Wednesday, May 5, 2010

THOUGHTS ON CINCO de MAYO

I’m confused.

This is the Unites States, right? The country that eliminated nearly an entire indigenous population in the name of Westward expansion. The country that held onto slavery as an industry long after the so-called "First World" had abandoned it. The country that defeated the mighty British Empire...with the help of German mercenaries and the French Naval Armada. Right?

So why are we celebrating another country’s holiday? I’m speaking, of course, about Cinco de Mayo. A Mexican holiday. More specifically, a celebration of Mexico’s victory against the French. Now, I could make the standard jokes about how this would only be a big deal if it happened in the time of Napoleon and that it was basically just Mexico’s turn, but I shall refrain this time.

The point here is that the United States is giving time and credence to a Mexican holiday. Do the Canadians celebrate Bastille Day because of the French Canadians? The question itself is ludicrous. But somehow asking a similar question here makes me odd.

Mexico is a different country. It has its own history and its own national days of observance. There is absolutely no reason for Americans to celebrate a Mexican military victory. Yes, we have a growing Mexican population, many of them legal and productive members of society, and if they want to celebrate another country’s holiday, it is their right to do so.

I would submit to you, however, that anyone who still marches down an American street in observance of their country of origin’s ability to maintain its sovereignty is most likely not loyal to the United States. That’s a broad generalization, of course, but we’re not talking about a religious holiday here. Everyone should have pride in where they came from but when they're no longer there, acting as if they never left is highly suspect behavior.

The Irish may have mainstreamed St. Patrick’s Day, but it is a Catholic celebration at its core.

Americans have the ability to drain almost all of the meaning of any holiday and Cinco de Mayo is most likely next on the list. We’ve already seen drunken college students screaming the phrase over and over amidst gallons of liquor. Soon it’s meaning will be lost to those using it as an excuse to get effed up and act stupid.

But the question will remain in my head: Why are we celebrating another country’s holiday?