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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hector, Where's the Row? (A Political Rant)

A Houston high school principal was ordered yesterday to remove a Mexican flag he'd hoisted up the school's flagpole as a show of support for his protesting students. He has complied, although grudgingly.

"It is appropriate to fly the flags of the United States and Texas over schools in the Houston Independent School District, since we are a public entity of the state," a spokesman for HISD was reported saying. "It would not be appropriate for the school district to advocate allegiance to a country other than the United States."

I think this has been taken too far . . .

When living and working in Houston, I had the opportunity to meet and befriend several Mexican immigrants. One man, to this day, I tout as being one of the most courageous and selfless men I have ever met.

Hector worked in an aerospace factory making between $12-15/hour. He was well known for his desire and ability to work massive amounts of overtime. In fact, it was not unknown for Hector to work 70-80 hours a week doing whatever was desired of him -- from the dirtiest job to the quality inspection of the product.

Hector was also a very friendly and soft-spoken man. A husband and father of 5 children, he was dedicated to giving them every ounce of opportunity America had to offer his family. His children had college funds, decent clothes, a computer, a good-sized house and a very loving mother and father.

Hector was born in the United States, thus guaranteeing his citizenship, but his parents and siblings were not. When he was young, his father and older brothers would migrate through California following the crops in order to make money for the family. Hector told me stories of how he and his mother would hop freight trains to go into Mexico to visit his family during the working season.

Eventually, Hector was given the opportunity to go to an American high school after his parents settled in Texas. He then went on to college and was well on his way to being the first in his family to obtain a college degree when his girlfriend became pregnant. He dropped out of school, married her, and they have built a wonderful family since.

To many, Hector is a problem. To me, he was a Godsend.

And while Hector was proud of his culture and his heritage, I never once heard him even allude to the thought he was a Mexican first . . . or even second.

He was an American, a Texan, just like me.

We could always benefit from more people like Hector, and if that requires an Amnesty program -- so be it.

Texans are quite proud of what Mexican culture has contributed to our unique state. Texas, as a political entity, was really born of an attempt by the Mexican government to attract Americans to settle in Texas alongside Mexican counterparts to build the area.

When the movement for Texas independence began, it was originally a joint effort of native Mexicans and white immigrants seeking recognition from the Mexican government of Texas as a separate Mexican state with its own state government.

Our culture is indisputably comprised of both Mexican and American counterparts.

But we are, and always have been, Texans first. We are Americans as a political reality and because, for nearly 150 years we have benefited from what opportunities being a part of the United States has given us.

I was raised and taught of the importance of America as the "great melting pot."

Our strength is derived from the many contributions all of the different cultures have contributed.

And, yes, Americans can be a bit ego-centric when abroad. But I have yet to see an American storm the French parliament in an attempt to replace the French flag with our own.

I am tired of watching this group benefit from all the opportunities America has to offer, without a willingness to really contribute back to what made America great.

At that Houston high school, the students are defiant and refuse to give up the fight.

"Some Reagan students said they will try to raise a Mexican flag again today. They said they want it to fly at least above the Texas flag on the pole."

Now here is something quintessentially Texan:

You try to take down my flag in lieu of yours while I am around, and you will only succeed over my dead body.

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Anonymous Thinking Fool said...

Immigrants who come to this country with a desire to embrace the American culture should be welcomed with open arms. Those who don't want to learn our language and embrace our culture should seek residence elsewhere.

3/30/2006 9:55 PM  

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