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The Anti-Trump Gringos
The Anti-Trump Gringos

Mexican-American War or War of Northern Aggression

by Duke Miller

A recent article in the Lokkal ( criticized “gringos” for holding an anti-Trump rally near the Parroquia during Revolution Day celebrations last November. I found the author’s voice both ironic and humorous and felt the need to offer another perspective on a very old and touchy topic: foreigners and Mexican politics.

To begin with, we are all Americans, from the Northwest Passage to Tierra del Fuego, and as such share equally in what happens in our home countries. The President Trump administration will potentially have very negative impacts upon Mexico and the USA. The author points out (although there were many other reasons) that the 1910 Mexican Revolution was fought because indigenous peoples were being oppressed and denied human rights, including property rights. He was upset that gringos were interfering with Mexican celebrations by staging an anti-Trump demonstration on that particular day.

I could not disagree more with this interpretation. Here is what I saw happening at the demonstration. Foreign residents and Mexican citizens were happily mingling together in a mutual show of protest against Donald Trump on Revolution Day. Mexican after Mexican approached and offered their heart-felt thanks that the expat group was there. They agreed that Donald Trump was a very clear danger to Mexican economic and human rights. They feared he was going to coerce and oppress the Mexican people. Indeed, Trump has stated he will force Mexicans to pay for a border wall by repudiating NAFTA, leveling tariffs, and garnishing Mexican labor remittances. He has also said he will send undesirable Mexicans back to Mexico “so fast it will make your head spin.” The only way he can implement most of those ideas is to violate current USA trade treaties, immigration laws, various UN/Geneva protocols, legal property rights along the USA-Mexican border, and the USA constitutional right of due process.

Flag stitched together by nuns and given to the troops

The author then states that as foreigners the demonstrators, unlike Mexicans, have the luxury of being able to freely hop back and forth over the Mexican-USA border. This statement shows a lack of understanding about how most Mexicans view “the border”. The current Mexican-USA border is an imposed line that was crammed down the throats of Mexicans. For many, the border represents a stain upon Mexican history and is really nothing more than a bad fiction that relates to the injustices perpetrated by President James K. Polk, between 1844 and 1848.

The current Mexican-American border was established by the War of Northern Aggression, as many Mexicans call the Mexican-American War. Mexico lost over one-half of its sovereign territory in the conflict. One of the root causes of the war was to increase land for the expansion of slavery. People like Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, and Henry David Thoreau all called the war unjust and illegal. The American public was torn over the war between those who supported slavery and those who did not. When the American Civil War eventually began, Lincoln pronounced it as divine retribution for the unjustified attack upon Mexico. In this respect, it is worth recalling that some American citizens, Texas residents, and deserting US soldiers fought on the Mexican side. Many of the “San Patricio Battalion” paid with their lives and are now venerated with the highest of honors at the Plaza San Jacinto in Mexico City.

Plaque from the Plaza with the names of the Saint Patrick Battalion soldiers who fought and died

Finally, in what was perhaps the author’s most unusual comment, he states that the gringos as they stood in front of San Miguel’s primary house of worship were angry and that he found this disrespectful. If that was an angry protest, then I’d like to see a peaceful one. Protesters would have to be sleeping on the ground, imperceptibly snoring. Were protesters angry? Absolutely not.

We also might remember that the War of Mexican Independence was started in front of a church by a priest. Churches and zocalos have been flash points for protest in Mexico since the beginning of the Spanish conquest. The Catholic Church has always been both a religious and political force in Mexican history. The Mexicans who were there that day were not mortified by people congregating near a church. No, the Mexicans understood that the gringos were supporting Mexico and against another racist and angry voice from the north. They’ve heard gringo tyrants before and they know what they sound like.

The author sums up his article by saying it is unfortunate that another anti-Trump assembly is planned for January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration. That day, in the mind of the author, is inappropriate because it comes right before the birthday of Ignacio Allende, hero of the independence movement and namesake for our city.

At the protest held on that day, I will be looking for the ghost of Allende in the crowd. I firmly believe he will be happy to give his full support to those who think Trump is a danger to Mexico and the USA.

¡Viva Mexico! is the phrase I think his voice would be lifting high unto the heavens. Yes, ¡Viva Mexico!

Joseph Toone responds:

Mr. Miller is clearly an intelligent man with a wealth of historical knowledge, but he missed the point of my article ( My piece wasn't about president-elect Trump or his questionable politics or any sort of politics. It was about being culturally aware, as a foreigner, of what is going on around you.

Some felt the protest was their way to show unity with their Mexican friends. My thinking is, why not just express your unity to your Mexican friends? Why not just say that? Why publicly belittle the President-elect, who your fellow Americans want, all the while coming across as a childish sore loser and doing so during a celebration of independence here? Why particularly when there are so many other more positive options, like the upcoming march for worldwide women's rights in Parque Juarez or a public prayer circle for the future of all the Americas?

I thought Mr. Miller was correct about my being overly sensitive about the in front of the church location. As our top ranked historical walking tour guide I'm constantly in churches and am mortified at how oblivious we foreigners can be. Churches aren't museums, but rather active houses or worship. Sometimes we forget that and bring in our coffee, cigarettes, pets, booming voices and stampede-like presence.

Mr. Miller offered one of three less than favorable responses to the article when it was published here, dozens were in support. So, out of curiosity, I published the article in publications geared to Americans in the lake community and received no unfavorable responses. Most were simply astonished other Americans would be so insensitive to their host country. One even wrote, "Had Mexicans protested in front of a church in the US on July 4th about an election in Mexico, there would be violence."


Duke Miller lives in SMA and is a semi-retired emergency refugee relief director who has a half Tejano and half Mexican heart. He is the author of two books: Living and Dying with Dogs and Handbook for the Hopeless: How to Get a Job in a War Zone & Hallucinations. A third book: Spider in My Mouth is out soon. You can check out his writing at:

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