Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pot. Kettle. Black.

There’s a lot in the press lately about illegal immigrants, referring, of course, to Mexican people coming across the border into the U.S. Some people are trying to convince you they’re all drug dealers and criminals and that the U.S. –Mexican border has become a free-fire zone.

Got to protect ourselves from those “illegal immigrants,” which, I suppose, is better than calling them beaners, wet-backs, greasers, or spics – though perhaps less sincere.

The irony of this situation is so thick a big, strong guy on angeldust couldn’t cut through it with a machete and a running start.

Once upon a time, about 300 years ago, Arizona, like Texas, was part of Mexico which was part of the Spanish Empire. Spain had a plan to “civilize” the Indians and take over the “new world.” Maybe they called it “Operation Indian Freedom.” It wouldn’t surprise me.

But those ungrateful savages weren’t all that keen on taking advantage of the benefits of civilization and put up a fierce resistance, particularly the Apaches and the Comanches.

But there were also Aranamas, Karankawas, Tonkawas, Kohanis, Cocos, Bidais, Nacisis, Koasatis, Eyeishes, Nabedachies, Nacogdoches, Kichais, Hainais, Anadarkos, Yowanes, Tawakonis, Wacos, Caddos, Kickapoos, Kiowas, and Tawehashes, for whom the main benefit of civilization would be extermination.

The Spanish were able to keep only three of the two dozen or so garrisons they had built in Texas. One of them, which was built in 1718, is in San Antonio. It was a combination fort and Catholic mission.

You might have heard of it.

Known as the Alamo.

But here’s the good part.

In the early 19th century white settlers from the U.S. began illegally immigrating to Texas where they set up farms and plantations on Mexican land. Southern slave-owners were interested in expanding into Texas, and northern capitalists were salivating over trade potential and the mineral resources of the area.

Spain tried to control the flow of illegal immigrants, but the problem was overwhelming.

When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the new government of Mexico decided to allow Anglo-Americans to settle --- provided they agreed to become Mexican citizens and convert to Catholicism. By 1835, there were around 35,000 people in Texas with Anglo immigrants out-numbering Mexican Texans (called “Tejanos”) by about 6 to 1.

But then the Mexican government made what proved to be a bad move: it abolished slavery.

This didn’t go over very well with Anglo slave-owners.

They embarked on an armed rebellion to break Texas away from Mexico. They put out a call for Americans to come to their aid-- promising to give mercenaries free land.

A group of 182 Texas separatists occupied the Alamo. All but 9 of them were Anglo immigrants. Among them was Jim Bowie an infamous slave-trader and slave-smuggler; and Davy Crockett, a land speculator and mercenary.

On March 6, 1836, the Mexican Army, commanded by the president of Mexico, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, retook the Alamo, killing all the rebels.

Six weeks after the fall of the Alamo, the Anglo rebels surprised the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto. General Santa Anna was captured. In return for having his life spared, Santa Anna signed a treaty recognizing Texas' independence.

One of the first official acts of the new "Republic of Texas" was to legalize slavery. In 1845 Texas was admitted into the United States as a slave state, and soon joined the Southern slave Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.

Later on, songs would be sung, books written, and movies made about the gallant “defenders” of the Alamo, the brave 182 men who gave their lives for the freedom to own slaves.

Later still, after the U.S. pulverized the Mexican economy, there would be a flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico back into the area of the U.S. that was previously stolen from Mexico by illegal immigrants from the U.S.

Now, where’d I put my machete…..?



Anonymous said...


CoyoteFe said...

Not to mention the Mexican-Americans who were run off their land by "new" settlers ...