September 13, 2002

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

¡Qvole raza at la Prensa!

Am drinking a little tequilita from Penjamo, Guanajuato that I received in kind by my uncle who lives in Chula Juana during a sojourn paid to my old backyard backs in May. Then, I remember being stopped at the airport at Chicago O’Hare ‘cause the migra couldn’t believe seeing a raza boy bearing a Swedish passaport.

Detained for two hours without a reason, and pressured by a raza migra whose hunch made her stubborn with belief that I somehow had travelled all the way across continents to purchase a passaport for the sole purpose to enter the USA illegally (!) I was queried as to why I spoke perfect inglés and what was the purpose of my visit all whilslt the insistent migra kept looking for records of my supposedly previous illegal incursions into Califas.

Never mind I said I grew up as a child there due to my parentela incursions for a better life. I was asked fifteen times as to my visit upon I responded I was on way to a Quinceñera, at last and begrudgeinly I was left free to go.

I still wonder why was I kept so long?

Now, it is September and I’m taking these Tequila shots reflecting upon those moments, all the while I’m listening to a cd I found in the library here in Stockholm called Orquestas de cuerdas Mexican-American border music -vol. 5 and feeling darn sorry for our gringo carnales because they aren’t aware of a history of America where no apple pie has ever been cooked there. It ain’t fair thinketh I for I knoweth their’s far too well yet they, gringos, think of this chunk of the world as foreign as Penjamo. Pobrecitos, really, although sometimes I wonder if they don’t miss more those 13 colonies where they came from since they keep insisting on learning more about Jefferson and Washington than our own local history such as Pío Pico and all the life before that which many of our elder raza have memories of and which helped forming a unique and wholly Hispanic California identity.

But such is the rule of the victor, his heroes stand on a higher pedestal all the whilst those of the defeated are reduced to a les than brilliant place, with luck, as such is the case in California, a passing mention is granted in the new revised history. Jijole! This tequilita really makes me feel sorry for them, I wonder if they would one day be as willing to integrate to us, the whole enchilada, as some of us through the years have been willing, at times forced, to integrate their anglo-saxon history and values. What kind of California would that then be?

One nopal full snow in Sweden.

Julio César Martínez
Anneberg, Sweden
via email

Filner defended

The harsh comments by San Diego Republican Party Chairman Guillermo Durazo criticizing Democratic congressman Bob Filner of the 50th District (see The Public Forum, August 30, 2002) were in my opinion a baseless attack on one of the best congressmen representing Californians in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Filner has done more for Latino, African-American and Asian-American families here in San Diego than any nopal in the cabeza republican has ever even attempted.

I also differ with Mr. Durazo’s high opinion of George W. Bush. Bush’s White house economic plan is nothing more than a Texas flavored version of the same old song and dance trickle down economic strategy that failed millions.

The Republican charade is again selectively spending billions on bloated big interests and widening the gap between the middle class and the very wealthiest 10%. It’s failing the working poor and leaving many Latino families with driest bare bones living wages ever imagined. And without the decency of a national healthcare coverage policy, which by the way Filner has tirelessly fought for, things are not starting to resemble a scene from the old difficult days of the early Bracero program except now there’s less of an opportunity to gain full time employment.

History tells us about the Republicans. Many of us clearly remember that a few years back in Washington, DC., a much-needed national policy for family leave was struggling an uphill battle to become law. Filner again was there as a strong voice of support for our families. But Big Business had complained that this modest family leave plan would ‘overburden’ them by requiring larger employers to rehire those employees who would have to leave their jobs temporarily do to a pregnancy or other family emergency. The Republicans - the so called ‘party of the family’ showed their true colors, green and silver as in money, when they abandoned working mothers and fathers and sided with the corporate money giving Enron’s of the time. That’s all people had to see to understand that the Republican Party has the internal compassion of a cold rock.

There’s no perfect political party available to voters, but of the two major parties, it’s fair to say the Democrats have the carrots and the Republicans have the stick from Crawford Ranch.

Virgil Pina
Chula Vista

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