Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mayday! Mayday! Get Ready for Monday

Remember the Communists? There was nothing they liked as much as a muscle-flexing parade on May 1. Organized labor likes May Day, too. Can you seriously think of a better place than a parade to sign up the next generation of Teamsters?

So on Monday, those parades promised around the country that aim to shut down entire cities are not going to feature marching Mariachis, but rather thousands and thousands of Spanish speaking People of Anahuac awakening to the truth.

One problem: that truth might be harsh.

Here in Wilmette, you can tap the shoulder of many an older resident and ask "Where was your grandmother born?" and "Did your parents grow up speaking English?" The answers, and I've heard many of them over the years, are almost uniform. They name the country where Grandma was born, and then tell almost exactly the same story about her or their mother: "Speak English! We're Americans now." "Pledge to the flag." "Serve your country." "Act American." It was this attitude on the part of immigrants that put America in their heart, and made the melting pot work.

In America, it's hard to know someone's heritage and it mostly doesn't matter, anyway. There cerainly is no shortage of good American citizens with Hispanic backgrounds, many of whom have expressed genuine concerns over May Day plans.

But ever since I ate my hat and discovered the truth about occupied Anahuac, I have been studying this newest group of immigrants. Frankly, I'm puzzled. As a "measure of respect" they have come up with a Spanish language version of the Star Spangled Banner called "Nuestro Himno," which you can listen to by clicking here. Hey, what's wrong with the old one? But even the most moderate of their leaders are adamant: "All undocumented workers deserve legalization because of their inherent contributions to this society," says the President of the Mexican American Association, " all undocumented workers have more than paid their way to legalization and deserve it immediately."

Says Socorro Murillo of Santa Ana, California in regard to the May 1 marches, "I think it's important to show up, to show that this is a special day. It's a day that we should be remembered as Latino immigrants who took an important step to show our worth in the economy." The only problem is, that most of this worth on May 1 will go to millions of dollars of expense to citizens paying overtime for police protection and crowd control. Jim Kouri, currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, asks some tough questions.

These newest would-be citizens are different. And somehow they just don't quite get it. Their sense of entitlement to citizenship simply because they managed to reach the United States is troubling. It's going to take a lot of hard thinking to figure our way out of this mess. Considering amnesty? Before you make up your mind, please read this.

Note: Interested in the history of May Day and political protest? There is an excellent 57 page paper that will tell you everything you want to know, which you can read by clicking here. (Pdf format)

Photo Credit: Time Europe which has an excellent collection of May Day Photos. The one above is one of Italian workers marching in Pescara, Italy.


Post a Comment

<< Home