Wednesday, August 30, 2017

EXTRA: Are Mexicans more ‘real American’ in nature than U.S.?

From a version of the “Star-Spangled Banner” sung in English by a full-fledged Mexican mariachi musician to a version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” sung en Espanol, there were times when the “Mexico en el Corazon” program performed Wednesday at Millenium Park seemed intent on portraying the image of people of Mexican ethnic origins being “good Americans.”
Could the Chicago-based Mariachi Herencia de Mexico have put Patsy Cline to shame? Photographs by Gregory Tejeda

The three-hour program in the Pritzker Pavilion provided several acts to perform music and dance native to the state of Jalisco, and more specifically the city of Guadalajara (which by the way is the region where my maternal grandfather was born more than a century ago).

ALTHOUGH I HAVE to admit to getting my kick from seeing the Mariachi Herencia de Mexico – which is actually a Chicago-based act. The Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods, to be exact.

In fact, it was they who included among their portion of the program a cover in English of the song “Crazy,” written by Willie Nelson and made most famous by country & western singer Patsy Cline.

To which the lady mariachi who sang the song said that it was, “proof that a mariachi band is capable of performing anything.”
A decent crowd at the Pritzker Pavilion
And her most definitely unaccented take on the song, which gained a round of applause from the heavily-Latino crowd with a few Anglo faces mixed in that packed the Pritzker Pavilion, was intense enough that it may well have caused even some hard-hearted cowboy-types in 10-gallon hats to cry into their beers.

ALL OF WHICH made me wonder about the state of relations in this Age of Trump – in which the incumbent president seems determined to use the growing Mexican-American population of this country as his personal punching bag by over-emphasizing their "other world" nature.
A taste of Guadalajara in the shadows of the Chicago skyline
Yet hearing these touches of country and folk mixed into the Mexican ethnic program made me wonder if Trump’s real problem is that his efforts to “Make America Great Again” were focused on the wrong people in our society.

Particularly since the message was often provided throughout of the ties between the two nations and the need to work together. None of the isolationist rant that our president is trying to spew at every turn, and that we're likely to hear kicked into gear in overtime in reaction to the San Antonio, Texas-based federal judge (of Mexican-American origins himself) who issued a ruling Wednesday that stopped state attempts to bring a halt to the concept of sanctuary cities.

Maybe all those Mexican-Americans (whom comedian Cheech Marin once famously sang “don’t like to get into gang fights, they love flowers and music, and white girls named Debbie too”) have a better idea of what a “real” American is – moreso than the nativist element of our society that wants to believe their day has arrived.


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