"600 Words by Esther J. Cepeda"
I have the diagnosed cure for the Mexican Swine Flu Heebie-Jeebies, folks: take a chill pill.
Yes, just relax…all this stress about whether Juan Gonzalez is going to sneeze on you and make you sprout a pig-snout is just weakening your immune system.
And it’s not just the light-skinned, bilingually-challenged among us that are nervous about heading down to 26th street for the Wednesday night enchilada run, the brown-skinned, soccer-skill-blessed among us are trippin’ too – I’ve gotten several email messages from Latinos all over the country who are re-interpreting every sideways glance as some sort of anti-Mexican snub.
Not that it takes much for some to get freaked out, but there is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a germ of truth there. Since Sunday, the nation has gone from zero to hysterical and the "dirty Mexicans" everyone has been fretting about since the illegal-immigration issue reared its ugly head exactly four years ago just got dirtier.
Sunday, the press corps at the White House were nearly hyperventilating about whether Obama had been tested for Swine Flu since he’d been cavorting in the United States of Mexico with the likes of President Felipe Calderon two weeks before. Then they freaked out Monday when they found out one of the dignitaries whom Obama met while in Mexico dropped dead last Thursday. Not to worry, Mr. Felipe Solís, Director of Mexico’s National Anthropology Museum, died of a non-Swine-related pre-existing condition.
There’s been something for everyone in this almost-crisis: mainstream media have been having a field-day with this health scare because it’s made them feel necessary and relevant, immigrant bashers who’ve been waiting for just such an occasion to gleefully announce that THIS is exactly why we should have sealed the borders after the 86 amnesty are lovin’ it, and the special interest groups who are offended by everything are enjoying rightfully calling these extremists, um, extreme.
This press release arrived in my inbox from the National Council on La Raza today: "NCLR CONDEMNS THE SHAMELESS EXPLOITATION OF A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY: NCLR today condemned the assertions made by some members of the media that the outbreak of swine flu is linked to immigrants."
Tip for NCLR, don’t dignify the likes of a Michael Savage – who makes his dinero on talking smack about people – when, in reference to a U.S. outbreak that might well be linked to rich kids who went to Mexico on Spring Break, says something silly like: "Make no mistake about it: Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico."
It’s items like the one the Sun-Times News Group reporter Nick Firchau ran Wednesday about the Club America Mexican soccer team being asked to wear face masks as they walked through O’Hare airport that creep me out. They were also asked not to touch the fans, but you gotta admit, that’s probably decent advice.
In other bummer Mexican news, this city has canceled a Cinco de Mayo celebration this weekend over concerns over the swine flu. We’ve got all manner of travel between Mexico and the U.S. suspended – which is a downer for the 1,357,353 people of Mexican descent living in the Chicago area.
And the organizers of this year’s Million Mexican May Day March might be disappointed with a low turnout at Friday’s rally – they city is pressuring them to cancel or at the very least promise to wear face masks – though I’d imagine it’s hard to get too wound up for that sort of thing anyway, seeing as how the President and his whole administration have solemnly vowed to fix the U.S.’ batty immigration laws.
Nope, like a May 6 Dos Equis and Jose Cuervo hangover, this too shall pass. Scary Mexican Swine Flu 2009 (has FOX composed a special ominous theme jingle yet?) is no Captain Tripps, it will come and go like the Avian Flu scare did.
Remember, just relax. Keep your wits about you and like 99.9% of your continent-mates, you’ll be just fine.
Esther J. Cepeda writes the "600 Words" & "Pregunta del Dia" columns, and is also the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Her views and reporting do not necessarily reflect those of ISAC. "600 words" is a registered trademark of EeJayCee, Inc., Copyright 2008. May be reprinted with permission, contact firstname.lastname@example.org