South in 16 https://sdasdona.wordpress.com
Awaking in Del Rio and I felt like I was in Louisiana, with overcast sky, humid and warm. I actually find it most pleasant. Taking the dog for a walk I had a hunch that instead of continuing to follow the Rio Grand to the gulf we should go east to San Antonio and then south to the gulf. The distance was about the same to get to our beach destination and I would get to see THE ALAMO!! The Alamo has been impressed into the American mentality by the movies and books, but the real Story is far more impressive. The Texas revolution against the corrupt Mexican Government at the time which gave birth to the nation of Texas and later the State of Texas is fascinating. The Alamo was pivotal for the whole thing. The characters of Travis, Jim Bowie and Davie Crocket only enhance the story. WE did make it there and against my disinclination to large cities. It is in the heart of the city, and super crowded on a Sunday afternoon. We parked illegally in a tow zone and did the quick tour. Touching the stone of the old church and seeing where the events played out was deep for me. These 200 plus men knew their fate was sealed. Santa Anna had told them there would be no prisoners. The fighting against numerical odds of some 6 to one or more, it was a hopeless endeavor. In the end the fighting was hand to hand. The numbers are not exactly known but they fought hard and the toll on the Mexicans was at least twice in numbers. The anger was intense and the bodies of the Texans were shot and bayoneted over and over and then the bodies burned. The brutality of the Mexicans only incensed the population and gave rise to a greater will to overthrow these cowards. In the end Santa Anna was defeated and was shamefully caught trying to escape in women’s cloths!!
In route we crossed an almost unremarkable river called the Nueces. This small river was the focus of another nation changing event with Mexico. We stopped in a nice city park in the neighboring town of Ulvado and did Yoga. The Mexican American War started out after Texas had won its independence from Mexico. When the new country wished to be annexed by the U.S. there was a discrepancy of where the border with Mexico would be. The country of Texas had always considered it the Rio Grand River but Mexico determined it to be the Nueces River. The strip of land in between being the contention. The U.S. offered to resolve the dispute by buying the land in question for 30 million dollars, a healthy sum in 1840. The Mexican president refused to even consider it still believing that all of Texas was part of Mexico. The U.S. sent a contingent of troops to the Rio Grand River and built a fort called Ft Texas. Stop here, and it is worth mentioning the people of the U.S. believed in Manifest Destiny, the future being one country from sea to sea. We had already purchased the “holdings” of France in the Louisiana Purchase and the Conflict with Britain over Oregon and Washington were resolved. Back to Ft Texas. The Mexican Government attacked the fort creating an avenue to incense the American People to retaliate and go to war. Long story short, in the end the treaty of Guadeloupe ceded not only the land in contention but the entire states of California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico for half the cost originally offered for the small piece of land. While this is a huge savings the true cost of the war with Mexico came in the loss of men, the highest loss in percentage of any war. Most of the casualties were due to yellow fever and Malaria. It was also a training ground for two young lieutenants who would later need those skills Robert E Lee and Ulysses S Grant. Also during this War some men and in one case an entire unit deserted and fought for the Mexican Army. These were largely Irish Roman Catholics who felt loyalty greater to their religious beliefs than to their country. Mexico’s Government and the Roman Catholic Church were then one and the same. While it is within ones right to vote or support your religious beliefs as a citizen, This is not the case when serving in the military. Those that defected and fought alongside the Mexicans were rounded up and hung as traitors as they should. I give a couple of quotes however that give some idea of the anti war and opinion of how Mexico was treated. One from U.S. Grant himself
President Ulysses S. Grant, who as a young army lieutenant had served in Mexico under General Taylor,
recalled in his Memoirs, published in 1885, that:
Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether
the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of
them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure,
and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the
most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker
It was an instance of a republic following the bad
example of European monarchies, in not considering justice
in their desire to acquire additional territory.
Grant also expressed the view that the war against Mexico had brought
punishment on the United States in the form of the American Civil War:
The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the
Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for
their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most
sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.
This view was shared by the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who
towards the end of the war wrote that “The United States will conquer
Mexico, but it will be as the man swallows the arsenic, which brings him
down in turn. Mexico will poison us.”
What I am about to say does not come from fear, that is anger or hate. My experience with Mexico and Mexicans has been long and well rounded. I have worked with them, traveled with them, lived with them. I have travelled extensively in Mexico by car, bus and hitch hiking.
A small part of the country has had negative experience with illegal immigrants. Maybe their taxes are being sapped by providing services to anchor babies. Maybe your less employable because you can’t compete with the low wages they draw. Maybe your daughter was smooth talked and became pregnant only to become a single mother while the father sends his checks to his wife and family in Mexico. Maybe as a Rancher you have fences cut, or animals killed or you had a relative gunned down. Maybe you just had a theft or collision, or some other criminal act and they vanished or the police would not apprehend them. Maybe a juvenile latino gang is terrorizing your neighborhood or school. These things would illicit a call to stop the flow.
On the other hand maybe you have a fine new son in law and wonderful grandchildren. Maybe your community is enriched with the new beliefs and customs that come with the new immigrants. Maybe you got your vehicle repaired or painted, or a landscape job at a bargain price and NO Taxes!! Maybe you have an unlimited workforce to choose from that instead of having to pay $15/hr half the FICA and health expenses which Bernie Sanders wants you get it for $10 cash.
A vast majority of the country are still untouched and are deceived by the misguided belief that this wave of immigration is no different than that of their ancestors many generation ago. The bottom line is, there is solution. It is not building a wall! Solution that can be beneficial to all concerned. The Libertarian approach of level playing fields, fairness and open borders. It would require ending the War on Drugs and rescinding Nixon’s “Controlled Substance Act”. It would require an easier path of visa and work visa that could be used to monitor and hold responsible for actions while in this country. It would require that Mexico allow U.S. citizens to work and own land in Mexico. These actions are simple and no doubt would reduce the existing expense of border control and burden on communities effected. The differences between our counties is indeed large. Some day there might even be a General Blackjack Pershing state park across the border in Mexico, but I doubt it. Therein lies the difference in our countries.
We got out of the big city and landed by the city park in Poth Texas. It is a fine little park and we asked the neighbor Fernando if they were cool with us parking for the night. They said no problem. Tomorrow I will get Mrs O to the beach!!!! Well about 10pm just before a rain storm the police visited us. The officer was kind and almost apologetic. He told us there was a city ordinance against camping on the city streets. Hard to believe a small town would have such and ordinance like this. Boulder and Vail are the only other towns that I know of that have them and they are Socialist high income snobs. We packed up and drove 8 miles to a Walmart just as the rain started to pour.