Commentary

Playing “What If?” With The American Southwest

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Ask A Mexican: June 30

DEAR MEXICAN: Just suppose that all of the southwestern United States had remained in Mexican hands. Would the Mexicans have done any better with it than they have with the present confines of Mexico?
— Reversible Reconquista?

Dear Gabacho: The grand parlour game! If we turn back the clock and changed a couple of things — if Austin, Houston and their fellow invading gabachos actually became Mexican citizens respecting the rule of the land instead of merely pretending to become so, if Mexico hadn’t suffered the theft of its lands or nearly gone bankrupt spending so much money in battling its ravenous neighbor to the north — would Mexico have been better off? The easy answer is si — more land in a country generally means more possibilities for development, and California’s 1849 Gold Rush (truly made the American Southwest the mecca it became for Americans) would’ve happened on Mexican soil, meaning Mexico would’ve been the beneficiary of all those prospecting migrants and subsequent worldwide attention.
Not having Texas secede from Mexico would’ve also hastened the demise of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Sure, his embarrassing defeat at the manos of the Texans forced him out of office, but he returned again and again. Santa Anna’s megalomania, left unchecked, would’ve inspired a true coup instead of many temporary ones.
And with no neocolonial ties left — with no debts to any European powers due to fighting so many wars, with no appropriating of natural resources and lands by American industrialists taking advantage of a weak country and with the United States itself weaker due to the lack of a Southwest and all of its subsequent treasures, Mexico would’ve been in a much stronger position to enter the Industrial Revolution and emerge a better, reformed land. Of course, it’s just a parlour game, just like Arizona Sen. John McCain blaming illegal Mexicans for starting devastating forest fires with no hard proof — except ours is responsible and fun, while his is just pendejo.

The Name Game

DEAR MEXICAN: I know many Mexican names translate to English: Michael is Miguel, Juan is John and so forth.
Mexican names seem rooted in the Bible in general (everyone knows a Mexican named Jesus with a best buddy named Gabriel right?). My name is Adam, and I don’t know what the Mexican version of Adam is. I think there isn’t one. Every time I order at a restaurant and the cashier is Mexican and they ask my name, I check the receipt and it’s wrong. They have a hard time pronouncing it, too. I’ve got receipts back before with Asham, Awarm, Alad, Aman, Aden.
Mexicans seem devoutly religious. Do they not read Genesis, or is there a mexicano version of Adam and Eve with different names?
— Gabacho Y Eva

Dear Gabacho: If you bothered to read the Spanish version of Genesis, you’d know “Adam” is Adan. Next!

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK

The American Immigration Council sounds like a creepy front group for Know Nothings, but it’s actually the nonprofit arm of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The AIC actively fights Know Nothings, honors immigrants and is publishing “Green Card Stories” in the fall, a beautiful book featuring the inspiring stories of immigrants who came to los Estados Unidos from across the globe. More information at americanimmigrationcouncil.org.

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