Sunday, May 05, 2013
We rode in a 1977 scarlet (with flecks of gold sparkles), red and gold velvet-lined much-loved custom tailored convertible that had to be seen to be believed! Our driver walked around with a polishing cloth removing fingerprints thoughtlessly imprinted by admirers. Yes, and we "bounced" from time to time on the parade route.
Former Mayor Joe Gomes and I were perched atop the back seat -- behind a huge banner proclaiming our status as Co-Grand Marshals, at the head of a two-mile long parade with colorful floats and marching units, brightly costumed Aztecs and Mayans and many other cultures from below the border. There were mariachi bands blaring lively music from flatbed trucks and setting the cadence for all within earshot. Even the parade monitors were finding the rhythms irresistible.
And, there I was riding as the honored lead carrying a large beautiful silk Mexican flag that danced with every errant breeze ... I could hardly have felt more Latin. My paternal great-grandparents, Frafus and Estal Morales, early Spanish (Islenos) settlers from the Canary Islands and St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, were surely dancing atop their graves in celebration in St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans!
On Thursday I'd attended the NAM-Smithsonian Roundtable at the Oakland Museum of California where I'd sat among publicists and journalists from every ethnic minority media affiliate in the Bay Area; Filipino, Japanese-American, Chinese-American, Laotian and Vietnamese, African-American, etc., and been struck by the fact that most (except for the African Americans) had been in this country for a single generation or less.
I was struck by the fact that -- in this room -- my poly-ethnic underpinnings were the exception. The fact that I'm from the 13th generation of my "American" family (we arrived in the New World long before the Louisiana Purchase of 1805). Is it possible that when the descendants of these new immigrants have been here for 13 generations, they, too, will have become poly-ethnic? That will mean many generations crossing unnecessary barriers of separation for the sake of love, and I suspect that may be precisely the unintended consequences of this unwieldy and imperfect democracy that we've co-created over the centuries.
Maybe we, who in our times are seen as something of an anomaly among the racial purists, really are the ultimate Americans.
Maybe our flag could be designed in multi-colored plaid of many colors!
Do you suppose?