Moving to Mexico: Chapter 23
We are Not That Different
One of the many reasons we were drawn to Mexico is that a lot of Mexico resembles our home state of California. We have deserts, coastal areas, valleys and mountains just like Mexico. The only thing we don’t experience much is humidity, but a nice beach and a cold beer eliminate that for me.
Here in California, we interact with Mexican people every day, have incorporated their language, food and culture into our own and generally feel at home with most things Mexican. Many of our cities, streets and areas are in Spanish: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cesar Chavez Street and Balboa Park. We are intertwined.
Mexico has adopted many things that are common in California. The last time we visited, we rented a Chevy from Avis, drove to Sam’s Club and bought some Coor’s Light. We Blue toothed our iPhones to the car so we could stream Sirius Satellite Radio as we drove to a Starbucks. For better or worse, it felt a lot like home. Granted, much of the “culture” America has given Mexico (and the world) comes in the form of entertainment and commerce. So far, sales appear to be strong. Traditionalists appear to be outnumbered by consumerists.
California has strong ties to Mexico. No one will dispute that. We also have ties to Native Americans and Europeans. We are a blend of old and new, local and immigrant.
The map above shows the general areas where the many different indigenous tribes lived in California. Our history began with the indigenous people living in the area that they traveled to the area from another place. “People” simply do not spawn autonomously. They don’t just appear. They breed just like their animal neighbors, travel around looking for their best life, claim areas for their own, develop and defend those areas.
Despite the romanticism that Hollywood places on Native Americans, they were accomplished and brutal warriors who saw battle as a natural part of life. They claimed, defended and aggressively stole land, horses, and property. They sometimes raped, killed and even devoured each other cannibalistically. They scalped, tortured and (contrary to the popular theme) enslaved each other. Some even owned African slaves. The “no borders” crowds at Antifa rallies foolishly ignore the uncomfortable truths that do not support their narrative. An anarchistic world really is not a good idea because the truth is that people always have (and always will) want to own LAND.
“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”
People will defend land ownership and find ways to acquire more of it, justifying each acquisition with their self-defined morality and law.
The indigenous tribes of California were not truly “native” to the area. Even they migrated here from other continents some 50,000 +/- years ago as glaciers shifted, sea levels fell, and global weather changed. They were here a LONG time before the Spanish began exploration of the coast in the 16th century and Europeans began settling the area. But, like everyone else, they migrated here, too.
None of this is new. It’s all historical fact. People can argue different points, but most know that Mexicans speak Spanish because they were part of the Spanish empire for three centuries just as Americans speak English because we were part of the English empire for about 170 years.
California is different.
VERY different from the rest of the USA.
Our state is the red-headed step-child, the rebellious teen and the prodigal son all rolled up into one. We are currently cuddling up to the same federal establishment we normally flip off because our state is on fire and we need money, hence the repentant return that will assuredly be short-lived.
By 2015, California reported that 38% of its population was Spanish-speaking. Also, in 2015, 13% of the USA was described as “native Spanish-speakers.” Some 18.2% of New Yorkers spoke Spanish. That same year, The New York Post published an article that claimed that the USA had more Spanish speakers than Spain. *Mexico had over 200% more Spanish speakers than Spain.
History reminds us that Mexico and America had a short war back in 1846, another land grab by believers of “Manifest Destiny”, a mindset that it was the duty of the Americans to continue the westward expansion of the USA. By the war’s end in 1848, Mexico had lost almost half of its territory. Barring another war between our two nations, that land will most assuredly not be returned to Mexico, but it appears that the Mexicans have returned to the land.
The American Southwest is “mestizo”, a blend of cultures and ethnicities. It’s my favorite part of America because of this. The terms “American” and “Mexican” are not truly genetic terms. The terms are a nationality and an ethnicity, not a race. We’re all mestizos, a truly diverse melting pot of different bone structures, skin, eye and hair colors and sizes. We can’t just use sweeping definitions like “European Americans” and expect that those who define themselves as “Mexican” do not have European ancestry, because many do. Mexicans are extremely diverse people, just like Americans.
I find it fascinatingly sad that our society is having so much trouble with racial issues right now when it’s clear that we are all so closely related. When I thought about writing this article, at first I paused, thinking my words would “trigger” someone into anger. Then I remembered that the intention can sometimes become lost in translation so let me state here and now my reason for writing this article:
I love Mexicans.
And I’m not afraid of the truth about them, our history with them, or our future with them.
Actually, I love everybody. I always have.
If you want to argue with me about the statements I’ve made here, take it to Google and Wikipedia. The information I used was taken from those sites. If it’s a little off I’ll let them apologize. Don’t expect me to. I’m just trying to make a simple point and that is that at our core, we are the same. Same blood, same organs, same birth and death. It’s the layers above that make us different and those differences are part of the beauty of this life.
As I write this, there is a caravan of Central American immigrants heading through Mexico. The residents of Tijuana are protesting the caravan and there has been some violence. There has never been this kind of mass migration in American history where thousands of people are literally walking through other nations for many weeks, hoping to get to the USA and claim legal asylum. Politics aside (I’m sure there are some bad people in the caravan) most of them are simply desperately poor people fleeing failed and violent areas only wanting to survive.
Personally, my family came to the USA from England in the 1700’s. My ancestors worked farmland and ranches in abject poverty for many years before they gained any foothold in the form of owning a home or a small ranch. My family came to the USA legally, worked hard and remained. I see no problem with poor people coming here to work hard and get their shot at what is left of the American Dream.
If I were in a similar situation, I would leave Venezuela or Honduras and head here, too. I’ve been poor and hungry before. For years, we had very little to eat, wore the same raggedy clothes every day and moved constantly. I get it. I lived it. I know there is a big difference between poor in California and poor in Venezuela, but cold is cold, hungry is hungry and scared is scared. The negativity of my situation propelled me to work my way out of it. I had no help, no connections and no contacts. I slept on couches, floors, in my car and on the beach when necessary. I went to a foreign city, did crappy jobs until I could get a better job, paid for my education by working full-time and going to school full-time. I avoided poverty by not having any children, getting my degree and working. I never gave up and eventually, I became successful. I paid for my piece of the American Dream with blood, sweat and many, many tears.
These asylum-seekers need to understand that they are headed for a broken country, split into factions along political and racial lines. There are people here who will welcome you with open arms to legally join our ranks and help build our nation. There are also people here who want to close the borders and turn you away, similar to what they encountered in Tijuana, Mexico. Again, we are very similar.
Since the caravan obviously never intended to stay in Mexico, I pray that the USA can provide shelter, food and medical attention to these people while safely and fairly processing each individual request for asylum on a case by case basis. If there are criminals in the caravan, turn them away. For the good people seeking a better life, welcome. Welcome to America, the land of the free and the home of the brave; the land of opportunity. America rewards innovation and dedication. If my illiterate ancestors could do it, if I could do it then they can do it. I truly wish them well.
I pray they become part of the USA, not just another faction. We are already so fractured. I want all new Americans to become part of America, so they don’t feel like visitors, outsiders or second-class citizens. I want them to become part of my American FAMILY.
*I lived in France for a while…trust me, they treated me like scum.
Please, learn our language, learn our history and get your citizenship. Then, get ready to work hard. After that, no one can take anything from you. You paid for it, you earned it and it’s yours for life.
We all want similar things in life because, despite what you hear on the news, we are not that different.