Mexican Mayo Day

“Thus countenanced and stimulated, and largely supplied with arms and ammunition, which we left at convenient places on our side of the river to fall into their hands, the Liberals . . . were enabled in northern Mexico to place the affairs of the Republic on a substantial basis.”

General Philip Sheridan, Personal Memoirs  (1888)

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, the great American holiday between Earth Day and Juneteenth.  Some stick-in-the-muds say that Cinco de Mayo is a new American holiday, but it is unAmerican to make the mistake of Winston Smith and fail to keep our memories “satisfactorily under control.”

“Cinco de Mayo is an American Holiday: therefore Cinco de Mayo has always been an American holiday.  The holiday of the moment always represents American holiness, and it follows that any past or future disagreement with this holiness is unAmerican.”[1]

If your knowledge of Mexico goes beyond screwing a lime wedge into the neck of your Tecate bottle, you know that Cinco de Mayo represents the pride all Mexicans allegedly feel when they remember the victory of the Mexican army over French invaders on May 5, 1862.  You also know that very few Mexicans in Mexico actually remember, much less celebrate, the Battle of Puebla, and that this Battle of Puebla was a very small speed-bump on the French road to conquest.

But Cinco de Mayo has of late become the St. Patrick’s day of Mexicans residing in the United States, and I have no doubt it will soon join Juneteenth as a high holy day in the established religion of the American Empire.  To again quote Orwell, this time with perfect fidelity:

“If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, IT NEVER HAPPENED–that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death?”[2]

Or that IT HAPPENED when it didn’t.

CINCO DE MAYO

The ostensible argument in this article is that, by their victory in the Battle of Puebla, the Mexicans thwarted Maximillian’s plan to swap arms for cotton, and to thereby succor the Confederated Racists and keep American slaves in bondage.  One rather obvious flaw in this preposterous argument is that it is a little over 1,200 miles from Mexico City to Red River, the nearest theater in the American Civil War, the roads were atrocious to the point of nonexistence, the Gulf of Mexico was in the pocket of the Union Navy, and the Fall of Vicksburg would sever the Confederacy only one year after the Battle of Puebla, in 1863.

As it happens, Maximillian’s French army went on to conquer most of Mexico, did not arm the Confederated Racists, and began its withdrawal from Mexico when General Phillip Sheridan showed up on the Rio Grande with an army of 50,000 battle-hardened soldiers.  This (and my epigraph) is from the Memoirs of General Sheridan.

“Our appearance in such force along the border permitted the Liberal leaders . . . . to renewed resistance.  Beginning again with very scant means, for they had lost about all, the Liberals saw their cause, under the influence of such significant and powerful backing, progress and steadily grow so strong that within two years Imperialism had received its death-blow.  I doubt very much whether such results could have been achieved without the presence of an American army on the Rio Grande, which, be it remembered, was sent there because, in General Grant’s words, the French invasion was so closely related to the rebellion as to be essentially part of it.”[3]

* * * * *

Sheridan was a bigot and a bruit, so he saw the world through the ideological frame of Liberalism and Imperialism.  Viewed more realistically, the French invasion of Mexico took advantage of the temporary inability of the U.S. Federal government to enforce the Monroe Doctrine.  Stated somewhat differently, the French were emboldened to invade Mexico because the American Empire was preoccupied by its internal crisis; and the French would no doubt have held Mexico (probably to the advantage of ordinary Mexicans) if that crisis had cracked the American Empire in two.

But the American Empire reconstructed itself, the French went home, and the Mexicans went back to their cycle of dictatorships, rebellions and revolutions.

It would therefore be far more accurate to say Mexico was saved at the Battle of Gettysburg than it is to say that the United States was saved at the Battle of Puebla.  But the second story is far more useful as a myth for today’s American Empire.  I therefore predict that this myth will grow and prosper, and that our grandchildren will be taught that it was Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla, no less than Yankees at the Battle of Gettysburg, who preserved the Union and freed the slaves.

