April 1, 2006
Unless someone has been very busy with Photoshop, this gallery of photos of the march in Los Angeles at mexica-movement.org is not an April fool's joke. With slogans like "Stolen continent," "Indigenous people against white racists," "All Europeans are illegal," and the like, it is clear that these people would not be content just to gain legal immigration status, via amnesty or "guest worker" visas. They want to undo the results of the Mexican War and have the southwestern U.S.A. returned to Mexico! Don't laugh, it might just happen within our lifetime. How many Latino immigrants truly share such extreme sentiments? How many of them would openly admit it? Perhaps my humorous, offhand reference to reexamining the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (March 29) was closer to the mark than I thought. (Link via Instapundit, who also wonders "Why so little immigration protest in South Florida?" -- [link added])
What this means is that a polarizing dynamic has begun that will almost certainly lead to increasing violence and decreasing trust among immigrants and native-born Americans. For those of us who have tried for years to build bridges of understanding between cultures, it is all an enormous pity.
Interestingly, many of the protesters were holding American flags, apparently aware of the hostility they had incited among otherwise sympathetic folks when they waved Mexican flags. Most of the protesters are apparently oblivious to the fact that Mexico has at least as bad a historical record in treating true indigneous people as the United States. The vast majority of Mexicans and Latinos are mixed blooded, which gives rise to deep anxiety about their ethnic identity. Protesting can be a good way to vent such internal conflicts.
* For you folks in Rio Linda, "irredentism" is a movement demanding the transfer of land from one country to another on the basis of historical claims. Examples would be Germany against Poland during the 1930s, or Ecuador against Peru from the 1940s until the 1990s.