Those pushing an anti-migration message wave off key points of U.S. history
Recently a friend with weakness for populist-right Web talk copied me something about the flag-hanging and -removal flap at Klein-Collins High in Spring. The original writer of the chain was outraged that a Mexican flag was displayed with approval, and again that a student who took it down was suspended, especially after recent reports of students sanctioned in California for displaying the U.S. flag in ways found provocative or inappropriate.
The screed included a North American map showing the U.S. as “Not Yours” and Mexico as “Yours,” and included the disclaimer “This doesn’t mean I’m against immigrants.” Legal ones. Like millions of Americans, he’s angry about erosion of mainstream American identity, the debacle of border enforcement, and recent events whose juxtaposition seems surreal.
I wondered if the school incident even occurred and found it did, sort of. Since I try to keep my friend connected to reality, I replied:
To ape that guy: Disliking his transmission doesn’t mean I like illegal migration.
I briefly researched the flag incident, and several things can be said, some in support of the sense of outrage you pass on, but more not.
First, yes, tending to indict the “liberal media” just as “your friends” would want, is that the first 20 Google hits for “student suspended removing mexican flag” showed no mainstream media, even three weeks later; rather, it was all blog and Internet talk. It’s one example of how mainstream media have alienated much of society. I did see it treated by Laura Ingraham — whom MSM would generally not call mainstream. And I bet Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were on it. Laura’s interview with the kid’s mother, with a photo of the flag where it hung, is the closest I came to reliable info within a few minutes.
Next, in the same direction (supporting outrage), I agree it doesn’t look good, even is offensive, at least when directly compared with people being sanctioned for displaying the U.S. flag. I’m sure Mexicans with no love of us/U.S. are amused and encouraged.
But there’s lots wrong with how the pop-right is pushing its migration message.
Facts: One, the Mexican flag was not on a pole. It was inside the school, on a sort of bannister. There’s quite a difference. After a photo showing freshmen attending their first day of teacher Andrew Fox’s geography class at Denver’s North High School was published in a local newspaper on Aug. 16, 2004, officials said they received complaints over the Mexican flag hanging in the classroom. The criticism led officials to create a policy that says the display of foreign banners must be temporary and related to what is being taught in class.
Two, it was up for a key Mexican American holiday-festival, Cinco de Mayo, in a region with a large Hispanic population and culture.
Cinco de Mayo honors the one notable Mexican victory, May 5, 1862, in the losing struggle against French invasion. And since I doubt you like France, let alone French military conquest on our doorstep as late as the Civil War; and since the French defeat may well have prevented France from openly supporting the Confederacy; and since the Republican Congress in 2005 went out of its way to ask President George W. Bush to support American celebrations of Cinco de Mayo … you might reconsider the notion of hanging a Mexican flag inside a Houston-area school on that day.
Three, even more important, the transmission doesn’t note the kid actually threw the flag away after hauling it down, and never contacted school administrationi about it. That’s obviously wrong and left the school no choice. Excluding that aspect destroys whatever credibility “your” screed might’ve had, had other things been better represented.
Four: Look online. Some say the Mexican flag was directly above an upside-down U.S. flag, on the same pole! I lead in trying to show how the supposed best media often get facts of history, geography, science and math wrong and don’t correct them, but even they are still better than the open, populist Web. You can’t be a responsible citizen without grasping this.
Next, re: “Yours” and “Not Yours”: He’s either ignorant of or celebrating that the U.S. provoked and waged war against Mexico, taking nearly half its territory, land that was in the Hispanic sphere of influence and populated in part by Hispanics (who, like us, invaded Indian land) for centuries. I’m not saying we should return it to Mexico, which approaches failed-state status. I’m saying gloating, let alone gloating ignorantly, over a successful and arguably unjustified war (Abraham Lincoln, for one, in Congress at the time, spoke loudly against it) is bad. Lincoln wished for right to make might. Totalitarians and thugs embrace might making right.
I hope you consider in these lights the message you passed. If you do, I’ve done my job with/for you on this occasion.