The immigration debate has gotten increasingly contentious in recent months, especially with the signing of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 into law. At times the discussion has become juvenile such as Cardinal Roger Mahoney comparing the law with Nazism and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer claiming that “most” undocumented immigrants are “drug mules.” Unfortunately this disrespectful rhetoric has even pervaded one local veterans group.
Members of Arizona's largest American Legion Post in Apache Junction voted to bar the group’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Of the 26 veterans involved in the vote only one- ex-Army corporal Harry Robert Warren- voted against the measure. As Warren told one local news source, the decision was "retaliation" against the demonstrations by some Latino groups in protest of SB 1070. "It brings animosity between the different races," added Warren who hopes that the decision can be put up for a new vote in a few months.
“It caught me by total surprise,” mentioned Post Commander Felix Gonzalez to The Arizona Republic in response to the group’s vote. Additionally:
Gonzalez, the son of a Mexican-American father and mother with Spanish roots, said he was powerless to block or postpone a vote, despite his position as the Post's top administrative official.Though Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican national holiday it is observed in several regions. Furthermore, the day commemorates Mexico’s military victory over France in the Battle of Puebla and may have prevented major French help of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.
The official reason given for the vote was that because Mexico does not celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a national holiday, there is no reason for the Post to celebrate it, Gonzalez said.
Image- San Francisco Sentinel
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Huffington Post, USA TODAY, CNN, abc15.com, The Arizona Republic, Wikipedia