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May 8, 2010
Cinco de Mayo and US Help to Mexico
I went out for Mexican food with my coworkers on May 5. We used the "holiday" as an excuse to leave our brown bag sandwiches in the office fridge and get out for a while. We asked ourselves, "What is Cinco de Mayo about, anyway?"
I offered, "It's an excuse for booze companies to broadcast TV commercials in which bikini models sell beer and tequila." To which my coworker replied, tongue in cheek, "And what's wrong with that?" You know how it is at the office.
Having exhausted our vast knowledge of the topic, we turned to former Vice President Gore's handy invention - the internet. A few clicks later we availed ourselves of vast resources on the "holiday."
Over at Wikipedia, the gist of the historical report is that in 1862 Mexico suspended paying interest on its debts. France was among those countries put on hold. In response France attempted to occupy and take over Mexico. The French invasion was successful at first. But in a surprising move on May 5, 1862, Mexican militia numbering only 4,000 defeated a vastly stronger, much better equipped French army of 8,000 trained, experienced soldiers. The French army had not lost in battle for nearly 50 years.
How about that? A militia won! That part sounds good to us Second Amendment folks. Kudos to those Mexican peasants who won that battle.
But the victory only slowed the French advance, and one year later France occupied Mexico, putting Emperor Maximilian I on the throne in 1864.
The website Mexonline.com reports that after the War Between The States ended the United States provided military and political assistance to Mexico, as part of our general strategies of the Monroe Doctrine. With the help of the United States, Mexico expelled the French.
Chalk one up for the good ol' Monroe Doctrine. Without it, and without help from the United States, Mexico would be a French colony. Imagine snails in your enchiladas. Yecch.
So the moral of Cinco de Mayo is: celebrate the fact that the United States of America always comes to the rescue.
Now let us evaluate the modern observance.
Be careful while driving next May 5. It appears Cinco de Mayo is numero uno in at least one category: "Top 10 Drunkest Holidays." According to TIME magazine online,
Cinco de Mayo ranks first in drunkenness.
As for the French contribution to drunkenness, Mardi Gras is a mere fourth place! What about us Gringos? Well, Fourth of July is only fifth place. Lazy rednecks! Even New Year's Eve (with vague Scottish origins) is only third place. Arrggh. Aye could wrap a golf club 'round me bagpipes.
Leave it to those Cinco de Mayo bikini models selling beer and tequila to win the competition.
Oh, and a big by the way -- Cinco de Mayo is hardly observed down in Old Mexico.
John Hunt is his children's Dad and his "national service" is to help find and produce crude oil and natural gas from privately owned lands in the United States.