LatinaLista — Early on when the Egyptian protests first started, I was struck by one particular interview one of the news shows did with a middle-aged Egyptian man. The man was passionate in his urgency to let the world know why people were taking to the streets.
According to the man, it had to do with one word — dignity. It was a word he repeatedly used during the course of the interview. He said the protests were about restoring the dignity of the Egyptian people — students who graduated from universities but couldn’t find jobs, people who could not find work and couldn’t afford to eat or have a decent roof over their heads.
Protest in Egypt
By the time the interview was over, he wanted the world to know that the protest had nothing to do with religion or ideology. From what was reported, it was the same quest for dignity by a young university graduate in Tunisia, who set himself on fire because he could no longer bear not being able to find a job, that sparked the protests and eventual ouster of the country’s president.
Other Arab leaders, seeing the proverbial handwriting on the wall, have already started to meet with groups in their countries that they never gave a second thought to. They’re sitting down and discussing a wide range of issues that boil down to granting a person a sense of dignity.
Dignity isn’t just being sought by the people of the Middle East. It’s something that is also on the minds of the poor and disenfranchised of the United States.
With Latinos experiencing the highest rates of unemployment and no health coverage, there will come a tipping point as to how much more Latinos and low-income non-Latinos will or can endure in light of some Congressional actions to overturn Obama-passed laws like healthcare.
For example, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was happy to announce that the “GOP will defund health care law.” Yet, still no alternative has been presented that will ensure that those uninsured, or even underinsured, will be covered with substantial health care.
The GOP’s quest to make President Obama a one-term president is clearly being made on the backs of people who can’t afford it. With each new repeal vote announced and no viable alternative presented in its place, the GOP is declaring war on a segment of the U.S. population that has patiently struggled with far less money than the rest of the population.
We have only to look at Egypt and Tunisia to see that everyone has a breaking point when it comes to being deprived of their dignity in attempting just to live.
It’s time our Congress realizes that what could happen over there, could happen here if they don’t realize that dignity is an unequal concept in this country thus far.