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Wave your bandera with pride

Ask a Mexican

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Dear Mexican: Cabrón, the Mexican flag. Tell your pals that every time they wave it, that's 5,000 more votes for Trump.

— #fucktrump

Dear Gabacho: Waving the Mexican flag isn't just a shout-out to our ethnic heritage; it's a blatant reminder of the failings of this country toward comprehensive immigration reform. Because if there's anyone to blame for the Mexican-flag flap, it's conservatives. As I've been saying for over a decade in this pinche columna, Mexicans assimilate into America, yet many Americans don't want to believe it and want to do anything possible to stop it. Talk to those kids waving the bandera, and their culture is wholly American, from language to steez to music, upbringing — their everything.

But when you have morons calling their parents and elder relatives rapists and murderers, and call young Mexican-Americans unworthy of the U.S. and want 11 million undocumented folks deported, wrapping themselves in the Mexican flag is a righteous chinga tu madre to the white supremacy that wants them gone (Trump-supporting minorities can subscribe to white supremacy, too — know your decolonial imaginary!).

Waving the Mexican flag at rallies isn't sedition; it's a bold affirmation that aquí estamos, y no nos vamos — this generation's "We Shall Not Be Moved," except it rhymes. It's a reminder that Mexicans simultaneously fully conform and buck American immigration trends.

Notice how the red-white-and-green only pops up during times of protests or celebration, when we're expected to "act" Mexican; during the rest of the year, the Mexican flag is mostly out of sight, out of mind as Mexicans seamlessly return to the trappings of American life until the next protest. Besides, what else are these young people supposed to wave at this point? They could wear the Stars and Stripes, even the Gadsden ("Don't Tread on Me") flag, and it wouldn't change the hearts and minds of the true haters — so might as well unfurl the Aztec eagle to antagonize them more, you know?

And waving the Mexican flag doesn't ruin la causa or push more people into the Trump camp — far from it. For decades, there has been a push-and-pull between the accommodationist segment of the Latino community and the radicals. The former's mantra — slow and steady and Democrat — rarely gets anything accomplished beyond getting centrists elected and former Mechistas in cabinet positions.

The best example happened during last decade's DREAMer years, when undocumented college students were asked to basically serve as photo props for so-called Latino leaders. Those DREAMers eventually started launching direct actions against vendidas such as Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who infamously didn't put her name to a bill supporting the DREAM Act until two undocumented activists lost their lives. It's radical pushes like that, and brandishing the flag of a foreign nation, that's the needed fuel for activist fire in the face of conservative lunatics and liberal wusses. Scaring away the middle? Anyone so easily swayed by the choice of a piece of cloth that they'll wish a Trump on this country ain't an ally you want.

But that's the best part about waving the Mexican flag at rallies: We can, because — to paraphrase Mexico's favorite philosopher, Morrissey — we've got Mexican blood and an American heart. We ain't no fifth column, folks: We're the pinche foundation that represents the last, best hope against the Trump monster. And we're ready to let our freak — and Mexican, and American, and Bob Marley — flags at the ballot box and beyond.

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net. Be his fan on Facebook. follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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