The Mexican Tea Party
Mexico is currently engaged in a 3-way presidential election. It’s be be held on July 1st. Bars are open only to Gringos that day – the poor Mexicans will need a drink, but they are forbidden to imbibe after voting. Oh, they’ll all have bought their beers and booze the day before, I’m sure. Anyway, the president down here only serves six years – and then, out! No reelection is serious business down here. Why, there are streets and plazas named “No Re-Eleccion!” The current guy is Felipe Calderone – he’s out. Say bye-bye.
I’m not sure of lots of details, but more than what I’ll give here. But just like America there’s something else going on. What I see here in Mexico very much parallels America – we have political parties that are simply corrupt and conniving, very much into more taxes and more bureaucracies, and simply way out of touch with the pulse of the people. What is that pulse in America? Oh, some 80% of the people are unhappy – the other 20% are somehow are crooks or in tight with them. The American Tea Party is but just one of the currents of discontent in the USA. I’m not sure there’s a similar movement in Mexico, at least by any name. I never heard of one. But ah, the sentiment, now that’s there. How do I know this? I talk to Mexicans. Yes, I speak sufficient Spanish to have rather detailed conversations about politics. And I certainly can read a newspaper and watch the news, which while I try to avoid both, they are ever present.
And what do my Mexican friends say? They are fed up. Pesado, casado, enojado. Weary, tired and angry. When I joke about the elections that you have “una comunista, una socialista y quien que quiere mas impuestos y mas grande gobniero” – a communist, a socialist and he who wants more taxes and bigger government – they laugh, they shake their heads and mutter, “claro que si” – clearly that’s yes.
Everyone I know – and I even have breakfast with a Mexican cop down at the market every few days – jokes about the drug war as pointless because the big leaders are corrupt and work with the drug dealers. Indeed, the head of public security (oh, all police forces,) in Mazatlan was on the run the other day after the federales and the state of Sinaloa, in which Mazatlan sits, came to arrest him. Seems they did, then he “got away.” Ahem. He was surrounded by cops and agents on the front page one day, and gone the next. Just disappeared. Presto! Yah.
Meanwhile, the jokes about “Morditas” – “the little bites,” literally – are rampant, but not in a good way. The “transito” is both the name of the traffic cops, and “corrupt.” The word “ladrone,” or, “thief” is thrown around liberally (oh, pun intended.) Everyone I know, literally dozens of people, are simply fed up and ready for revolution. But not another Mexican Revolution. No, the people are sort of tired of those too, and so are quite perplexed about what to do.
Everyone knows, tells me with great knowledge, almost more than Americans have about our laws – that the current law of Mexico is based on the very “modern,” ahem, law of Alfonso XII of Spain. Oh, the king, always good to be one! When was this king of Spain writing up marvelous modern laws? Was this guy the current king of Spain’s dad? You know, Juan Carlos II, (who like most kings, just got caught living by a different set of rules with the people’s money, he by going off shooting rare and exotic animals, including some by his young sons, the future king and his ever-to-be disappointed brother [Harry of Spain, as it were,])? Nope. Way back, in the day, of yes, 1280! Twelve Eighty – for surety one should know that the modern nation to the south of us lives by Medieval laws. And you wonder why those poor folks leave?
Then there’s a few of the local newspapers, which are rather adamant, as much as they can without being charged with sedition or something, I guess, about chucking the entire legal code, and the 800 page constitution of Mexico and replacing them with, get this, (you’ll need to sit down, go ahead) the US Constitution roughly translated into Spanish and pretty much the entirety of US property and commercial law into their language too.
There’s another trick the hidden revolutionaries are getting away with – that’s teaching every Mexican child in kindergarten through 12th grade to speak English. When I have pointed out that this might mean that in some 50 to 100 years no one will be speaking Spanish anymore they look both wistful for having lost a cultural point, but oh so willing to change. Why? They tell me English is the language of wealth and liberty. High school students are required to speak to Gringos as an exam, and get the Gringo to write a report on how well the student speaks and listens, comprehension, etc, it’s fairly open. But still, sit on a park bench or sidewalk restaurant long enough, and a student or two will approach you. Often painfully shy, always unfailingly polites, I never saw a Gringo turn one away, and not get them to loosen up a bit.
