God Hates Mexicans
By Charles Pierson
January 03, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – “Counterpunch” – People will believe anything if it flatters their vanity. Think of the idea that Americans are God’s favorites and that the Almighty directs history for America’s benefit, even when that harms non-Americans, particularly non-Whites.
Divine providence was such a transparently self-serving and chauvinist notion that we can be thankful that it has vanished from American thinking. Except that it hasn’t. Michael Medved, nationally syndicated conservative radio host, makes the case for heavenly intervention on behalf of the United States in his new book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.
Baloney. Strange concatenations of unlikely circumstances happen everywhere, not just to Americans. People in every nation can point to “evidence” that God loves them best. Were George Washington’s many escapes from death testament to divine protection, as Medved insists? Fidel Castro survived dozens of assassination attempts by the CIA and lived to be 90. Washington only lived to be 67. Did God love Castro 34% more than George Washington?
Washington and Fidel may just have been lucky. Still, if you want to believe that God kept Jefferson and Adams alive long enough so that they could expire on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, be my guest. That belief is harmless. And if you believe as does Medved that the attempt on the life of President Andrew Jackson failed because God kept the powder in the assassin’s gun from igniting, that belief is harmless too (although even the reviewer for the conservative Commentary magazine questioned why God would want to save the life of this slaughterer of thousands of Native Americans).
What should disturb us, however, is occasions when, to hear Medved tell it, God’s intervention on behalf of America harms non-Americans, particularly non-Whites. On such occasions, ruling elites use divine providence to justify American imperialism and racism.
Consider Medved’s chapter on the Mexican War. The Mexican War divided the US public between extremists who wanted to seize all of Mexico and moderates who just wanted half. Moderation won out. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed by the US and Mexico on February 2, 1848, formally ended the war and ceded California and large chunks of what would become New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to the United States for $15 million.
Unknown to both Mexico and the Administration of President James K. Polk, gold had been discovered nine days earlier on January 24 at Sutter’s Mill, California. The deal would not have gone through had Mexico known what it was losing. Medved says that the timing of the discovery was no accident. Medved quotes a French prospector who said at the time: “It had been so ordered by Providence, that the gold might not be discovered until California should be in the hands of the Americans.”
What the hell had the Mexicans done to piss God off? The US had been the aggressor in what Mexicans aptly call la intervención norteamericana. The Mexican War was a blatant land grab which the US cloaked in the half-baked notion of Manifest Destiny. In asking for a Declaration of War, President Polk told Congress that Mexico had “invaded” US territory. Polk knew that was false. Americans were the invaders.
Washington sent troops into Mexico pursuant to a bogus claim that the border of Texas (which had become a US state in 1845) extended as far south as the Rio Grande (p. 241). Medved unquestioningly accepts Polk’s bogus claim as sincere. The US House of Representatives did not. In November 1848, the House voted to censure President Polk for starting an unnecessary war.