Author: Judy

The Mexican is the American

The Mexican is the American

Letters to the Editor: A “short brown’ Oaxacan was Mexico’s greatest president. What say you, Nury Martinez?

Oaxaca May 7, 1999

Dear Nury,

I’m a white, Anglo-Saxon (whatever that means) man from the Midwest: in the world at least, the U.S. of A. has a right on the world stage and a right to be there — and I am happy to live on that world stage.

I don’t know if you’ve tried to cross the U.S. border in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Michigan, or Indiana… but you’re very likely to get killed. Not because we’re mean, but because the border is always, under any circumstances, a ‘dangerous’ place.

While it’s true that no one’s’really’ Mexican or’really’ American, I’m reminded of a saying, repeated often (“and other nations will be jealous”, from the Koran, for example) of someone who was born in England and then grew up in America: “America is the land of dreams. They will never change that.” It’s as true today as it was 100 years ago or more.

The ‘Mexican’, on the other hand, is as true as ever: he is born Mexican, he becomes Mexican, and, when he goes back to his country, he is Mexico.

I think we agree on this in the sense that it’s true: it would be terrible for me to see you go back to Mexico, and it would be terrible for me to see you go back to the U.S., at least in your country, where I shall live — I will be happy to live in your country if it’s true.

As for the U.S., don’t worry: I am a committed ‘American’; at least in spirit, if not in the flesh. I’m a citizen, I’m a ‘citizen’ of the U.S. (I have a birth certificate, for starters). I was a ‘citizen’ of my country

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