The atmosphere is festive dominated by the aroma of traditional food and aguas (fruit drinks); missing is the scent of alcohol and forced merriment encouraged by the stupor of beer and the illusion that this is a special day.
History has not been kind to the descendants of Padres Miguel Hidalgo,Vicente Guerrero and the rag tag Indian armies or, for that matter, to the Mexican nation. It has been harshest on Mexico’s indio people whose proportion of the nation’s total population has shifted from 60 percent at the time of Independence to 30 percent.
Things are even worse for native people in the United States. The CIA FactBook lists them as “Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%.” On both sides of the border those who escape into the middle class are dependent on a paycheck or the whim of banks to pay the almighty mortgage.
Our entire society has become dependent on stimulants to fan the illusion of independence. We drink not for the sake of relaxation but to escape. Alcohol along with Viagra have become the American energy boost drink.
Criticism of our dependence on alcohol is not new. I don’t advocate prohibition but there is a reason why The National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) became so powerful and led to prohibition. Early unionist recognized that alcohol was the enemy of the working people and that it created an illusion that diverted the worker from ending dependence.
One of the first national labor unions in the 1870s and through the 1890s, the Knights of Labor “was not limited to wage earners; it was open to farmers and small business people-everybody, that is, except lawyers, bankers, stockbrokers, professional gamblers and anyone involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages.”
Looking back into history, during colonial times, alcohol was used in New Spain (Mexico) to control of the indigenous peoples. Before the conquest Natives drank pulque which was low in alcoholic content and rich in vitamins, and used it for religious purposes. The Spaniards introduced distilled alcohol, which was addictive and produced severe behavioral problems increasing dependence.
In today’s Independence celebrations the stain of Budweiser, Coors, Tecate and the rest of the drug merchants drive and pay for the celebrations and the illusion that we are free.
That is why the students celebrate “Endependence Day” as a way to separate reality from illusion, and illusion from politics.
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Endependence Day » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.