The President's love affair with Mexico
0 comment Friday, November 7, 2014 |
There has been longstanding speculation among many people, who don't understand George W. Bush's fondness for Mexico and illegal immigration, on just why he holds his rather obsessive views.
So recently, over at VDare, I read with interest the Patrick Cleburne piece on George W. Bush's memories of growing up in Midland, Texas, and how his experiences gave him an understanding of and appreciation for Hispanics.
At the time, I viewed the President's account of life in Midland with considerable skepticism; it simply didn't jibe with my experience of West Texas. Now, I have never lived in Midland, but I have lived in West Texas, and the President and I are near the same age, so we both grew up in the same era.
So it was interesting to read this letter from a reader, posted at VDare, which challenged the President's account of life in Midland during the 50s and 60s:
A Native Of Midland Wonders About Dubya's Midland Memories
From: A Native Of Midland�And America
I was born in Midland, and lived there 3 different times�leaving for the last time at the age of 12 in 1966. My parents later went back for a 4th time.
My father was a petroleum engineer who was sent back to Midland during booms.
I simply don�t remember ever running into Hispanic people in Midland during the times I lived there. I do remember the Mexican migrants coming through to pick cotton when I lived in Winters, Texas (a few years before going back to Midland for the last time in 1963). I think that they were part of the Bracero program. They were pretty pitiful and the Anglo families did what they could to make sure that when the migrant kids came to school�they had enough to eat. (This was a little before that free lunch program came about)
Quite frankly, I don�t see how Bush, Jr. got much exposure to Hispanics in Midland. I don�t think there were enough of them to account for any significant interactions. Ditto for Houston. Oil took my daddy there during my High School days. I don�t remember knowing any in the overwhelmingly white suburbs of Houston.
My daddy was out on oil wells for 30 days at a time. From what I remember, the roughnecks were all white boys�the Scots-Irish version (which is why I doubt that part in the story which talks about Hispanics being in the Bush oil fields back then.)
I think that you are on to something about the Mexican oligarchs being the primary influence of Bush�s affinity for Hispanics�because it sure wasn�t that he went to elementary school with them. They weren�t in the white elementary schools in Midland�and I seriously doubt they were in that fancy school he went to in Houston.''
The anonymous reader's account tends to coincide with my own recollections of West Texas at that time.
I lived in a town in West Texas for a relatively brief period. Like the letter-writer, my father's work took us to West Texas. There were some Mexican kids in the schools I attended there, but they were, as this letter writer says, from migrant families who came and went. There were parallel societies, as I've said elsewhere on this blog: the Hispanic kids I went to school with tended to prefer the company of their own nationality. They were clannish. There was not really open hostility, but not much interaction on a social basis.
My own childhood experiences with Hispanics did not result in an infatuation with them and their culture, as the President's apparently did, but neither did my experience cause me to hate Hispanics. They were part of life in Texas, but they interacted rather minimally with the rest of us. My present feelings of ire are based on the fact that we are now being inundated and taken advantage of. And it is not easy to maintain friendly feelings or even neutral feelings towards people who display contempt for me and mine, and for this country, as many Hispanics now apparently feel emboldened to do.
It's always puzzling to note the different accounts of the same time and place as given by different people. I suppose no two individuals will have identical experiences, but sometimes you wonder how people can give such different accounts. Can it be that the President has rosy recollections of Hispanic people because of his family's live-in housekeeper/nanny? I suppose having a live-in domestic servant would give one greater familiarity with Hispanics than the experiences of people without live-in domestics. Most people in the Texas I grew up in did not have domestic servants, especially live-in ones.
I once read a quote from George W. Bush (which I can't find a link to) in which he said he was not a Southerner, but a Southwesterner. That is interesting; I don't know many people from Texas who would disavow their Southern identity. Some people claim that Texas is part of the 'Southwest' and I suppose it could be -- if you consider the Mississippi the dividing line between east and west. I don't. And historically and culturally, Texas is part of the South. Texas was part of the Confederate States of America, and the culture of Texas, the dialect, the folkways, the food, the Bible Belt influence -- are all Southern. Texas is part of Dixie. Most of us with roots in the state have Confederate ancestors, and a tradition of honoring the symbols of the Confederacy. Texas is Southern. Or at least it was until the demographics started to shift during recent decades. If George W. Bush has his way, Texas will again be an outpost of Mexico.
I've said before that the Bush family are not truly Texan. I think I shocked one of my readers when I called the family carpetbaggers, and I'm far from the first person to use that term. The Bushes have no historic ties to Texas or the South, and seemingly no allegiance thereto. The Bush family was not in Texas during the historic wars with Mexico; they have no family history of fallen kin at the Alamo or Goliad as some of us do. It's easy for New England transplants with no roots in Texas to have romanticized pictures of Mexican culture.
So Bush considers himself a 'Southwesterner' instead of a Southerner. What is the Southwest? Does it comprise California, Arizona, New Mexico? Utah? Nevada? All those states have a very different culture and outlook and history than Texas. The Southwestern states, to my mind, have much more historic Hispanic influence than Texas.
There is a revisionist tendency these days to imply that Texas has always been a half-Hispanic state, in terms of population and culture and cuisine. There is a popular and Politically Correct tendency to speak as if the Hispanic population of Texas is very intertwined with the 'Anglo'. People speak of 'Tex-Mex' music and cuisine, but these are fairly recent developments. There is also a popular misconception that Texas was once a full-fledged part of Mexico, with a flourishing Mexican population when the American settlers arrived there to colonize. This is false; the Mexican population of Texas was very small when the Americans arrived; the state was mostly populated by Indian tribes who had proved resistant to Mexican subjugation, and the American colonists were the only ones who succeeded in establishing lasting settlements there. So there was not a large Mexican population when my ancestors settled there. Even in my childhood, there was a much smaller Hispanic population in Texas than there is today, by far. Yet I suspect that many people, even in Texas, are beginning to accept the revisionist version of Texas history, and they believe that Mexicans have always been a big part of the population in Texas, if not the majority.
Maybe George W. Bush has glowing memories of Hispanic people based on his family's servants, and maybe he has convinced himself that he had many Hispanic classmates. Or maybe he is just telling nice PC fairytales in order to further his Hispanicizing agenda.
It was heartening, however, to read in Cleburne's article the reactions of actual residents of today's Midland, who in general don't agree with the President's love-in with Mexico, and his fondness for illegal immigrants.

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