A story in The Times (May 14), showing Senate candidate Mike Antonovich filming a political TV advertisement on our border with Mexico, has unfortunately served to heighten the "them" and "us" rhetoric that is so damaging to the history and unity of our entire Southern California community.
While everyone is anxious to halt completely the flow of drugs across our borders from any source, and while we all want borders that are secure from terrorists, the "message" in the ad is portrayed against a backdrop of a large group of Mexican nationals seeking possible entry into our country.
It is this "message" that I find particularly distasteful, and an affront to our Hispanic brothers and sisters within our community.
The impression is given that these poor people, many desperate for the very basics to sustain life, are a threat to our state and to our country.
The remark of Antonovich's aide unmasks the intent of the ad: "But a campaign aide, perhaps venting a little frustration at the poll, looked down at the gathering aliens after the taping was finished and remarked to no one in particular, 'Who has the Smith and Wesson?' "
The great City of Los Angeles was founded more than 200 years ago by a band of 44 Mexican people--mostly children. Ever since then, the influence of the Mexican culture has helped to form and shape our Southern California area, and we are truly "one community of many peoples." Our community is strengthened by the presence of all peoples, and we need to be working together to accept each other's contributions that make our community so unique.
I believe that Supervisor Antonovich owes our Mexican-American community an apology for filming the ad, and I am hopeful that in the best interests of building up our community, he will cancel any airing of it.
MOST REV. ROGER MAHONY
Archbishop of Los Angeles