“If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say IT HAPPENED—that, surely . . .”

Tecate anyone?  Here’s the lime!


[1]) Edited quote from George Orwell, 1984 (1948), chap. 3.

[2]) Actual quote from George Orwell, 1984 (1948), chap. 3.

[3]) Philip Henry Sheridan, Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan, General, United States Army, two vols. (New York: C.L. Webster & Co, 1888), vol. 2, p. 228.  The quote in my epigraph is on pp. 216-217.

10 thoughts on “Mexican Mayo Day

    • Juneteenth was until very recently an excuse to drink beer, eat ribs and hang out with the family. That is what it remains for almost everyone who celebrates the holiday. But something is afoot when the priestly caste begins to amplify or alter the meaning of these events. Just ask the Italians about their Columbus Day.

      • Ironically, Columbus Day was the Italian-Americans’ attempt to weave themselves into the American historical fabric. Sorry Italians; turns out you’re just white.

  1. Preserving the “union” destroyed the US. It led to all the problems of today, which are faggot yankees imposing their faggot transexuality on the south.

  2. Wait, I need a reason to drink beer and eat fajita other than the virtues that inhere in beer and fajita?

    As for margaritas, not for me: headache city, and they take up room that could otherwise be allocated to beer and fajita.

    The more I suffer of Mexican culture, the more I like it. Cuisine is a key to sacrificial culture, and so to commensality, to table fellowship, and thus to common cause. As an American, I should feel far more at home and welcome at a festival of Mexican food, than of Asian or African or even Middle Eastern (Greek is at the same degree of commensal familiarity and welcome as Mexican). This I say, in full recognition of my total delight in Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese cuisine.

    My happy welcome to an advent of Mexican food might of course be due in part to my many long peripateses in the American Southwest, of fond memory. A Nutmegger at my birth, I know that few of my national fellows could feel the same way as I. They’ve never awakened in the High Sonoran desert of Arizona or Utah, forsooth, and then anticipated a hearty solid breakfast of huevos rancheros with chili sauce.

    I am here counting Italian and French as fully sub-American cuisines. German, too. Mexican is right in there.

    • Commensality is an odd word because it is used, I think properly, with opposite meanings. It literally means “eat together” and in animal husbandry denotes animals, such as horses and cows, that will eat together in the same pasture and not fight. In anthropology commensality normally means a group that eats together exclusively, and therefore refuses hospitality to and from other groups. So commensality comes to be used with the opposite meanings of sharing and not sharing food. Commensality is usually tied to food taboos that make it impossible to dine with the outgrip. Commensality and endogamy are, together, the key to group survival, since the former prevents social assimilation and the later prevents sexual assimilation. The casts of India and the Jews are the outstanding examples of groups that survive through commensality, endogamy, and exclusive religions.

    • The food is great. The ritualized killings, tax consumption, bastardy, and general laxity not so much.

      I am here counting Italian and French as fully sub-American cuisines. German, too. Mexican is right in there.

      Yes, life in the Empire. The problem with empires is that, so far, they’ve all eventually devolved into their constituent nations. The US surviving in its current form would be a remarkable and historically unprecedented exception.

      • Apart from the ubiquitous french fry, ordinary American cuisine is not much affected by French cooking. The Italian impact is massive, but also very recent. Americans didn’t eat pizza until after the Second World War, and not until long after in many sections. Hamburgers, Frankfurters and Weiners show up around 1900 and spread rapidly because they are suited to the American habit of eating alone and on the run. I grew up in the northeast and the first Mexican food–a joint called Meeester Taco–opened in the late 1970’s. Reading old newspapers here in Texas, it looks as if only Mexicans ate Mexican food until about the same time. My grandmothers cooked in an older American style–the “meat and potatoes” meals that it became popular to ridicule in the 1960’s.

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