Hispanic Heritage Month is a bipartisan national “Month of Remembrance.” Enacted in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was strongly supported by President Ronald Reagan who expanded it in 1988.

Up to then, Hispanics had been largely invisible in our “nation of immigrants” tapestry. Unfortunately the 2015 observance may be a bit gloomy for Hispanics of Mexican-descent.  Here’s why.

In launching his political campaign, Donald Trump blamed the unlawful actions of a few individuals on Mexico and Mexican immigrants. Worse, short on specifics, he made the immigrant-bashing the main theme of his announcement. Regrettably, his bullying led him to the top of the Republican presidential candidate race.

Plainly, the lack of decorum is an ominous symptom of today’s acrimonious anti-minority mood on one side of the immigration debate. In that regard, with only one token exception, none of President Reagan’s fellow party members running for president embraced his kind sentiments toward Hispanics. Nor did they praise the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Further, Mr. Trump boasts that he doesn’t follow political correctness (PC). (PC is a moral manner of speaking that treats everyone with God-given civility – a must-have mechanism in effective communication.) Instead, he rejects the PC ethical high-road and opts for name-calling and intimidation. Indeed, he credits his anti-Mexican immigrant provocation as the reason he’s popular with a certain segment of the population.

Thankfully, Texas state Senator Judith Zaffirini, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Univisión News Anchor Jorge Ramos, and other border-area elected officials/business leaders were quick to declare Mr. Trump’s border security ideas as simplistic, malicious, and extremely expensive.

Likewise, only a few LULAC-inspired souls publicly opposed him. Though surprisingly, most Mexican-descent citizens remained silent. They’ve yet to rise up en masse to condemn Mr. Trump’s claim that “only a few” Mexican immigrants “may be” good people. At 30-million plus strong, ours would have been ‘the voice heard round the world.’

The question is, why do certain politicians express such rancor toward Mexico? Bluntly, their viewpoint sprouts from a deep-seated, historically hostile anti-Mexico core. To explain, the battle line that Donald Trump is now using to promote his assault was not drawn by Mexico. It was delineated by, for, and in the U.S. The harsh policy was outlined in 1848, nearly the moment the U.S. consumed over half of Mexico’s sovereign land.

In savoring the territorial acquisition from Mexico, Senator John C. Calhoun, addressed his colleagues on the floor of the U.S. Senate as follows: “We have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race – the free white race. To incorporate Mexico would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the government of the white race…”

The die was cast! Hereafter, the negative overview toward Mexicans began in the U.S.  Colonial-style policies shunned the new citizens from Texas to California. Ostracized by the new majority society that rejected them, some Mexican-descent parents taught their children not to speak Spanish or bring attention to their heritage, as when seeking employment.

Here in Texas, it went downhill from there for Mexican-descent Texans. Deliberately, the equality flow was slow. In fact, it spanned over 100 years. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Class Apart Decision finally forced the State of Texas to end its open discrimination against Spanish-Mexican Texans. Within ten years, President Johnson led civil rights (1964) and voting rights (1965) acts passage.

Only then did education, housing, and employment doors of opportunity open widely. In short, today’s Mexican-descent Texans who are college-educated, have good paying jobs, are able to eat at a restaurant of their choice, and live where they want to live owe their good fortune to President Johnson. In fighting for us, LBJ paid dearly, losing most of his political capital.

Nonetheless, we can learn from the past. The fact is U.S. mainstream society has badly treated other immigrants they once feared; Jews, Germans, Irish, Italians, Chinese, and Japanese. Yet, these immigrant groups stayed together, survived, and thrived. If they could do it, so can we.

By 2020, Spanish-surnamed Texans are expected to again gain majority status in Texas. That prospect will be meaningless without standing firmly on our early Texas roots.

Hence, in spite of this latest setback, don’t forsake your genealogy. Teach your children well these important lessons: (l) our Spanish Mexican ancestors founded Texas. (2) Thus, we use the word “Mexican” (as in Mexican-descent Texan) to trace our family tree roots, it doesn’t define nationality; and (3) Besides, Mexican immigrants that have come to the U.S. after 1848 are people whose family values, industry, productivity, and patriotism are equal to or surpass other immigrant groups. This latter fact alone trumps Mr. Trump’s scapegoating card.

As an eighth-generation Texan, meeting folks of different backgrounds during my 37-year plus military/federal service career was a learning experience I’ll always treasure. Albeit, their common confusion regarding Mexican-descent Texans was disappointing! Actually, it’s one of the reasons I now dedicate my life as a writer, who ironically uses the English language to write about the Spanish Mexican origins of Texas.

This Hispanic Heritage Month 2015, be strong and take courage. Only if we stay together this time, we can fight the good fight and win it. For an ethnic group that has endured long-term injustice, settling for less is unacceptable.

Finally, “Where does it stop?” ask two worried Chicago entrepreneurs who owe their citizenship to President Reagan. Responding to Mr. Trump’s latest rhetoric threatening their legality, they further state: ‘We want Mr. Trump to come to our place of business we’ve built ourselves so that he can see that we Mexican immigrants help make America great!” Truer words about the U.S. nation of immigrants have rarely been spoken.