Monday, September 17, 2007

Viva Mexico!

Yesterday was Mexican Independence Day. There was the usual display of cars waving Mexican flags all over Elgin. Some were the large 3’ X 5’ variety suitable for the front porch, but they were being waved proudly by Mexicans living in Elgin.

Others were covering the hoods of cars with the edges somehow fastened out of sight between the fenders and the hood.

At sunset they began several ad hoc parades, honking horns and waving flags. I watched as four cars formed a parade and decided to honk their horns as they drove along. A city police car, three cars behind them, did nothing. I suppose they have special “rules of engagement” during such holidays. The honking went on for a couple of hours.

It was a much more agitated celebration back in Mexico this year. The tradition is for the president to step out on the balcony of the palace at midnight and yell, “VIVA MEXICO!” on the eve of independence day. The adoring crowd in the plaza echoes back the greeting.

But some in the crowd planned to drown him out with boos and hissing. You see, the Mexican equivalent of Al Gore is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Andres and his followers are convinced that Calderon stole the election from him. So they protest his presidency every chance they get.

Back here in Elgin we are doing our best to convey the message that assimilation isn’t important. The motto of our Department of Diversity is, “Come as you are. Don’t change a thing.”

We were treated to a speech by Bankruptcy Court Judge Manuel Barbosa. It somehow makes sense that the Bankruptcy Court would have a “born in Mexico” judge. There was this exchange during the Univision debate:
”MODERATOR: Many people are losing their homes in the United States, Senator Clinton. One out of every 12 Hispanics will lose their home because of the mortgage crisis. What's the role of the federal government to play to ensure that the American dream is not lost?
SEN. CLINTON: Well, this is a serious problem for all Americans, but
it's particularly serious for Hispanics, because, as Jorge said, unfortunately about 40 percent of Hispanic homeowners have subprime mortgages. And given what's happening in the market, if the federal government does not step in and take steps to prevent foreclosure, millions of Americans and many Hispanics will lose their homes.
So I think we have to do several things. We've got to have some
intervention by the federal government.”

So I guess Manny sees a few Hispanics in his courtroom. It’s nice that he can talk to them in their own lingo.

According to the paper, Judge Barbosa explained why we ought to celebrate (or at least care about) Mexican Independence Day. He said that the American Revolution was the inspiration for Father Hidalgo to push for liberation from Spain in September of 1810.
"Our destinies are entwined in many ways. We have the common tradition of seeking freedom and celebrating it."

No mention was made of the war between our two countries in 1846 or the on-going battle at the border today. Nor did the good judge discuss the problems of identity theft, spouse abuse, or gangs that have been imported from south of the border.

No, this was a day for celebrating our common goals. Viva Mexico!

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