View from Lodi, CA: MEchA And Memorial Day
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On May 12th, the Lodi News-Sentinel published Julio Hernandez's letter titled "Responding to Guzzardi."

Hernandez, who identified himself as a Tokay High School teacher, exhorted me to "be a man" and "to tell it like it is" regarding my "hidden agenda." Hernandez chided me not "to hide behind a children's program." and to cease and desist on my "hateful" and "prejudiced propaganda" regarding immigration.

In accordance with Hernandez's very clear wishes, in this column I will come clean —on everything.

First, let me provide you with a little history. Hernandez wrote a letter to the News-Sentinel about one year ago similar in tone and content to his of May 12th. Two days before Hernandez's 2002 letter, the News-Sentinel published another letter highly critical of me—this one written by Rosa Maria Casillas—who is also a Tokay High teacher.

The same pattern occurred two weeks ago—a Casillas letter followed within a day or two by a Hernandez letter.

Casual News-Sentinel readers might assume that Hernandez and Casillas are two local Hispanics concerned about perceived slights against Mexicans.

Actually, the disingenuous Hernandez and Casillas are man and wife.

And they have much more than a passing interest in people like me who promote assimilation.

Casillas and Hernandez are the current and former Tokay High faculty advisors to Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan) or MEChA, as it is more commonly known.

I knew all of this last year. And I considered responding then. But I let their personal attacks go without comment because I thought them juvenile and shallow. And I further thought that to slur a fellow Lodi Unified School District teacher in the local newspaper is in exceptionally poor taste.

They could have, after all, aired their concerns in an e-mail or dropped me a note in the inter-district mail.

Or they could have invited me to visit them on the Tokay High campus—a stone's throw from my home.

But Casillas and Hernandez aren't interested in talking to me. They prefer to talk about me.

So as you read on, remember that Hernandez insisted upon a reply. And remember too that he chose the Lodi News-Sentinel as his forum.

I laughed when Hernandez demanded I reveal my "hidden agenda" because he— as a former faculty advisor to MEChA—has been so circumspect about his own politics.

If you don't know about MEChA, then pull up a chair and stay awhile. You will be shocked.

Briefly stated, MEChA supports "la reconquista" of Aztlan, known to you as the American Southwest. In other words, MEChA wants Mexico to "reclaim" California, Arizona, Texas and other southwestern states.

Read the MEChA Preamble taken directly from its Constitution:

"Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlan must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan."

The MEChA motto is "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada" "Everything for the Race - Nothing outside the Race."

MEChA's symbol is an eagle with its wings spread, bearing a macahuittle [VDARE.COM note: A macahuitl is a two-handed wooden broadsword edged with razor-sharp flint or obsidian, as used by Mexican Indians against the conquistadors] in one claw and a dynamite stick in the other with the lighted fuse in its beak.

Almost every California university campus and most high schools—including Tokay, Lodi and Bear Creek High Schools—have active MEChA chapters that promote separatism and anti-American sentiment. Your tax dollars support, in part, MEChA.

At the beginning of my column, I promised you (and Hernandez) that I would discuss my "real" agenda.

Here it is:

  • I believe in obeying U.S. laws—all of the laws, not just the ones that are convenient for me.

  • I believe the letter of the law should be followed even if it may interfere with my personal political objectives. The place for dissent is the voting booth.

  • I believe that everyone who comes to America—and all come of their own free will—should promote U.S. culture and language.

  • I believe that the U.S. is the world's most generous nation regarding immigration and immigrants.

  • I believe that mature adults can disagree without name calling and baiting.

  • I believe that on Memorial Day weekend all of us who have benefited and prospered in the U. S. should pause and reflect about the sacrifices made by so many to make America so great.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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