We're big, we're smart, we're human: we'll muddle through.

This is what I’m talking about:

“It’s disrespectful to do it on Cinco de Mayo,” said Jessica Cortez, a Live Oak sophomore. “They can be a patriot on some other day. Not that specific day.”

[The sophomore is referring to the students wearing clothing decorated with American flag symbols.]

Jessica, dear: you are wrong. Here’s why:

1) There is never a moment when it is inappropriate for a US citizen to be a US patriot. We get to love our country, our ways, our language, our values, and yes even our flag, every day of the year.

2) You are clearly able to feel “disrespected” if you so choose.

3) But that is your choice, and those are your feelings, and no one is required to live their life so that you do not feel “disrespected.”

4) As far as true respect goes, that is earned and not something you are simply entitled to. Your unawareness of that is a failure on the part of your parents and teachers; but the sad fact of their failure still does not entitle you to “feeling respected.”

5) Finally, Americans don’t owe anyone anything on Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is (and I posit: should be) a lovely and colorful celebration of the heritage of many of the fine folks who have made this excellent country their home — like St. Patrick’s Day, but with salsa. Maybe we enjoy Cinco de Mayo celebrations in that regard; maybe some of us don’t. But no one in this country owes a heightened degree of “respect” to people with a Mexican or Hispanic heritage on Cinco de Mayo. We just don’t. It’s a celebration, not a duty. So we can dress as we choose, any damn day of the year.

PS: Am I the only person who reads “Cinco de Mayo” and immediately thinks of sandwich condiments?


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