Last year, South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol in Columbia. The June 17 massacre of nine African Americans in a Charleston church launched efforts to take down the banner, which evoked racism, segregation and the 1861-1864 war between the states. Last July, when South Carolina lowered the Confederate banner for the last time, the crowd responded with chants of “USA! USA!” During the 2016 presidential campaign, a different flag issue is coming to the fore.
Violent anti-Trump protesters have been waving the flag of Mexico. The Mexican flag was on display in southern California last week, where one protest featured a child holding a sign reading “Make America Mexico Again.” Such fervor prompted a column from Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee. He argues that, aside from one public ceremony in Sacramento, “the Mexican flag has no place in American politics, and it’s disturbing to see it popping up with increasing regularity.” This is hardly a new development.
When Californians vote on issues such as English as the state’s official language (Proposition 63, 1986); benefits for undocumented immigrants (Proposition 187, 1994); racial preferences in college admissions (Proposition 209, 1996) and bilingual education (Proposition 227, 1998) Mexican flags suddenly appeared by the thousands. This reflects the tenaciously held belief that California somehow remains part of Mexico, and that Mexicans are only coming to what amounts to their own country. They are therefore entitled to education, medical care, drivers’ licenses, welfare, and in-state college tuition. Politicians give tacit assent to this package.
Vice President Joe Biden explains that illegal immigrants are “already Americans.” In her recent book Hard Choices, Democratic presidential frontrunner and former First Lady Hillary Clinton helpfully explains, “after all, much of the southwestern part of the United States was part of Mexico.” So little wonder that Mexicans stream across the border, with additional encouragement from “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco. There Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi welcomed even violent felons such as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national and five-time deportee accused of gunning down Kathryn Steinle. In similar style, in 2014 two Sacramento County police officers fell victim to Mexican national and repeat deportee Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes, who said in court, “I killed them cops.”
Instead of restricting sanctuary cities, California politicians are more concerned with driving old Dixie down. A bill by Orinda Democrat Steve Glazer removes the names of Confederates such as Robert E. Lee from schools, public buildings and such. If politicians are in the mood for purges, they can find more fertile ground in Spanish colonialism.
Spanish colonialism was built on the enslavement of the native peoples they conquered. Under the encomienda system, native peoples were part of the land grants the conquistadores gave to Spanish settlers. The native peoples were required to work for the encomenderos, who considered them property. The white Spanish imperialists were also unabashed racists who exploited slaves from western Africa for mining and agriculture.
California’s chain of religious missions is the direct legacy of Spanish colonialism, as are city names such as San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara and many others. By the standards of the historical purge crew, these are due for some fundamental change. Los Angeles could become Mickey Mouse City and San Diego the Navy Base City. San Francisco could opt for “The City,” as residents call it now, or “Sanctuary City.” In all this fervor, the politically correct have lost sight of some historical realities.
The Confederate States of America lost the war of 1861-1865 to the United States of America, so it seems entirely fitting to take down the Confederate battle flag. On the other hand, 168 years ago, a full 15 years before the Civil War, when the Ottoman Empire, Austrian Empire, and Prussia were major players, the United States of America fought a war with Mexico. Whatever the causes of that 1846-1848 conflict, the USA won and Mexico lost. Mexico duly signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Mexican flag no longer flew over California and much of the southwestern United States. The rest should be history, but it isn’t.
“Donald Trump isn’t running for president of Mexico,” cautions Marcos Breton, but that’s how a violent faction of the Left sees it. The Mexican flag is their battle flag, and we will be seeing it more and more as November approaches.
Meanwhile, nobody is waving Prussian flags and yelling for “Prussian Power.” Nobody is posing children with banners reading “Make Italy the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Again.” But the Left wants America to be Mexico Again.