A Mexican Immigrant Asks Why Can`t He Wave His Flag? Joe (And Ruben Navarrette) Explain


Here at the
VDARE.COM Letters Editor
desk, I get a lot of mail. Not
all of it
is intelligent or insightful.

But some readers do prod me to think harder about subjects that I
may not have fully considered. Sometimes, I end up agreeing;
sometimes, not.

A recent letter from a
legal Mexican immigrant
residing in
Texas

is a good example.

Miguel Mendoza wrote to me about
my
column
regarding another Mexican-American, the former
University of Southern
California`s
quarterback Mark Sanchez. My piece dealt more
with
assimilation
than football.

Mendoza began:

“I have to agree with you that

assimilation
is the key for success in
America
. And I certainly admire
the Sanchez family history that shows how a Mexican

day laborer
could father such successful offspring who, in
turn, had sired a long string of thriving children and
grandchildren. I wish there were more like them.”

Then Mendoza
told me more good things about himself:

“I oppose those Hispanic radical groups such as the

“reconquistadors”
and the

“Aztlan”
movement. On May 1st, I did not take part in
the marches
to demand rights and citizenship from
Mexico
. Quite the opposite; I
was working as usual at my job in Houston in computer services.”

Having stated his opposition to illegal alien activism, Mendoza got to his point.



“I think is necessary to take a closer look at another issue
that is closely related the subject of your article: Mexicans
are not the only immigrants who have a close devotion to their
former countries. If you doubt it, just take a look at both the
Cuban and Jewish communities in the
United States
.



“When I arrived in America, the
saga of young
Elian
Gonzalez
was in progress. I watched the entire drama on
television up to the moment he was rescued by INS agents. How
did the Cuban people react? By waving the Cuban flag. In fact, I
visited Miami
in 2001 and I was surprised to see the
intense
Cuban patriotism
.

“And as you know, up until recently
Israel

engaged in attacks against Hamas in the
Gaza

strip. Not long ago,
Israel

was doing the same against Hezbollah in Lebanon. How did the

American Jewish community
react? By gathering and waving the
Israel flag!”

To make sure I didn`t misunderstand, Mendoza wrote:

“Now, don`t get me wrong, I do not in any way hate Cubans or
Jews living in this country. In fact I totally agree with
Israel

taking these measures to defend herself and I despise Fidel
Castro`s regime.

“Yet, it is important to see that in the
U.S.

displaying or showing pride for one`s national roots seems is a
very American thing to do. Just look at the Irish celebrating
St
Patrick`s Day
and even
Italian
Americans
wearing T-Shirts with the Italian flag even though
many have never been to Italy.”

“My point is that while I agree the that assimilation and
loyalty
to this great country are essential for all people living in the
United States, especially immigrants like myself, it is also
important not to single out a specific group, in this case
Mexicans, for failing to do so.”

Mendoza pointed me to a
Ruben
Navarrette
column that addressed his concern:


You can always find flags at ethnic holidays and cultural
celebrations in communities named Germantown,

South Boston
or
Little
Italy.
Walk into a Mexican restaurant on

Cinco De Mayo
, and you`re likely to catch a glimpse of a
Mexican flag…”



“Whereas other flags inspire pride and nationalism, the

Mexican flag
seems to threaten, frighten and inflame. It
enrages Americans, generates backlash, unleashes angry calls
into talk radio and leads to the careless use of words such as
`traitors` and `separatists.`



“Interestingly enough—and here`s the double standard—I haven`t
heard any similar complaints in recent days about Jewish
Americans who waved the Israeli flag, or Cuban Americans who
waved the Cuban flag.
“[
Flag Waving`s Double Standard,
by Ruben Navarrette,
San Diego Union-Tribune
, August 6, 2006]

Mendoza`s view interests me because it`s true that the overt
Mexican demonstrations threaten,
frighten and inflame.”
And they also “generate backlash
and unleash angry calls.”

But why?

To explain fully why Americans react with such passion to blatantly
nationalistic displays by Mexicans but pay comparatively little
attention when other foreign-born people do the same, we have to
start at the beginning.

