The War on Civility

| October 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

In Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company’s latest  production, “Kita y Fernanda,” the story is told of two girls who grow up together in an upper-class home in Texas: one is a Mexican national living legally in the United States, the other the undocumented daughter of the Mexican maid of the house. This play explores issues of immigration, language and class, issues that are stage front in today’s upcoming election.

The girls represent two classes within a shared culture, a story that is concurrent with what is happening among legal residents of our country. Side by side in San Diego, as in every city in America, are people who may have started out in the same culture, the same class, but are now divided because of where life has taken them. In this polarizing election, our parties have pitted American against American separating us by some very fundamental issues. We have become the people who have made it, who have worked hard, made an excellent living, and now are reaping the benefits and  people who for various reasons find themselves struggling to find a job, or working for wages that cannot support them  or who can just no longer work. With the not so gentle push of the two parties fighting for leadership of our country, we have allowed this to happen.

Our brothers and sisters are now our opponents, or so our leaders have led us to believe. Everyone’s family once held immigrant status, even if they came over on the Mayflower. Other than English speaking cultures, everyone’s relatives had a language barrier. Because many people fled persecution to come here, and came with the clothes on their backs and maybe a few valuables tucked safely away, many, if not most, of our forebears were struggling financially. There were hate and bigotry generations ago. There were haves and have nots going all the way back to the formation of the United States. There were people who understood the basis for taxation and others who fought mightily against it. There were many lives taken in the fights for unions and we fought a major war to give basic human rights to people who were owned by other people.

There is nothing new in the issues facing us today, but the approach to these issues has become a case of class warfare and a matter of pure civility. People are taking sides as though it was a war. War is the word we throw around to emphasize our intentions, the “war on poverty,” the “war on drugs” and now it seems as if we are in the “war” between the Republicans and the Democrats.

In “Kita y Fernanda,” the two women start out as friends, but as their circumstances move them away from each other, that friendship takes on another dimension. The similarities that once bound them are overtaken by the differences that now separate them. Isn’t this what’s happening in our upcoming election? The ties that bind us as Americans are being loosened by the rhetoric of politicians that seek to keep us at war with our own.

When there is a war, there is a winner and a loser. In elections there is a winner and a loser. Ideally both sides work together toward the same goals, peace and prosperity for each side, but then again, there might not be sides if that happened.

Mo`olelo’s production of Kita y Fernanda runs through Oct. 21 at the 10th Ave. Theatre. For tickets and information visit

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