(I started writing yesterday but my rant got too long – had to go back and cut, cut, cut)
Yesterday the Pride of Laredo contest winner was announced. I am sure we are all familiar with 10 year old Isabella’s winning poster and slogan – Always a Reason to Celebrate in Laredo. It’s a little long but I like it :).
Oh yeah, the city of Laredo is the only prominent entity that incorrectly uses the controversial confederate battle flag instead of the official “Stars and Bars” of the Confederacy. Now a mixing up of the French flags is understandable since there wasn’t a specific one to fly over so you will see the blue French flag or the white flag with the fleur-de-lis but there is no mistaking the differences in confederate flags. You would have thought someone (aside from me) would have complained by now – pero ni vergüenza tiene la cuidad.
Of course, after today’s idiotic report about TxDot (Texas Department of Transportation) doing away with references to Nuevo Laredo on its freeway signs towards Laredo (link to KGNS story) in order to create a distance between the two cities – I am guessing Mayor Raul Salinas will be asking to remove the “Gateway to Mexico” you see on the letterhead too! I try to avoid being a complainer (ok, I don’t try hard enough), but it is the most ridiculous waste of money I have ever heard of! This is taxpayer money that pays for someone to climb up a ladder to block out “Nuevo Laredo” and the miles remaining to reach it. It will be taxpayer money to replace the entire sign. TxDot should worry more about its MISSPELLED signs instead of factual signs. It just seems like someone’s whim that has a big dollar impact – what happened to cutting back on unnecessary spending?? What next – will we be putting powder on our faces to really create that distinction with Mexico?? (…and yes, I know not all Mexicans are bronzed like this US citizen blogger is)
Wasn’t this also one of the origins (one of my favorite posts on past WBCA history) of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration – to be more “patriotic” and demarcate the US from Mexico even more? Hey, a parade and rich ladies in dresses that cost thousands of dollars to make does not change the fact that the majority of the residents of Laredo are still primarily of Mexican descent y te van a platicar del WBCA en español and yooohoooo… we are still “sister cities,” Los Dos Laredos. And now we have the Commissioner’s court wanting to celebrate veteran heroes which I have no issue with. But get this, the reason behind it is not so much because of the individuals who survived wars for us and acted heroically but because they want us to be “THE MOST PATRIOTIC IN THE NATION” (Quote from 3/29/11 Laredo Morning Times). Shove it down our throats, why don’t you. Yet, vets claims they were a no-show at one of the Vietnam Veteran functions (see podcast by LaSanbe or more recent story). Sorry, but my version of being patriotic would avoid the superficial and would focus on actually helping the homeless veterans with transitional housing, changing policy that keeps veterans below the poverty line and depending on food giveaways at the Volunteers Serving the Need program, or even simply celebrating veteran stories with an oral history project (FYI, there is one but it has too few volunteers).
And… patriotic would be to accept the reality that the closest city to us is Nuevo Laredo, that it is not so bad to be Americans with a whole lot of us of Mexican descent who know Washington & Pocahontas did not even come close to Laredo; and, definitely that the South is no longer in battle mode (the North won, dudes). If these other prominent entities can get the right flags up and a 10 year old can too, why can’t the city?? But don’t do it a trancasos with duct tape, save our taxpayer money for actually serving residents of this area and really giving us “a reason to celebrate.”