The more that I delve into old books about Mexico the more I feel like we are caught in some kind of time warp where things never change. The people change by living and dying, of course, but the culture either doesn't change or it changes ever so slowly. Today I was reading an interesting but literally disintegrating old book called “Exciting Experiences in our War with Mexico” by Marshall Everett published in 1914. It documented the U.S. Intervention during the time of the Mexican Revolution and the landing of U.S. Troops at Veracruz. There is one chapter that sounds so familiar that it almost could have been written by an expatriate American blogger in recent times. Here are some excerpts:
Chapter XVII – Why Mexicans Dislike Americans
“There is no disguising the fact that Mexicans do not like Americans. This is particularly true of the educated class which has most to lose from possible outside interference with the tenure of their land. The Latin is by nature ceremonious. The Anglo-Saxon is by nature abrupt. The two manners do not assimilate and the natures of the two peoples are as different as their manners.”
“A good many Americans who have gone into Mexico with the avowed object of showing the Mexicans how to run a country, how to develop the resources of Mexico, and how to establish a stable government, are not of the type most flattering to the nation they represent, and many of them fail in their private enterprises, a matter of no heartfelt sorrow on the part of the Mexican.”
“The only successes made by Americans in Mexico have been made as a result of consideration for Mexican habits and customs which are as fixed and immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians. At least it is certain that they cannot be changed in a day or a year or even a century."
(Bob's note: The Medes and Persians who were the ancestors of the present day Iranians had some of the earliest laws know to exist and they were strict and unchangeable. The Biblical Daniel's respectful defiance of a law of the Medes and Persians is what that got him thrown into the lions' den).
“The American's effort to reform everything he comes in contact with is a constant source of complaint against the inhabitants of the Northern republic.”
“The American as well as the Englishman and German are considered by Mexicans to be lacking in the ordinary observances of polite society. The Mexicans delight in metaphor. The American believes in going straight to the point. The Mexicans delight in composing graceful sentences. The American is blunt.”
"The loss of Texas was a hard blow to Mexico and the United States is blamed for that without a possibility of any change in this conviction of American guilt."
“The Mexican say that we took advantage of the difficulties of Mexico in the war of 1847 and conquered her because at the time she was divided against herself.”
“Throughout the republic it is believed that America covets Lower California and is only deterred from a campaign of invasion through fear of foreign complications. Throughout the length and breadth of the Mexican Republic belief is rampant that Americans are exploiting them and their country. They do not take kindly to the ownership of so many of their sources of wealth by American capitalists."
Now I must admit, when I first came to Mexico in January of 1999 I thought, “Well this isn't so bad. It wouldn't take long to put this place in good shape”. I am now embarrassed that I ever thought that way. I am now almost perfectly content with Mexico just the way it is...I say “almost”. There a still just a few little itches that I would like to scratch. I can't help it. I'm an American.
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