Friday, November 21, 2014

Bienvenida A Casa !

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 digress.

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 struggle.

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.

Film?  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.

My biggest 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 it.

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.