First Published in DelawareLiberal on November 21, 2014 by ProgressivePopulist
Welcome. Come out of the shadows now, thanks to a courageous
President Obama. I'm sorry this has taken so long but there are a few
nativists here who have made the process of legalizing your residency
difficult. Let's forgive and ignore them.
U.S. and Mexican people
have long been closely connected. Were it not for events of the fairly
recent past, my 45 years in Texas might have actually been in Mexico.
Those years gave me a huge respect and love for Mexican and Mexican
American people and culture.
I was quite surprised on moving to
Delaware to see quite a few Mexican restaurants and a visit to the Hwy.
13 Farmers Market made me feel like I was back in Texas. And really
good Mexican restaurants down Hwy. 1. These are happy surprises. But I
But there's much more to Mexican and Mexican American
culture that I find most appealing and fascinating. Having had the
opportunity to travel all over Mexico I can see how pervasive in a
good way these cultural influences are to my Tejano friends. Many have
generations behind them in Tejas and the southwest, but you see visually
the beauty in art, architecture, music and cultural traditions that
connect them to the people in Mexico.
I had the opportunity in my
early years in Texas to travel with M.A. friends to the border towns,
visit with their families there and observe how freely they communed
with family in Mexico, though with much greater difficulty today due to
the so called border security. This is sad. I really wish we could
have an open border.
Our histories are intertwined and it makes
American life so much more interesting. These histories engaged me so
that I had the good fortune and good times visiting many Aztec and many
more Mayan ruins throughout that region. Amazing technology and
engineering, science, lore and legend represented at those sites.
Looking closely, you see that these early people rivaled the European
civilization many of my ancestors brought here. Anglo's have little
justification to feel cultural superiority.
I have such respect
for M.A. people's struggle to maintain their dignity so often under
attack by nativist north Americans. I have wonderful memories of
standing with my Chicano friends in their struggle in Texas for a
political voice and representation. And their struggle to have their
culture not disrespected in the Texas educational system. We still
have a long way to go.
But I urge my fellow Anglo Americans to
immerse in the art of this culture; you'll be awed by the Diego Rivera
murals. Page through books of both historic and futuristic Mexican
architecture. Ceramics? There's none more interesting. These reflect a
vivid appreciation of color as a celebration of life, even a life of
Music? Much of it so joyful, sung and played by a
people with so many struggles. It seems contradictory but seems to fuel
hope. Yes, there are even graduate studies in Tejano music and travel
around Texas and you'll hear it on many radio stations. Its flavors
have moved me to hear and play Carlos Santana's incredible music
whenever possible as family members will attest.
Food? I don't
need to go there. An aging stomach can't tolerate chilies like it used
to but when you think of chocolate, for example, it really started way
down there. Try a mole' sometime. An experience in extacy.
You've not lived if you've not seen Cantiflas, a great Mexican film
actor. I know all of you have appreciated the work of Anthony Quinn.
Doesn't sound very Mexican but he was.
Family values espoused by
so many here? Theirs are unparalleled. Hard work, another American
value. These amazing people define the very word.
regret with the Obama executive order touching maybe 5 million of us is
that many left a political society in Mexico which marginalized those
with native features and blood and idealized those with Spanish and
European physical characteristics; the latter gave them political
leadership and favor in media and advertising. Look closely, you'll see
Worst of all, the society many immigrants left in Mexico is
highly polarized between long standing wealth and material control and
those without. And there are many, many more without wealth and power
than those in possession of both. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Many
coming here didn't get that memo on the state of economic affairs in the
U.S.A. I hope they are not disappointed.
Actually, I hope many
are disappointed and join the grassroots movement to re-balance the
economic disparity in America. Their earlier generations were not so
successful in doing so in Mexico, but maybe, just maybe, we can reverse
it here. My M.A. friends are working very hard at it.
Welcome home. You can make a home here now and please, keep sharing your culture and values with us all. Gracias.