All posts by tomasatlarge

Elmonzon.com is the personal blog of Tomás Monzón as well as his launching pad for creative and documentary film alongside written news pieces and profiles. The website, accessible at www.ElMonzon.com, is updated frequently with new and interesting material. Got an idea for a local issue that merits investigation? Shoot Tomás an email at tomasatlarge@gmail.com

President Trump, above all, lacks tact

On Tuesday of this week, President Trump announced his rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which was signed into law via executive action on behalf of former President Barack Obama in the summer of 2012.

donald_trump_official_portraitJust a week prior, Hurricane Harvey hit and devastated parts of western Texas, introducing heavy and highly damaging floods to cities like Houston.

Now, as the weekend nears, parts of the Caribbean as well as the state of Florida have experienced or are bracing for impact by one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma. Some island nations are already preparing for impact by follow-up storm Jose.

Do you think, Mr. President, that now is the right time to rescind legislation that for nearly five years has given a previously disenfranchised group of people the ability to get jobs, driver’s licenses and the tranquility that an ICE/USCIS officer doesn’t await them at the next corner?

c4a1b-obama_immigration_announcement

Was DACA’s passage the right way to go about immigration reform? Not at all. In fact, as I graduated high school and witnessed Congress’ inability to come together on immigration reform, I accepted the fact that my parents were criminals in overstaying and had erred in stringing me along. I was happy to oblige the law that said I should get the hell out of Dodge before I accrued time in this country illegally. Obama’s use of executive action benefited me but it was incomplete (failing to help many illegal adults) and inappropriately issued.

Yet the reality of the matter is that I would have been silly to let an ineffective Congress and a unilaterally administered piece of legislation get in the way of an American driver’s license, work permit and social security number. I took it and ran with it, applying to an Honors college program, getting my first real job and building up my personal economy.

Following Trump’s Tuesday bombshell, however, I feel like the guy who chose not to get insurance when he rented a Ferrari for his 18 year old son to save on underage fees. I feel like I chose the lesser alternative that promised me more than I should have accepted; I feel like I should’ve left to Argentina after high school and continued my adult life there instead.

uscis

That’s bullshit! It’s not my damn fault that the United States has failed, for years, maybe decades, to properly enforce its immigration laws. Why weren’t my parents and I forcibly arrested and deported after overstaying our 90-day welcome; the way my mom tells me it works in places like Europe? Myself and other DREAMers now become pawns in a shifty ideological game that has all of a sudden chosen to get strict.

The most insulting – though admittedly, the most irrelevant – aspect of all this is that it has all come out of the mouth of the most tactless public servant I have ever witnessed in my few years of life. Forget the man’s policy choices, forget the man’s personal beliefs, forget his riches and forget his appearance. President Trump has no tact, akin to nerds accustomed to staring at computer screens for fun that then freeze up when they talk to girls.

president-donald-trump-passes-out-food-and-meets-people-impacted-by-hurricane-harvey-during-a-visit-to-the-nrg-center-in-houston-saturday-sept-2-2017The only difference is that awkward nerds are funny. On the other hand, a President who rescinds legislation who has essentially given life to 800,000 young immigrants in the midst of two or more natural disasters, and a President who tells a crowd of people in the thick of flooded Houston to “have a good time,” is an absolute embarrassment of a public figure.

The Kardashian clan would form a better executive cabinet at this point! It would certainly make for better television, and who knows, maybe they’d leave stuff up to talented staffers and everything would flow better as a result.

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Don’t throttle my dreams

I don’t want my dreams to be throttled by a broken immigration system, by my parents’ forced response to a decaying Argentine economy at the turn of the century, by the inability of a Congress to provide for its most promising citizens. In the grand scheme of the world and its history, these details will either be forgotten or underappreciated; the frustrating paralysis caused by them belittled or ignored in the face of what could’ve been but never was.

Missing My Lightbulb Moments

During my sophomore year of high school, I produced my first documentary film, appropriately titled The Sophomore Slump. Here’s the 7-minute trailer to the 45-minute “epic.”

Though it’s really not much by my present standards, watching it today leaves me surprised at the grasp I had at the time of video editing, shot composition, interviewing and storytelling techniques.

Re-watching it today also produces a grave revelation – the slump didn’t hit me back then. It’s hit me now, and it has been hitting for almost a year. Only a lightbulb moment can bring me back.

Continue reading Missing My Lightbulb Moments

Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part two

That uber-blurry picture up there? Snapped by a girl at the airport on her Polaroid Instax as we dealt with a four-hour delay back to Miami. 

As I was saying last time – there I am, in the line for The Simpsons ride, or the Return of The Mummy ride, or the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon ride – and every time, without fail, people around me, behind me, in front of me and, in the case of one of the lines, above and below me, whipped out their smartphones with practiced bravado from their pockets and started the classic life-saving maneuver of living vicariously through others.

Continue reading Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part two

Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part one

My greatest take-away from my wonderful trip to Universal Studios this weekend with my family had little to do with awe-inspiring attractions.

Actually, the prevalence of video-based rides as opposed to de facto rollercoasters wasn’t much to my liking.

What I did notice, however, was how unappealing modern mediocrity is.

Continue reading Modern mediocrity is unappealing, part one