This is a repost. Article originally published May 3, 2010.
The as-yet-to-make-any-sense Cinco de Mayo celebration in the United States is this week. And, though I don’t celebrate with the same gusto as my ‘gringo’ friends, this day always reminds me of the many reasons I left my native country in search of the education that could afford me a lifestyle I never knew I could get accustomed to: The American way of life. A life without fear, injustice, and with clearly established laws to protect me and my family. A lifestyle which offers us the security of knowing there’s recourse should anything bad happen to us while we inhabit this wonderfully free-spirited nation. (Without going into details, and for the record, I am here legally!)
It seems my poor native land continues to be ravaged by one type of menace or another without reprieve; drug cartels spreading violence, kidnappings, and more recently, mother nature’s attack on my home town of Mexicali, Baja California, with the Easter earthquake.
Cracks in the road to my brother’s job in Mexicali after the Easte earthquake. The pool I grew up swiming in at our local Country Club in Mexicali.
“Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the United States,” observed President Porfirio Diaz in the 19th century, and is something which still rings true today.
“Cinco de Drinko,” as a dear friend once called this Americanized fiesta, couldn’t better explain the reason for this borrowed Mexican holiday which, by the way, Mexicans themselves don’t celebrate!
That’s right. Mexicans neither here nor in Mexico celebrate the triumph over the French at the Batalla de Puebla more than Americans do in the United States. (I explain the historical significance of this battle in more detail in this post I wrote last year)
But, hey, who’s complaining, right?
Corona, Tequila, tacos and guacamole dominate tablescapes at restaurants; zarapes and sombreros abound; Mexico for at least one day is not considered a four letter word (I know it’s six letters, but you get I what mean), and Mexicans can walk on US soil feeling popular.
However, if you even remotely resemble a Mexican and you’re celebrating this Mexican Holiday in the state of Arizona this week, I’d exercise some caution if I were you — you could get arrested!
Oh, wait. I am you!
I was born and raised in Mexico which means I probably look, smell and sound Mexican.
It’s all good, though. I’ll just make sure I stay on this side of the California-Arizona border from now on and no problemo.
So, Happy Cinco de Mayo amigos!
Raise your margaritas to this country’s continued success, and to the improvement of my former country to the south.