016, at a time when the 89th anniversary of his birth on March 31, 1927, is remem-bered and honored in various ways, I respectfully once again salute, honor, thank and remember him for the lessons he taught by the example of his inspiring life in Christ in service for others. Please take a moment, if you will, to read more of the tribute I wrote on the 80th anniversary of his birth. “Lessons From The Life Of A Great American–Cesar Chavez.” [Link]
On Cesar Chavez Day, and every day, I will always walk in his shadow.
© 2016 Rees Lloyd – All Rights Reserved