Now that Democrat Cruz Bustamante is California's gubernatorial recall front-runner, we can look forward to in-depth media investigations of the Latino candidate's long-held ties to the racial separatist group MEChA, right?
While Katie Couric complains about Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger being "the son of a Nazi Party member" and international media outlets assail Schwarzenegger adviser Pete Wilson as "anti-immigrant" and "racially divisive," the liberal press has been stone-cold silent on Mr. Bustamante's connection to one of the nation's most virulently racist organizations.
As a student at Fresno State University in the 1970s, Mr. Bustamante was an active member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or MEChA, which stands for the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan. Mr. Bustamante repeatedly denies having a "radical ethnic agenda," but has refused to disassociate himself from his Mechista roots. In fact, Mr. Bustamante recently returned to Fresno State for a separate Latino commencement ceremony founded by two of his Chicano activist classmates.
MEChA has been dismissed by some as a harmless social club, but it operates an identity politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high school campuses nationwide that would make David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan turn green with envy. MEChA members in the University of California system have rioted in Los Angeles, editorialized that federal immigration "pigs should be killed, every single one" in San Diego, and are suspected of breaking into a conservative student publication's offices and stealing its entire print run in Berkeley.
MEChA's symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada [For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing]." The MEChA Constitution calls on members to "promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza [race] with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan." "Aztlan" is the group's term for the vast Southwestern U.S. expanse, from parts of Washington and Oregon down to California and Arizona and over to Texas, which MEChA claims to be a mythical homeland and seeks to reconquer for Mexico - reconquista.
MEChA's liberation agenda, outlined in "El Plan de Aztlan," states defiantly:
"We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent. Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner 'gabacho' who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture."
Substitute "Aryan" for "mestizo" and "white" for "bronze." Not much difference between the nutty philosophy of Mr. Bustamante's MEChA and Papa Schwarzenegger's evil Nazi Party. To date, however, the only exposure Mr. Bustamante's MEChA history has received has been on the Internet.
In a critical article on Mr. Bustamante published by David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine.com last week, Lowell Ponte notes that "Like Nazism, MEChA has acquired more than a tinge of racism. In their tactics to advance Latinos and 'La Raza,' many of its activists have directed racist attacks against not only white-skinned Anglos but also against blacks, Asian-Americans and Jews - in fact, against every non-Latino group."
Popular Internet blogger Tacitus points out: "It's tempting to dismiss this as a youthful affiliation that means nothing today - but that temptation would be wrong. There are certain associations that are socially tainting (and justly so) in the modern day, and they don't have statutes of limitations. Former Klansmen and former Nazis don't get a pass unless they spend a great deal of time and energy apologizing for and explaining themselves in a convincing manner."
Why should Mr. Bustamante, a public figure already known to have used a racial epithet in the past (he infamously used a familiar racial epithet while addressing a Black History Month event two years ago) get a pass? Or, for that matter, former California State Assembly speaker and Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, State Assemblyman Gil Cadillo, State Sen. Joe Baca, and Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva - all unapologetic Mechistas?
Miss Couric, I know you'll get to the bottom of this. They don't call you Hardball Katie for nothing.