Monday, September 15, 2008

U.S. City Celebrates Mexican Independence Day

When it comes to governmental wastage of taxpayer funds, one has to look long and hard in order to exceed that peculiar type of corruption that is found here in the wasteland that is California's so-called "Imperial" Valley. But even here, where all kinds of corruption and nepotism are common-day occurrences, I was stunned to learn that the City of El Centro, California was proudly expending much-needed monies on the celebration of another country's independence day:
When El Centro City Councilman Efrain Silva was elected to the council last November, it led to the opening of doors between the city and Mexicali.

Silva said once he was elected he began communicating with the Mexican Consulate in Mexicali and eventually developed the idea of hosting a Mexican Independence Day event in El Centro.

“Calexico [California] had been doing it for years,” Silva said, “and I wanted to do something for the city of El Centro.”

On Saturday night El Centro, in joint efforts with the Mexican Consulate, hosted “El Grito de Independencia” at Bucklin Park as part of a Mexican Independence Day celebration.

“This was a tremendous opportunity for the community to celebrate Mexican Independence Day,” Silva said.

With thousands packing Bucklin Park, attendees were treated to food, drink and musical performances.

And while the event is celebrating Mexico’s independence from Spain, Silva said with “80 percent of Imperial County’s population of Mexican descent,” the “grito” is a natural part of this community.

“We’re honoring the beauty of the Mexican culture,” Silva said. “And I’m hoping everyone values it and everyone embraces the cultural differences.”

Sierra Gordon, special events coordinator for the city of El Centro, called the event “historic” and said she’d like “El Grito” to become an annual event held within the city.

“We’re not only here to celebrate the independence of our neighboring Mexico,” Gordon said, “but we’re also bringing out the roots of our Hispanic community.”
While I listened to the revelers at park repeatedly shout "Viva Mexico" at the top of their lungs in response to the emcee's Spanish-language promptings over the public-address system, (and yes, I am fluent in Spanish, having been married a Mexican lady for the last 20 years and having resided several years in Mexico) I couldn't help but wonder at the audacity of a California city council that would waste money on this type of nonsense activity while at the same time badgering the already over-taxed populace to vote this November to raise the sales tax another half-percent in order (the council says) to do much-needed pot-hole filling and other road repairs.

Now there are some out there who will invariably compare this celebration of Mexican Independence Day ("El Grito") with other "ethnic" commemorations such as St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day.

The difference is that St. Patty's Day and Columbus Day are celebrations of a people while those American officials who spent American taxpayer money in order to commemorate Mexican Independence Day are observing the independence of another sovereign nation-state.

And no, the California city of El Centro does not stage a similar type of party on the Fourth of July.

Those Americans (both naturalized and native-born) who would so identify themselves with another nation-state while claiming all the rights and privileges of living in the United States would do well to consider
the words of Theodore Roosevelt:
There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

This is just as true of the man who puts “native” [Ed's note: in that time, the use of the word "native" referred to those who were born in the U.S. but claimed European decent.] before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.
They might also think about listening to John Wayne read aloud his poem, "The Hyphen."

Hyphenated Americans are Divided Americans.

Sadly, in these times of political correctness run amok, the type of divisiveness that is exemplified by El Centro's celebration of another country's independence will only further deepen those divisions.

While those who even dare question the propriety of such expenditures of hard-earned American taxpayer monies will likely be subjected to charges of racism, and being anti-immigrant.

But such are the times in which we find ourselves living..