The Smearing of Bustamante

The Smearing of Bustamante
The Far Right and Anti-Mexican Racism

It would be tempting to dismiss the recent media flap around the candidacy of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and his membership in the student organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) as much to do about nothing. But for those of us who have been following over the last decade the political propaganda of anti-Mexican hate groups, the controversy indicates just how far the rhetoric and tactics of the extreme right have entered the media mainstream.

As Bustamante’s poll numbers began to rise, his affiliation with MEChA over twenty-five years ago surfaced as a hot topic on FOX news. Bill O’Reilly used his “No Spin Zone” to do a spin on MEChA that was straight out of the far right’s playbook. According to O’Reilly, MEChA was a racist and violent organization that hated the United States and advocated the ceding of the Southwest back to Mexico. O’Reilly’s ideological great uncle, Rush Limbaugh, had introduced the topic in mid-August. Lesser neo-con talking heads, columnists, and websites ran with it and soon the same charges appeared in otherwise reputable newspapers and across cyberspace.

All of which is rubbish. MEchA is no more racist than say, a group of Scots who get together to play bagpipes, discuss their common Celtic heritage, and maybe gripe about the Queen. MEchA was and is a mainstream group, and many prominent Latinos have been members.

MEchA links

From, “Spanlish is my language”, comes this satire

Shocking photographs from Lieut. Governor Cruz Bustamante’s sordid past as a Fresno State University militant Chicano hate group member in the free wheeling 1970s surfaced today on my desk. These photos are compelling evidence that his membership in the college student group ‘MEChA’, whose acronym in Spanish means, “Mexican Ku Klux Klan,” is more than a youthful indiscretion.

Bustamante, which in Spanish means, “He who breaks open the skull of the White Man,” is shown racing towards a carne asada barbecue area, toting a Mexican flag and full Chicano revolutionary regalia. He is accompanied by a band of fellow unbathed MEChISTAS, which in Spanish means, “Mexican Aryan Nation.”

Steve Lopez joins the fun today in his L.A. Times column

I’m not a member of MEChA. But more and more, I do like the idea of creating a separate state.

What I’d like to do is take all the yahoos who have nothing better to do than circulate paranoid e-mails and regurgitate every hysterical inanity they hear on talk radio, load these folks onto buses, and create a hideaway for them somewhere in Death Valley, or preferably Idaho.

And you’re right, I am in on it, along with everybody else whose last name ends with the letter Z.

Just to give you a head’s up, on Gobernador Bustamante’s first week in office, we’re moving the state capital to Tijuana.