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Mexico and Texas



     Jaqui White continues to educate us about Texas. She writes: "Today, March 2, is Texas Independence Day, the 163rd, commemorating the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the Brazos (River) from Mexico. followed by the defending of the Alamo, and the Battle of San Jacinto, featuring Generals Sam Houston and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
     Hispanic lawmakers are proposing to honor human rights advocate Cesar Chavez with a state (Texas) holiday. It is time for Texas to recognize a Hispanic leader, said Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso. A bill sponsored by Chavez to make March 31 - Cesar Chavez's birthday - an optional state holiday passed the Senate Finance Committee Monday. The legislation gives state workers the choice to miss work in honor of Chavez by giving up another state holiday. Ms. Chavez said she decided to lobby for an optional holiday because making it mandatory would be a financial burden to the state. Chavez, who died in 1993, was the son of a migrant farm worker. He founded the United Farm Workers of America and was considered among the most prominent Latino leaders of the Civil Rights era. I always associate Cesar Chavez with California and lettuce."
     My comment: Texas Independence Day is a splendid occasion to compare conflicting versions of history. One problem is that for Mexicans, indeed for everyone, Santa Anna is a fool and a clown. Is there any revisionist historian working on his reputation? Certainly there are two versions of the Alamo story. The day will not promote warmer relations between Texas and Mexico.
     The assessment of Chavez (a "latino"!) in California is mixed. Despite the real merits of his complaints, the plight of agricultural workers in Mexico is infinitely worse. All holidays have been taken over by the Devil, e.g. Christmas and carnival. Here Martin Luther King Day is an excuse for students to go skiing. It would be much better not to have a holiday, but to have required lectures on what he and Chavez represented. That would be a contribution to education. Holidays honoring ethnic leaders simply exacerbate the racial divions which threaten the breakup of the United States. Think of all the ethnic groups in this country!

Ronald Hilton - 03/02/99


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