Is the American Dream over?

Dear Mexican: What is it about Mexicans and collecting old cars? I have three Mexican neighbors with middle-class incomes, but in each case, when the old car or truck wouldn't run anymore, they would buy a nearly new replacement and then just let the old clunker sit in the driveway up close to the house or garage...for MONTHS! Hood up, radiator out on the ground, flat tires...etc.

Flying With My Ford

Dear Gabacho: When my brother became of age, I lectured him on the facts of life. No, not sex, but on what would make him a man: when he could afford a classic car. Just as our fathers and abuelitos in la patria weren't real men until they had a beautiful horse to call their own, modern-day Mexican males in the United States aren't real hombres until they can afford a classic car, be it a bomb or a boat. It shows you have money, you have taste, you know your way around an engine, and you have an investment you can sell in a second if you ever need bail money for some primo or other. We don't drive these often, but a classic ranfla is so much better than the latest Lexus or BMW. A la chingada con stocks: Nothing appreciates better than a '59 Chevy Impala convertible with custom rims and an Aztec-maiden mural on the trunk.

Dear Mexican: What's so great about the USA? War, bad politicians, Social Security gone, stereotypes, drunk driving, gang wars, scary public schools, no respect for anybody who doesn't want to live the way they live. I know my family risked their lives so I could be born here, but I hate it. The jobs aren't that great and there's crime everywhere. How is that any different from the Mexico they left? Is the American Dream over?


Gustavo Arellano

Pocho Ready to Go

Dear Pocho: As I've written before, the U.S. is basically Mexico without Aztec pyramids at this point — thanks to Republicans. Horrible violence, an ineffectual government, stuck-up fresas who insist there's such a thing as "authentic" Mexican food — we've become Mexico in its worst manifestations. But is the American Dream done? Not even close, as long as we have immigrants who flee bad lives and want to improve themselves in the country where it's historically been possible. That's becoming harder and harder — net migration from Mexico has been nearly zero for the past couple of years because of the Great Recession — but the American Dream will live as long as someone is crossing the desert in the middle of July, as long as fake passports exist, and as long as people willingly stuff themselves into cars for the chance to hear their gabacho bosses bitch about how bad life is.


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