Would Mexico Have Been Better Off if the American Southwest Remained Part of Mexico?
DEAR MEXICAN: Just suppose that all of the southwestern United States had remained in Mexico's hands. Would the Mexicans have done any better with it than they have with the present confines of Mexico?
DEAR GABACHO: The gran parlor game! If we turn back the clock and change 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 do so, if Mexico hadn't suffered the theft of its lands and 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 sí—more land in a country generally means more possibilities for development, and California's 1849 Gold Rush (which 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 López de Santa Anna: Sure, his embarrassing defeat at the manos of the Texans forced him out of office, but he returned again and again. Left unchecked, Santa Anna's megalomania would've inspired a true coup instead of many temporary ones.
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 parlor game, just like Arizona Senator 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.
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 Jesús with a best buddy named Gabriel, right? My name is Adam, and I don't know what the Mexican version of Adam is. I don't think there is one. Every time I order at a restaurant where 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 gotten back receipts with my name spelled 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 Adán. Next!
GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK: The American Immigration Council (AIC) sounds like a creepy front group for Know Nothings, but it's actually the nonprofit arm of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, whose members do the Lord's work by helping migrants from across the world enter this great land. The AIC actively fights Know Nothings, honors immigrants year-round, and is publishing in the fall Green Card Stories, a beautiful book featuring the inspiring stories of immigrants who came to los Estados Unidos from across the globe. Find more information on these mensches at americanimmigrationcouncil.org.
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