TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
Texas Hotels
  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"


by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
It's easy to tell an election is coming in the U.S., because here we go again with the border situation, better known as the "Let's build a fence to keep them out" game. If U.S. politicians were really worried about illegals crossing over, they'd talk about it all the time, instead of just in election years. Besides, if the politicians really wanted to keep illegals out of the country, who would pick their lettuce, clean their houses, and mind their kids?

What are North Americans afraid of? Are we afraid someone will come along and take our country from us the way we took it from the Indians and the Mexicans? Are we judging everyone else by our own past deeds? If that is the case, we had better change our thinking. So many countries are angry with us at this time, we could really use a friend.

Politicians are using the media to breed hatred and fear in U.S. citizens against a gentle and kindly people they refer to as "aliens" and "illegals." They would not do so if those same people could vote for them. Goodbye ethics, so long honor.

Mexicans are not the drug-pushing, bribe-taking, knife-wielding banditos the U.S. media writes about. It would be nice if U.S. citizens would spend the same amount of time studying about Mexico and her people as we do trying to understand middle eastern culture. The joke is on us if oil is really what the war on Iraq is all about. What do we think Mexicans put in their gas tanks, tacos? We don't see Mexico groveling at the feet of the Arab nations; Mexico has its own oil.

At this writing, six of the top ten books on the New York Times Best Seller non-fiction list are about Iraq and/or terrorist nations. One is about "unchecked immigration." None is about what the Mexican people are really like. Most U.S. citizens do not even know that Mexico declared war on the evil Axis in World War II as a show of support toward its northern neighbor. For this act of overwhelming friendship, what do we do? We build a fence.

If North Americans would take the time to research their friendly neighbors to the south, we might learn something useful. What are Mexicans really like?

Mexicans are like economically prudent Tomás, who oversaw the painting of the village church in anticipation of a visit from the Bishop of Guadalajara. The side and rear walls remained as before, faded and peeling. Tomás shrugged. "Why waste pesos on paint for four walls, Señora, when the Bishop will see only the one in front?"

Mexicans are like Josefina, a housekeeper, and her husband, Enriquez, a gardener. Not since Lana Turner's fallen lipstick rolled across the floor stopping at the feet of newly arrived drifter, John Garfield, in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," has there been anything as romantic as their 27th wedding anniversary. Three crisply-dressed mustachioed men in sombreros entered their tiny yard, deftly plucking their guitar strings. As they serenaded Josefina by lustily singing "Cielito Lindo" and "Mi Secreto Amor," Enriquez, dressed in stiff black shirt and trousers ironed to a shiny black, silver belt buckle glinting in the moonlight, shyly crept out from behind them. In his hand he clutched one magnificent red rose. He pushed it forward toward a blushing Josefina.

No naked film stars writhing about on a movie screen can equal that scene for romance.

Mexicans are like Carlos Faustino, who fought beside American airmen in the Pacific Theater and was a member of the elite "Esquadron Aereo de Caza 201," also known as the Fighting 201st.

The 201st Fighter Squadron, a select group of 35 Mexican officers and 300 enlisted men, were trained in Mexico, then given additional flight training as P-47 fighter squadron at Pocatello Army Air Base in Idaho. They were then attached to the 58th Fighter Group in the Philippines where they began combat operations. They wiped out machine gun nests, dropped 181 tons of bombs and fired 153,000 rounds of ammunition, acquitting themselves well and bravely. Seven of their pilots were killed in action.

Mexicans are like Lupita, who refused to go out with a boy newly returned from visiting cousins in Los Angeles because he was sporting baggy gang clothes. In order to win a date with Lupita, the boy had to burn those clothes and dress properly in dark trousers, a white shirt, and a tie.

It is people like Tomas, Josefina, Enriquez, Carlos, and Lupita who might cross the border looking for work. They do not live on welfare, they are proud to work.

We should not build a fence to keep them out, we should build a bridge to let them in.

America -- it just doesn't get it. It's up to us to give it to them.

Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus" >
October 7 , 2006 column
Email: maggie@maggievanostrand.com

See Mexico
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast

Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos


Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: October 7, 2006