By Joe Olvera ©, 2012
No, that’s not a typo in the headline, that’s the way many Mexicans say the Fourth of July. Two Chicanos are conversing and discussing the nation’s birthday. One is named Frank Alvidrez, the other is named Simon Jimenez. Alvidrez is a Mexican American, only he is more Mexican than American. Jimenez is the complete opposite. He too is a Mexican American, only his roots are buried deep in American soil.
Frank: So, tell me, Mister America, why are we celebrating this holiday?
Simon: You know damn well that’s when our nation was born. That’s when we declared our Independence from England and we fought the Revolutionary War. Then, we became a free nation, able to have our freedom from tyranny.
Frank: Well, if you ask me we Mexicans really don’t have anything to celebrate, do we? I mean, let’s face it, if it hadn’t been for the war between the U.S. and Mexico, the U.S. wouldn’t be the great nation that it is today. If it hadn’t been for Manifest Destiny and President Polk, Mexico would probably have won the war and we’d be speaking Spanish.
Simon: So, when are you going to stop fighting the Mexican War? That was a long time ago, quit your harping and move on, why don’t you? That war ended a long time ago, in 1848. That was over 100 years ago, a whole century and then some. If you hate the U.S. so much, why don’t you move back to Mexico?
Frank: Pues, ni que estuviera loco. Do you think I’d be crazy enough to back there? Go back to what? To the violence, the corruption, the lack of jobs and no education?
Simon: This country, the USA is great because it gives us the freedom to move anywhere we want. You want to go back to your Patria? To Mexico? Nobody’s stopping you. In fact, Mitt Romney would love it if you self-deport. We need to get rid of some of these Mexicans, if you ask me.
Frank: Que pues contigo, ese. These are your people. How can you want them to return to their land of Mexico. Remember, this territories once belonged to Mexico. Thus, they feel it within their right to come here and to remain here.
Simon: Okay, then, why denigrate the United States? Why fly the Mexican flag all over, why fly it beside the US flag? This is the Fourth of July, not September 16th. This is America, not Mexico.
In every demonstration for immigration reform that I’ve seen, there are more Mexican flags than American. What gives? Where’s the pride of living in the U.S., the greatest nation on earth?
Frank: Those people who fly the Mexican flag are just showing their pride in being Mexican. They want everyone to know where they came from.
Simon. But, there are people here from every country in the world. You don’t see people from France, from Germany, from England – from anywhere – flying their flags on the Fourth of July, do you? People from Mexico shed a tear for their flag, but, they gladly scoop up the money and the opportunities that prevail here in America. They don’t shed any tears over those greenbacks, do they? If they loved their Mexico so much, why didn’t they stay there? Where is their Mexico Lindo y Querido?
Frank: It’s still here, in this country, in the USA. They feel that they have a right to protest, to complain against US actions of the past, against US policies, especially when it comes to immigration. Maybe if those other nations don’t fly their flags, it’s because they don’t have the pride that we do. The Mexicans only want a piece of what is the US pie. They only want equal opportunities and the chance to truly love America.
Simon: And, so they are being given that chance, that opportunity. But, love this country, Frank. This is your land too. You’re as much an American as I am. You were born and raised here, you educated yourself here, you are a professional earning good money here. Not in Mexico. Keep in mind the words by George William Curtis, when he said: “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers and woods; but it is a principle, and Patriotism is loyalty to that principle.”
Frank: Orale pues, ese, I’ll keep that in mind. Maybe you’re right.
Simon: There’s hope for you yet, Frank. BTW: Happy Four of July.