The Pledge of Allegiance
by Uncle Sam, the Puppet Master

I bled allegiance,
was shot and dragged
in the united states of amerikkka.
I lived reppression
for which the country stands
one nation, under martial law
with slavery,
and cheap labor all...

Guns, Clothes and alcohol...As Tommy Hilfiger˘ says, choosing the right one(s) is our 'declaration of independence.' Or shall we say we are 'in dependence' to our slave masters? Are we puppets? Are we shackled? Most people would be apalled, angry even 'pissed off' at being called puppets or even slaves. And yet how can we bow down to Anheuser Busch˘, Revlon˘, Nike˘ or Smith & Wesson and still claim we're free? It seems that we'd rather wear 150 dollars shoes, stack our faces with makeup, strap ourselves with glocks and tech-nines, and fill our bodies with malt liquor if it means pleasing the puppet master.

Most young people, including myself, in ghettoes and barrios throughout the nation claim we're hardcore by telling off our parents, families, teachers, friends, or even probation officers as we state with great pride, "Shit, you don't control me!" Ironically, most of us do so while wearing Guess˘ or Tommy Hilfiger˘ clothes with St. Ides˘ or Olde English˘ breath foaming out our mouths. And we still have the nerve to wonder who controls whom? Just take a Guess˘?

We flock to stores, swapmeets or flea markets seeking that name brand of acceptance. We'd be willing to spend our babies' money for that brand new shirt or blouse. We'd be willing to sacrifice our daily bread for some of that 'sweet' smelling perfume or 'rough' smelling cologne. We'd even kill for a pair of shoes. And as our minds take one step closer to the torture chamber the puppet master, a.k.a. Corporate Boss, grins with a phat wallet filled by our desire to fit in, to be part of the middle class, to be in style.

"Your mind and soul has been captured and taken captive by the motherf----n puppet master." (B-Real and Dr. Dre- Puppet Master, 1997)

On weekends, or for some of us on a daily basis, we flock to super markets, liquor stores and parties seeking the libation of our incarceration. We'd even be willing to pay money to act foolish, get dizzy, throw up, possibly explode with anger or rage, and lose brain cells all for the sake of being 'real.' Some of us would even practive it three to four times a week. We'd put into our temple, our body, poison because a frog on tv can make the shit seem funny. We'd put poison in our body for its glorified by our so-called heroes/heroines of color who are themselves being used to perpetuate the enslavement of our generation.

Most of us could care less to know about Tijerina, Tupac Amaru, Assata Shakur, Frantz Fanon, Lolita Lebron, or our Indigenous elders, but we can name Budweiser˘, Miller˘, Coors˘, Mickeys˘, Corona˘, Tecate˘, St. Ides˘, Olde English˘, and Colt 45˘ as if they were our best friends. Black and Brown youth proclaim Black and Brown power, and yet all we devour is the fastfood chain of McD's˘, inhale the smoke of the Marlboro˘ man, and drink the poison of CocaCola˘ or Pepsi˘... We're partly right, there is power.

Power for multinational corporations who pimp, exploit our sisters andfbrothers all over the world. Power for companies like Nike˘ who make their shoes in Indonesia for 47ó an hour, Guess˘ shirts in Los Angeles and New York's sweat shops under slave conditions, Disney˘ memorabilia in Haiti˘ for 17ó an hour, and Ford˘ Motor Vehicles in Mexico for $1.51 an hour, just to name a few. There is power. Power in our ignorance, in our consumption, in our corruption...and in our destruction.

The words, however, of a young brother still ring clear to this day. He asked, "Damm brother are you against everything? What the hell you wants us to eat, drink, smoke, wear or ride?" I smiled and replied, " Maybe it's time we fast, unrobe and walk." "What? You must be crazy?! You want me to not eat, get naked and walk? Shit, you've lost your mind." He may be right. I've lost my mind. Its always feeling a bit lighter as the chain strapped to my head begin to fall off.

I smiled once again and left him with this, "Young brother we may need to fast to purify the poison we've put in our body. We may need to unrobe, slowly, to show what we've been hiding. I don't mean literally stripping, I mean unveiling the skeletons in our closet. Finally the time has come we may need to stop driving and start walking....This can no longer be a sermon, a lesson, or one person preaching. The time has come to stop talking and start walking. If not, we may be headed for our own line chalking.
Cesar A. Cruz 1998˘
To Comfort The Disturbed, and To Disturb The Comfortable

Cesar A. Cruz-independent human rights activist, hip-hop educator....

His works have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles tImes, La Opinion, 4080 Hip Hop Magazine, Groundswell (PA.), North Coast X'Press, The Nation, Eye of the Storm (Philadelphia, PA.), Auto-Free Times, and many others

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