Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

As corporations move out of the U.S. (in order to make obscene profits paying Chinese laborers 40 cents an hour) and the deficit balloons, Americans are becoming increasingly angry.

That anger, instead of being focused on a party that is dismantling our nation, bankrupting us and killing our soldiers in a careless war, is being focused - as is what usually happens - against the weakest and most vulnerable of our nation. Today that population of people is Mexican-American immigrants.

I am fifty-five years old and I grew up with idea that Mexicans were, inherently, dirty. Whether due to their skin color or the fact that they become muddy from toiling in our fields, that "dirtiness" always implied more than color. "Dirty Mexican" was always said so that I knew they were, inherently, criminal and morally inferior.

However we got that image embedded within us (and I think it was largely through television sterotypes) it is obvious this idea of "inherent" criminality is what many people still harbor as they toss about the term "illegal alien."

It is ironic that at a time when Americans themselves have overtly shown the world their own shadow and their ability to act in criminal and morally reprehensible ways - by rushing into the war in Iraq, arguing in favor of torture, ignoring or even cheering on the killing of Muslims and the suffering in Iraq - there is a call to label those who come here for a better life as criminals and felons.

We always project our sins on others. It is the way of spirit, the way of the world. As Rumi says, ""This world is a mountain. What we do is a shout. The echo comes back to us."

So - we are not willing to turn our judgment against ourselves and apologize for invading Iraq. We are not willing to apologize for being 5% of the world's population yet using 90% of the world's resources. We are not willing to tackle corporate welfare or misdeeds or the fact that we allow exploitation of every kind in third world countries under the holy name of "profit."

No - we can't even see we have done wrong in these instances - preferring to read about Paris Hilton instead of U.S. policy. Yet we know something is wrong - many things are wrong. So what do we do? We will take the easy route: persecute and shame the immigrants who toil in this country doing jobs American-born citizens will not take on.

Instead of persecution, instead of blaming all our ills on people who have come here to contribute and make a solid life, the true Christian would consider making amends for what is going on.

To that end, I give you a prayer to make amends to all Mexican-Americans for all past - and present - hate-mongering and abuse.

God gave the earth, the land, the sky to all of us. We are the ones who build the fences and shut others out.

May 5 - I Make Amends To Mexican-Americans

Dear God,

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday for Mexican-Americans,
A celebration of triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.

It is a touchstone for a people who have, for centuries, been held down through thoughts of prejudice about them, their talents and intentions.

These thoughts still exist today, Lord, and I know what they are,
For, to have heard the slanders, is to have them within me.

By Your Grace, I demand a miracle:

These prejudices have no effect.

In that place of Spirit, in which there is no space and no time,
I stand and apologize.

I apologize for the prejudices that have been harbored.
I apologize for centuries of abuse.
And I take responsibility for the results:
Poor education, poverty and lack of hope.

All problems arise from lack of love, Lord,
And I have not loved as well as I can.

To everyone who has been oppressed I say:

I am sorry, deeply and profoundly sorry for my contribution.

I now make amends.

You guide me in making amends over the course of my life
As You cleanse the world of all effects of prejudice
And guide me in truth, compassion and justice.

And so it is.


Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee. Luke 19:22

He that ruleth over men must be just. 2 Samuel 23:3


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