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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Of course, the first thing someone will tell you when you wish them a "Happy Cinco de Mayo" is, "Well, it's not Mexican Independence Day." or "It's not celebrated much in Mexico." Both statements are equally right and equally irrelevant.

Yes, I know that the source of the holiday is the Battle of Puebla and is celebrated in Mexico mainly in the state of Puebla, but that doesn't diminish the importance it has for the United States where it is a celebration of our Latina citizens.

Look at what the battle represents in terms of the history of European exploitation of America. The battle came about because the French were attempting to establish colonial occupation and control of Mexico. They figured, rightly at first, that the US was too occupied with the Civil War to oppose Napoleon III's attempt to build a French empire in Mexico. The Mexican army at Puebla managed to crush the French force even though the Mexicans were outnumbered two to one and were very poorly equipped for the battle. In other words, the natives whipped the outsiders.

It is, therefore, fitting in this country, where we make such a big deal of defeating those who wanted to continue to colonize us, that we celebrate this day. The Mexican defeat of the French is a fit analogy to our victory over the British. We should take great pride in the ability of a fellow American nation to throw off finally the yoke of an imperial power.

So way to go Mexico. And thanks to every citizen in this country of Hispanic descent in this nation.

E Pluribus Unam!

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