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News » Private Eye

Chelada Time!

I support the Chelada Party, but not necessarily the Obama Party.


If spring is here, can Chelada season be far behind? I sure hope not! Two years ago, City Weekly held its first Chelada party at Port O’ Call. The Chelada was discovered by yours truly during a trip to Cancun 10 years ago, a secret date marked on our stationery and logged into our corporate minutes. In City Weekly time, there are two eras: B.C., the dark ages—life before the Chelada; and TGFC, life in the light—Thank God For Cheladas. 

Starting in the year TGFC-01 and each spring thereafter, once the weather warmed, we’d mosey into the Port and drive the bartenders crazy with order after order of Cheladas. The bartenders went crazy because a Chelada requires lots of freshly squeezed lime juice—bartenders hate squeezing limes. In TGFC-09, Port O’ Call was torn down to make room for the Chaffetz-Granato Federal Courthouse, named in honor of the two Utah senators who will be in office when the courthouse is finally built. Sadly, we didn’t have a Chelada party last year. 

But, we will this year—Wednesday, May 5, TGFC-10 at Gracie’s. Mark your calendars and join your City Weekly friends for great fun, great food, great libation and great music—said music being provided by DJ Latin Grooves. Like everything else about Cinco de Mayo, having a Latin band for a primarily North American Mexican holiday seems to fit (outside of the Puebla, Mexico region, even most Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo; sort of like how fortune cookies aren’t Chinese in origin).

And you won’t go wrong at the Build Your Own Chelada Bar. Besides having plenty of the aforementioned fresh lime juice at your disposal (a Chelada has only lime, beer and ice for ingredients in a salted rimmed glass), you’ll find all the ingredients to make your own Michelada—just add hot sauce. Or, you can wrangle with others about what constitutes a real Chelada or Michelada by adding some clam juice or tomato juice and mysterious herbs. We purists stick to lime and beer, though, and this year we’re going with Corona. Hope to see you there. We wanted to bring along Gustavo Arellano of “Ask A Mexican” fame, who has said he’d love to visit. Maybe next year.

A couple of years ago, when people became bored or mayors became angry, the streets were filled every now and then with anti-Bush protests. One of the memorable lines from those marches was “Bush Lied. People Died.” That minor poem was in reference to the accusations that the Bush presidency lied this country into the Iraq war and people died unnecessarily as a result. 

I guess people don’t hate President Obama as much for needless deaths as they did President Bush. Or, maybe they think the wars in Iraq and Afganistan are good and proper wars now. Maybe folks are too busy talking about birth certificates, tea parties and Sarah Palin to even notice that our war budget is as large as ever and the world is, at best, marginally safer. It could be all of that. It could also be that when Obama lies, the people who accused Bush of lying don’t want to admit it.

I’d say you could count me in that group, but I figure nearly all politicians—except Jim Bradley, Peter Corroon, Jon Huntsman Jr. and a handful of others—tell lies all the time. A politician lying to me is as natural an experience as learning to write with my right hand. They are in politics, therefore they lie. I don’t get angry when politicians lie, I get angry when the people they lie to don’t or won’t see the truth. For instance, I’m less bothered by Sarah Palin than by the clods who follow her. I look at them and think, Thank God For Cheladas!

I supported Obama, and still do. But I can’t turn my back when he lies. And he has. Here’s one example that will only mean something to a dwindling number of Greeks and Assyrians with long memories, a smattering of historians, a dash of hard-core pacifists, and every Armenian whose family survived the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian people that began in 1915. Of the 2.5 million Armenians living in the former Ottoman empire, 1.5 million were killed—and not in pretty ways, either. When bullets, knives and blunt weapons could not be used, the Turkish gendarmes resorted to drowning, fires, death marches, suffocation and poison to exterminate the Armenian population. Their crime? Being Christian. 

What took place in Turkey against the Armenians was genocide—the controlled and calculated attempt to exterminate an entire group of people based on their religion or ethnicity. In fact, the very definition of the word genocide is derived from what happened to the Armenians and predates another example of genocide, the Jewish Holocaust of World War II. Funny, then, that depending on how the wind blows, Israel either supports Turkey or the Armenians on this matter. 

When Obama ran for office, he pledged to the Armenians that he would officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. April 24 was the 95th anniversary of when Armenian intellectuals were rounded up in Istanbul (then Constantinople) by the Turks and 5,000 of their countrymen were murdered in the streets. That began the genocide. 

What did Obama do on April 24? For the second year in a row, Obama ignored his pledge and called the genocide an atrocity, thus telling Armenian Americans that, regarding international affairs, Turkey matters more than Armenia. Greece learned that the hard way, too, despite the fact that in World War I, the Greeks fought with the Allies against the Ottomans. In death, everything becomes negotiable. People died. Obama lied. 

John Saltas: