Winter takes the color away, but people put up lights. In my own cul de sac of the global village, the light show this year is fantastic: colors like I’ve never seen, electric deer that raise their lit-up heads, candy canes, icicles, y mas santas. At night the frozen ground glows in magical grace. With hope, we have electrified a dying world.
Where does this spirit come from? If you think it comes from Jesus, I get it. If you prefer a pagan yule tide, I get that, too. My own favorite story for this season of lights belongs to Africa, where the Nile River once rose and fell. By x-mas time each year, the water had fallen low, but the low ebb of the river was matched by the high hope of Horus, the baby born of Holy Mother Isis and Green God Osiris, each and every December 25.
Whether the water is low or the snow is high, x-mas in El Norte finds us asking metaphysical questions. Will we believe in the returns of Spring? Stake our cheer on nothing but the future? Or feed our fear on everything we see around us?
For Ramsey Muniz on X-mas, it is neither low water nor high snow. For Ramsey, and so many with him, it is thick walls that must be hoped through. If he had to do it all over again, says Ramsey in an interview with Rolando Garza, he’d rather not run for Governor of Texas. He’d rather serve as minister of cultura for his beloved party, La Raza Unida.
Cultura. Familia. And most important, says Ramsey, is Love.
“Let us celebrate the birth of this historic spiritual man whose destiny was to change the entire world,” writes Ramsey from Leavenworth prison. The email comes from his esposa, Irma. “It is not about a white Christmas. It is about accepting the truth of faith, charity, love, forgiveness, and spirituality. We are in the midst of a world spiritual evolution and those who open their hearts with patience and understanding will witness the resurrection of spiritual power which is greater than any other power in the world.”
Although he says nothing directly about her in this message, Ramsey’s voice reminds me who else is looking out. The Lady of Guadalupe, her resplendent image watching from the East. She is mother to all the children of Aztlan, and it would take a soul made from dry husk not to thank her, when you live at a glowing cul de sac while Ramsey Muniz is locked up in Leavenworth.
If the best things come from prison, as Ramsey says, then in what way do the best things exist and why do the power-fools of this earth lock the best things away? In solitary confinement, Ramsey encountered a vision of Ricardo Flores MagÛn, and, having nothing more urgent at hand, they talked. Was it the same cell where Magon had been beaten to death in 1922, four years into his fourth imprisonment? Magon had coined the slogan, “Land and Liberty.” In his journal, Regeneration, he reminded Mechika readers that “emancipation of the workers must be the work of the workers themselves.”
At the Irish anarchist website, struggle, they say “No Gods, No Masters.” If you think the spirit belongs to this slogan, I get that, too. On x-mas day, the point is never to be caught without the spirit that takes you through the low water times.
GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. His chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush appears in Dime’s Worth of Difference, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org