Salud my family and fellow Spaniards! My fellow Andalucians! We are gathered here today to celebrate customs that are centuries old, customs that have survived the vicissitudes of Spanish social life and politics, customs that have transcended any economic, social, or political woes that might happen to occupy the consciousness of our citizenry. The great kingdoms of our past do mingle with the democratic ideals of our current nation. It is in the tradition of cultural continuity that I share this heavenly beverage with you. Salud!
Now some of you may know that my parents and I do not always see . This is especially true when it comes to politics. Yet the reason why I am speaking now is because what we share in common, what all Spaniards share in common, is the connection with our past. Our connection to the past is felt deep within our soul and is the link that binds us together no matter what our gender, our age, our social class, or our political affiliation.
I am sure you are all wondering why I dance before you as a senorito and not a seniorita. It is not just because a student like me cannot not afford the full , although that is part of the reason! It is also not just because I happen to look hot as a drag king. And you know that is part of the reason too. Besides these things, there is also the matter of my pride. I stand before you here proudly bearing the tradition of Catalina de Erauso, who beheld so many years ago the complex interplay between the forces of politics, gender, sexuality, and power.
As Sommer points out, Spanish culture reveals an inextricably entwined relationship between eroticism and nationalism. Our eroticism is our nationalism; it is precisely because of our eroticism that hoards of pasty English tourists descend upon our beaches. Eroticism and nationalism have become “figures of each other” in Spanish literature in the New and Old Worlds (Sommer 31). Let us celebrate, as our foremost literary heroes celebrate, the “identification between the nation and its state,” (Sommer 30).
Salud! In the name of what it means to be a Spaniard. Why does it matter that my political views are different from those of my parents? Guerrero, for example, points out the “various forms that citizenship may assume in different historical contexts,” (p. 272). I am living proof that various forms of citizenship may assume different appearances in the span of just one generation.
As American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow noted centuries ago, “so little changes in the Spanish character,” (cited by Kagan). We might not like to admit it but sometimes it does take an outsider looking in to provide a mirror of our glorious society. Another American writer, Washington Irving, pointed out the “Arab look and character” that makes Spaniards — and especially Andalucians — indispensible to the culture and nation of Spain (cited by Kagan 426).
As we all know, citizenship in our culture means more than carrying a Spanish passport when we travel abroad. Citizenship is a “historical construction tinted by the semantics of domination and contingent on social conflicts and relations of power,” (Guerrero 272). What Guerrero is trying to say is that power structures and social hierarchies are crucial to understanding who we are as individuals and as Spaniards. Now I must move onto a sad subject because it is relevant to why I am speaking to you now. A recent string of suicides has shown that our current economic crisis is untenable in the Spanish soul. Evictions, loss of livelihood, and loss of property strike us at the heart and soul of who we are. Let us join together in mutual condemnation of sorrow and embrace the future of our country together. We can develop a shared vision by focusing on what it means to have a Spanish soul — and to not get bogged down too much by the superficialities of gender, economic solvency, and political orientations. Muchas Gracias! Now let’s get back to what we came here for — food and drink!
Cooper, Liz. “Spain: From “los indignados’ and ’15 M’ to the first strike by society. Open Democracy. Retrieved online: http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/liz-cooper/spain-from-los-indignados-and-15-m-to-first-strike-by-society
Guerrero, Andres. “The administration of Donated Populations Under a Regime of Customary Citizenship.”
Kagan, Richard L. Review: “Prescott’s Paradigm: and the Decline of Spain.” The , Vol. 101, No. 2. (Apr., 1996), pp. 423-446.
Sommer, Doris. Foundational Fictions. Berkeley: University of California Press.