Memorial Day Weekend Open Thread: Disney at 60, St.-to-Be Oscar Romero, Gay Irish Marriage, a Dreamer Graduates!




memorial day on beach

The Orange Juice Blog wishes all its readers a THOUGHTFUL Memorial Day, and drive safely out there!  This is your three-day Weekend Open Thread, in which you’re invited to chime in on whatever the heck you want, within “broad bounds of decency and decorum.”  This weekend our beloved Chilean-American blogger Ricardo Toro had a couple of ideas of things we could talk about, and I’m adding a couple more at the end – Vern

Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration started this weekend, and it is being noted all over the world.  In the stirring words of current Disney CEO Thomas Staggs, this anniversary “is not just a celebration of the past, but of all yet to come.”  We Orange County residents, and Anaheim residents especially, are in the center of the universe for a few days!  (Although most foreign tourists don’t know or care – to them it’s all just the “LA area.”)

Of course we aren’t really the center of the universe, but some connected to Disney think and behave as though they were, increasingly clouding Disneyland’s image.  We residents appreciate Disney’s contribution to our economy, but many of us feel that it is time for Disney to play a more positive role – for one thing, what would be so terrible about a $1 or $2 gate tax to help the local communities?  The Voice of OC recently provided a handy chart detailing how Disney now meddles in local elections to prevent such reforms, and get itself other gigantic goodies as we here at the Orange Juice Blog have documented at length:

[Click for larger, easier-to-read image]

[Click for larger, easier-to-read image]

Important and infuriating reading on Disney’s meddling in the political process of Anaheim, from the Orange Juice Blog:

Here is a fascinating article of the innovative role played by Disney, especially in the realm of transportation.   And here is a critical view of  theme parks in general, including Disneyland:  How America’s Theme Parks Kill Our Souls.


Saint Oscar Romero?

Intro to “Romero” from Lasallian on Vimeo.

Another celebration taking place this weekend is the beatification of El Salvador’s Monseñor Oscar Romero as a saint, the final step to being “canonized” as a saint in the Catholic Church.  Traditionally saints are credited with miracles, but they can also include those who became martyrs as a result of practicing their faith.  Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980 while conducting a mass, a day after he had given a sermon in El Salvador’s Cathedral calling the soldiers to stop carrying out the government’s repression (as memorialized by the late great Raul Julia in the 1989 film Romero.)

The possible canonization of Monseñor Romero has not unanimously been accepted by the Catholic establishment, due to the controversy regarding his perceived adoption of Liberation Theology, summarized as “God’s option for the poor.”  This controversy, including the role played by the USA in the Salvadoran conflict, is explored in this article.

The consequences of El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980’s spilled over other countries, and one of those consequences was massive immigration. In Orange County we have a significant presence of Salvadorans who came as refugees, and some of them were received in a sanctuary set up at the old Anaheim Unitarian Church, when it was located near the 5 freeway.

saint oscar romero

As we join our Salvadoran friends in this joyful moment of healing, let’s keep in our memories the Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan, who were raped and killed by government forces just months after the assassination of Romero.  (Vern adds – A government armed and funded by OUR government, under the Reagan administration, until CISPES and other groups raised public outrage to the point of forcing the Bush administration to stop aid in – I think – 1990 or so.  I did a benefit concert for them in Texas, 1989.)

And meanwhile…

irish marriage equality

(Vern here) we’ve just heard the remarkable and gladdening news that the very first nation to VOTE to LEGALIZE MARRIAGE EQUALITY … is … Catholic Ireland!  Take THAT, Catholic Church with its centuries of intolerance and hypocrisy!   Greg comments on Facebook:  “Good show, Eire! Doubly good, in fact, as this will confuse the hell out of many American groups running their exclusionary St. Patrick’s Day parades.”  And Vern is proud as a half-Irish-American, that his ancestors, old-school religious drunks as they may be, have also just become the hippest race.  Erin Go Bragh!

 gay leprechaun

OH.  PS….

Congratulations to our friend, Dream Team activist Ricardo Muñiz, for graduating from Fullerton College last night after years of police harassment and near-deportations.  And sorry you had to sit through (from what I’ve heard) such a long and shrill Loretta Sanchez commencement address!  Ah, how I remember how me, Gustavo, Pedroza, and the Dream Teamers had to pressure her into sponsoring the Dream Act several years ago.  (To be fair, she thought it would slow down comprehensive immigration reform, take the air out of it, and we did convince her otherwise…)  ANYWAYS, congratulations, Ricardo!

ricardo muniz 1

ricardo muniz 2

 Now.  Open Threaders.  On your mark … get set … GO!


About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly.