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A brighter future paved by petty tyrants
La Voz Staff photo

By David Conde

Since the presidential election I have tried to stay away from cable news and instead have concentrated more on print media and commentary on the issues of the day. I was particularly disappointed with the sensationalism offered by every cable news network during the political campaigns because it tended to distort the notion of truth.

At the same time, I do not blame the media for the outcome of the election as very flawed candidates made their own bed of nails. I agree with the conventional opinion that the election was Hilary Clinton’s to lose but those that wanted a change from the Obama legacy dug deep and squeezed enough votes out of the hinterlands to find a way to win in the Electoral College.

Clinton won the popular vote going away but lost the presidency due to a dark area in the Clinton family legacy that sees a political enemy around every corner. Her email mistakes that came from this paranoia recalls Marshal McLuhan’s “Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man” (1964) that points out that regardless of purpose “the medium is the message.”

Despite being the most prepared for president among men and women in a generation, Clinton found a way to lose. The result is that Donald Trump has made the day of the petty tyrant a current attraction.

Latinos are very well acquainted with the petty tyrant since the time of the Spanish conquerors that set this character on the pre-Columbian people to persecute, dominate and mistreat. Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda’s teacher says in “The Fire from Within” (1991) that “a petty tyrant is a tormentor, someone who holds the power of life or death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction...”

Victor Sanchez in his book on Castaneda: “The Teachings of Don Carlos: Practical Applications of the Works of Carlos Castaneda” (1995) divides today’s petty tyrants into four categories: 1) those that torment with brutality and violence; 2) those that create unbearable apprehension; 3) those that oppress with sadness and gloom; 4) and those that torment by making people rage. We find the first in many areas of the world and the other three very much part of our current experience in the United States.

The petty tyrant forms part of all civilized societies as this character is many times used to maintain the power structure and its political order. Yet, the petty tyrant also becomes prominent in the beginning of a new order as much as at the end of the old one.

The petty tyrant was part of the last days of the British Empire in America as the imposition of a taxation program from a remote government served to enrage a population and light a fire under the desire for self-government. The petty tyrant is again important in the American landscape today as the old political structures struggle to maintain power with a desperation evident in the fact that the President-elect lost the election by three million votes and still argues that he has a mandate to govern in ways that threaten America’s constituencies.

Don Juan argues that the petty tyrant is a necessary presence during the journey through life and that the apprehension, the sadness, the gloom and the rage the character creates is a needed burden to be carried as well as an experience to be cherished. To undergo the trials fomented by the petty tyrant and overcome the obstacles on the way polishes our spirit and makes our future shine brighter.





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