Three men, standing at the Mexican border, looking south:
Man #1: Mexico Lindo.
Man #2: I don’t see nothin’ so ‘lindo’ about it.
Man #3: Just looks like more of Texas to me.
Man #1: You have no eyes!
(Iconic lines from a film, anyone want to guess which one?)
It’s an interesting history, for by the time the first settlers dropped anchor at Jamestown in 1607, all of South America, Central America, Mexico and what is now the southeast United States, as far north as South Carolina, had come under the dominion of Spain and Portugal. Mexico was first, when Hernan Cortes subdued the Aztec king in 1519. Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, all the way down to Argentina soon followed. Brasil was captured by Portuguese which only made a difference in the tongue that would be the national language and the customs that would be adopted in their civil administration.
All of South America was Spanish for all intents and purposes.
And all of this territory was under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Catholic Church.
This is significant for a pecking order had emerged in the early Church that next to Rome, where Peter was crucified, the English, Spanish and French churches were ranked in order of firsts; England, interesting enough because the first above-ground church was built there in the 1st Century, by none other than Joseph of Arimathea, so legend says. France came next because it was where Mary Magadalene purportedly built her church, near Marseilles. And third, Spain, where St James is said to have been buried, although he is also purported to be buried (at least his head) in the Armenian Church in Jerusalem after being beheaded by Herod Agrippa. (I know its confusing, and that is exactly what makes the 1st Century so interesting…you can’t come up with conclusive evidence about anything, yet you still know many definitive, historical things had to have happened.)
So none of these stories can be confirmed by eyewitness accounts, but no matter, at the time of the infusion of English Protestants onto our part of North America there was a French colonial empire, under the auspices of the French Church to its north (Canada) and the Spanish Church to its south, from the Rio Grande to the tip of the continent.
Both empires were headed by hereditary kings who on their face were extremely pious, with a Church prelate at their left hand steering virtually every decision, such as the 1588 assault by the Armada of Phillip II, against Elizabeth II, for the specific purpose of restoring the Church and driving out the Protestant heretics, …some of whom, 20 years later, would begin to settle on what are now American shores.
For ten generations before, and ten generations afterwards, these Spanish kings never gave a second thought to the general condition…health, diet, education, comfort…of the people they ruled over, despite Rules set down by the very Christ they worshipped, such as the Golden one, Mark 12:31.
Where were their priests, who had been holding their hands for close to 600 years?
Empire was a political system of power that the Iberians brought to the Americas south of the Rio Grande, and it consisted of a top layer of grandees and royals, their armies and their factotums, and their lower layer of 90% or so of peons, or, as they had been known in the rest of feudal Europe, serfs who tilled the soil.
This was also 600 years ago!
The Mexicans and other Sur Americanos called them “peons”. If you saw the film “The Magnificent Seven” about the 1880s, those Mexican farmers were “peons”, or as the bandit of that film, Calvera, said. “If God had not intended them to be sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”
The Church’s principal role was not to guide the royals but to legitimize their conquests with blessings and once their parishioners had been locked onto the land, then hold their hands on their way to an early grave as sort of a consolation prize for having been baptized before dying. When the principal Algonquin tribe died out after about a century of French depredations in Canada, one of the Jesuits priests, in “Jesuit Relations” in the 1600s, after detailing the disease and suffering of the tribe, went onto to say that (my words) “at least they’d been converted and died in the arms of God”. (I read this 45 years ago, and it al stuck with me.)
While Latin governments have changed since Simon Bolivar ran Spain out of most of South America in the early 1800s, the role of the Spanish Church as an extension of the State has not changed.
Nor have the general character of how the Spanish saw governance, nor the general attitudes by the educated class and political class toward the working classes, who are still “peons”, a pejorative that ranks right up there next to our “n” word from the 1950’s. Whatever happens to peons of no relevance.
These attitudes about the lower classes have not changed in twenty generations.
Nor are they likely ever to.
Their economies improve, but only to a point. Then they change, by corruption, then revolucion. The political class of oil-rich Mexico is almost totally corrupt, leaving those who are not as targets for organized crime and the cartels. It follows a pattern.
First there was Argentina, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33i_BAhuiE0, which in 1903 was the third largest economy in the world. Then there was oil-rich Venezuela, and soon, Mexico. Fascist or Marxist, the ground floor of their ideology of power is the meaningless of their citizens.
For a long time those who escaped and came north were poor, and indeed, in the expected three generations, became fine Americanos, with all their baggage acquired here.
Today few, even among the poor coming north, actually meet Emma Lazarus’ standards of people striving to be free. Along the long march north they learn other reasons to be in America. They mostly come at the behest of middlemen with other agenda, from crime to politics.
Just as the Qu’ran as currently taught is incompatible with our Constitution and basic American values, perhaps we should shut our borders down to Latin Americans, perhaps for 20-30 years until they can change their attitudes about human dignity and freedom, and respect for the Rule of Law.
I do not want to do for others as they are conspiring to do unto us.