First, unlike what

Navarrette
suggests, we`re not talking about Italians in
Little Italy during the San
Gennaro Festival
or Mexicans celebrating on
Cinco de
Mayo
(when, by the way, you`ll “catch” a
lot more
than “a glimpse of a
Mexican flag.”
)

And there`s a world of difference between Cubans who wave their
flags for a limited period during a 24/7 national news story
like

Elian Gonzales
or Jews who do the same in the midst of a
military conflict involving Israel.

Gonzales goes home; the attacks end (at least temporarily), then
Cubans and Jews go back to business as usual.

But Mexican agitation never ends. In fact, it rarely pauses. The
flag-waving—be it literal or symbolic—is constant.

What creates such an intense, shocked reaction by Americans to
these displays by unassimilated Mexicans is that so many of them
have arrived
in the US illegally
, by the tens of thousands, virtually
overnight and have spread throughout the country.

Many illegal aliens have not made any meaningful attempt
to
learn English
. At the same time, dozens of expensive
taxpayer-funded
language classes
and
social
service programs
have been established or expanded to
accommodate them.
 

Every time an American picks up his

daily newspaper
, he reads about the extensive, relentless
Capitol Hill lobbying on behalf of Mexicans for

amnesty/citizenship/more immigration.

Before
Barack Obama
spent a full day in the White House, a group of
ethnic advocates marched in front of the
U.S.
Immigration and Enforcement
headquarters demanding an end to

workplace raids
(better known as law enforcement) and a path
to citizenship. [Immigrant
Advocates Call for an End to Raids
, by N.C. Aizeman,
Washington Post
, January 22, 2008]

In those stories, La Raza`s anti-American views are quoted
at length. But no reporter bothers to seek out the common
American for his opinion. The inference is clear: Americans
don`t matter.

Worst of all, the federal government tacitly approves illegal
aliens` presence. And as

statistics show
, most of the aliens are from Mexico.

Finally, there are no Italian, Cuban or Israel revanchist movements
making
claims
on U.S. territory.

The logical result among Americans from the non-stop demands by the
uninvited Mexicans: fear about our future and resentment toward
those who threaten the us. 

In an interesting footnote to my exchange with Mendoza, I discovered that none other than
Navarrette understands fully the question of Mexican
assimilation and the importance of leaving the flags at home.

When Navarrette was addressing a group of Jewish retirees just
after

May Day 2008
, someone in the audience asked:

“A lot of us come from immigrant families. And we bonded with America. But now it seems like a lot
of people aren`t doing that. They wave the Mexican flag. Why do
they do that?”

Navarrette`s reply:


“I agree that immigrants should assimilate—for their own good.
Besides, it doesn`t make any sense to flaunt allegiance to one
country while demanding rights from another. It`s bad manners
and bad civics. It also reflects bad memories. After all, these
people don`t owe
Mexico

the time of day. That country works for some folks—the
wealthy,
light-skinned, well-connected
etc—but not for others.
Mexican immigrants in the United States
are here because the motherland offered them nothing but bare
cupboards. Why should that breed patriotism?”

[The
Mexican Flag Double Standard
by Ruben Navarrette, San
Diego Union-Tribune
,
May 7, 2008
]

Navarrette answers Mendoza`s
question better than I can. And it is exactly what I have asked
directly of my former students: “What has
Mexico

done for you? Why do you show allegiance to Mexico?”

For the most part, the Cubans, the Israelis, the Italians,
the
Pakistanis
,
the Asians
and the Punjabis are in the US legally. As Americans, they have
the unassailable right to
Freedom of
Speech
.

But for those who are in the U.S. illegally and have managed the
not-too-difficult task of avoiding
deportation,
then the burden of proof of loyalty is on them.
Mexico

is in their past. Most flag wavers will spend more years in America than
they ever did in
Mexico
.

In conclusion, I`ll add that exchanges like the one I had with Mendoza comfort me. Like
us, he`s a patriotic American.
Mendoza
`s father served in
Vietnam
and he urged

VDARE.COM
to “keep up the good work.”

When you read as many
nasty
letters
as I do, Mendoza`s correspondence
is a welcome relief.

VDARE.COM is routinely accused of being
“anti-immigrant”. But because of letters like these, we know there
are plenty of immigrants who agree with us.

Joe Guzzardi
[email
him]
is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable.
A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel.