DEAR MEXICAN: Cabrón, the Mexican flag. Tell your pals that every time they wave it, that’s 5,000 more votes for Trump.
DEAR GABACHO: Waving the Mexican flag isn’t just a shout out to our ethnic heritage, but it’s also a blatant reminder of the failings of this country toward comprehensive immigration reform. Because if there’s anyone to blame for the Mexican-flag flap, it’s conservatives. As I’ve been saying for more than a decade in this pinche columna, Mexicans assimilate into America, yet many Americans don’t want to believe it and want to do anything possible to stop it. Talk to those kids waving the bandera, and their culture is wholly American, from their language to steez to music to their upbringing—their everything. But when you have morons calling their parents and elder relatives rapists and murderers, calling young Mexican-Americans unworthy of the U.S., and wanting 11 million undocumented folks deported, wrapping themselves in the Mexican flag is a righteous chinga tu madre to the white supremacy that wants them gone. (And yes, Virginia, Trump-supporting minorities can subscribe to white supremacy, too—know your decolonial imaginary!)
Waving the Mexican flag during rallies isn’t sedition; it’s a bold affirmation that aquí estamos, y no nos vamos—this generation’s “We Shall Not Be Moved,” except it rhymes. And it’s a reminder that Mexicans simultaneously fully conform and buck American immigration trends. Notice how the red-white-and-green only pops up during times of protests or celebration, when we’re expected to “act” Mexican; during the rest of the year, the Mexican flag is mostly out of sight, out of mind as Mexicans seamlessly return to the trappings of American life until the next protest. Besides, what else are these young people supposed to wave at this point? They could wear the Stars and Stripes, even the Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag, and it wouldn’t change the hearts and minds of the true haters—so might as well unfurl the Aztec eagle to antagonize them more, you know?
And waving the Mexican flag doesn’t ruin la causa or push more people into the Trump camp—far from it. For decades, there has been a push-and-pull between the accommodationist segment of the Latino community and the radicals. The former’s mantra—slow and steady and Democrat—rarely gets anything accomplished beyond getting centrists elected and former MEChA-istas in cabinet positions. The best example of this happened during the past decade’s DREAMer years, when undocumented college students were asked to basically serve as photo props for so-called Latino leaders. Those DREAMers eventually started launching direct actions against vendidas such as Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who infamously didn’t put her name to a congressional bill supporting the DREAM Act until two undocumented activists lost their lives. It’s radical pushes such as that and brandishing the flag of a foreign nation that’s the needed fuel for activist fire in the face of conservative lunatics and liberal wusses. Scaring away the middle? Anyone so easily swayed by the choice of a piece of cloth that they’ll wish a Trump on this country ain’t an ally you want.
But that’s the best part about waving the Mexican flag at rallies: we can because—to paraphrase Mexico’s favorite philosopher, Morrissey—we’ve got Mexican blood and an American heart. We ain’t no fifth column, folks; we’re the pinche foundation that represents the last, best hope against the Trump monster. And we’re ready to let our freak—and Mexican, American and Bob Marley—flags fly at the ballot box and beyond.