Politics has always been part of my life. Not that I have any politicians in the family, but my dad has always been really passionate about politics, especially Mexican politics. Although he lived in the USA since the Bracero Program, he has always kept the people of Mexico in his heart. The corrupt government has always caused him anger. Because of that, I know about El Pri, El Pan and his favorite, El PRD (Mexican political parties). I have known since I was a kid, that the people in the border towns of Mexico to the USA have fear. It’s not a recent thing. Corruption in Mexico has existed for a very long time. Along with fear, the people of Mexico have also lived in some sort of oppression in which the rich get richer and the poor stay poor (Not always the case but it’s common.).
I remember the weekends as a teen were always filled with us attending rallies and protests. My dad would draw his political “cartolinas” (posters) the entire week. When the weekend arrived, he would throw us all in his van and we would head on over to Downtown L.A. or Tijuana. Eventually my mom got tired of it. I recall she would say, “Otra vez con tu Cardenismo!” The founder of PRD was Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, hence the word “CARDENISMO” which she came up with (LOL). The PRD was formed after the 1988 electoral fraud which sparked a movement away from the authoritarian rule of the PRI. My dad found it fitting to back up the PRD, a Socialist Democratic Party.
Growing up, I never really had the need to express my political views, I just went along with my dad and absorbed everything. But I remember when I started college, people everywhere had a political point of view and were passionate about it. During that time, all the knowledge I had gained as a kid came back out just as I had heard my dad. My Mexican juices began to flow in and out defending what I thought in my own mind was correct. The Mexican Political background I had, began to draw me to specific groups. I went through several phases. At one point, I was almost militant, participating in rallies, wearing Brown Berets (Not even being part of the Brown Berets) and hating the word “Latino”. I was almost a Socialist Separatist (Well, that’s how I see it now. Not even sure if that’s a term.) I even went to meetings for the Black Panther Party and for Native Americans. I wanted to take back the land that was once Mexico’s! I wasn’t even born in Mexico!!! LOL
I went from being in MEChA to trying to get into a “Latino” based fraternity. Man, college can do a number on us if we don’t know our stuff. Being political is hard and sometimes even sharing our viewpoint about politics is even harder. There is always somebody on the opposing side. You get caught up between what is right for the people or even what is morally right. It’s hard to find a balance and sometimes even impossible. (Now I put my faith in God.)
So the trend this year is #reclaimcinco. Honestly, to me it’s not a trend. I have always known that Cinco De Mayo IS NOT “Mexican Independence Day”. Most people use it as an excuse to have Margaritas, party and dress up like a “Mexican”… I don’t normally wear a huge sombrero, huaraches and a huge mustache… Well, maybe the “stache” LOL.
I get it, our culture loves to have a good time. I LOOOOVE to have a good time… I love Cinco de Mayo and embrace the opportunity of sharing my Mexican roots. But don’t make it just a DRINKO DE MAYO! We are better than that and capable of showing the world that our “celebrations” are more than just a drink fest with “Mexican costumes”. We are a rich culture full of so much creativity and knowledge. Let’s not waste the opportunity we have been given on “5 De Mayo” to really show those around us what we are made of…