Amazingly, too, though most people won’t believe me, even when I sit with them and count – everyday, one-quarter or more of the people under 40 wear red, white and blue clothes. Often, red shirt, blue jeans and white hat and white sneakers. Or something with an American eagle, flag, emblem, something American, or words, (and not even sensible,) as almost a pointed but quiet protest to the authorities they despise. It’s quite fetching, patriotic, like everyday is the Fourth of July. Of course, in Mexico it’s illegal to wear the colors or the image of the flag or national symbol on it – something about the “glory” of the people, 20,000,000 of them who have left for America.
Oh, go ahead, joke about speaking to the “mas altas autoridades” – the highest authorities – they crack up laughing about “Los Pendejos” – the fools.
Making fun of government is a joyful enterprise here. They are fed up with taxes like a Tea Party diehard. Joke about “impuestos” – taxes, and they will regale with horror stories. They are well aware, all the people I know here, of the complete tomfoolery of it all. When I tell them that their taxes from Mazatlan and Sinaloa go to the DF (Distrito Federal, aka, Mexico City, the national capital,) for a vacation and for every 10 pesos sent south only 5 or 6 come back north to “help the people” they nod in agreement, even if they never quite heard it expressed that way. Those who don’t quite understand my English or Spanish always find ready interpreters to put it into more colloquial words and those people then tell me “La verdad” “That’s the truth.
Oh yes, you Americans with this fear of Mexicans moving north to take back vast swaths of our country for Mexico – it’s exactly the opposite – Mexicans want America to move south and kick their government the hell out. And not a one of them I meet ever likes Obama beyond the fact that he’s black mostly) – when I ask them about their dark skinned presidents, you know, people who look more like them, they are a bit more understanding of “who gives a damn about race – cut the taxes.” But still, even if they like the man’s color, they still don’t like his policies, and amazingly, mock him often, but pushing out their ears to make more um, burro-ish. (And from those who see my avatar here and elsewhere, well, I know a thing or two about burros, I would say.)
And so, yes, Mexicans are ready for a Tea Party. Just as I heard that Montrealers are quite enraged at their government for trying to take their right to demonstrate away. From what I can tell, some 200,000 to 300,000 people a day, for a week or two now, have been spilling into the streets of Montreal to protest against a Law 78. Well, it’s quite a Catch-22 because the law allows the government to arrest these people, but the rather practical impracticalities of it are simply too obvious. Tough noogies government, tough noogies.
And so rather than the American Tea Parties, and American patriots, libertarian leaning, anti-government anti-tax anti-bureaucratic forces worrying about Mexicans taking over America and making it like Mexico – keep in mind that the Mexicans our press doesn’t show – which are the vast majority of schnookocitos (yes, add an “o” and “cito” and presto: Spanish!) that just want to live quite and reasonable well off lives – are just like American schnooks – simply fed up and not really willing to take much more.
Ignore the political parties and the politicians. You don’t trust American versions anymore, why trust Mexican versions? But somehow you trust a great silent majority of Americans to set things right again – and that’s coming, sooner than the politicos think – they got two more presidential terms before being swept away unless they change big time. So trust the Mexican people to not wait around for ever for some lower taxes and more wealth in their pockets. There’s an undercurrent that I don’t think the Mexican politicians are aware of. But it can’t be good when nearly 100% of the people I speak to joke about the rotten core of their benighted land and so many have the same conclusion: Make it more like America.
Well, I’m doing my part: spreading Tea Party values and explanations of the idiocy of ever more taxes. From my balcony, (Actually, two, one to the street, one to the inner court yard,) I often play “candidate for president” or “como el nuevo presidente” – as the new president – and shout out a quick speak mocking the slogans of the crud and throwing sarcasm about what will now be free one the taxes are raised to 100% to help the people. I get lots of laughs, and some jokes that, “well, maybe you should stay here and run for office.” But really, Mexico is following the Tea Party rabble rousing, just in their own way.
Let them enjoy, let us encourage this – and let us invite the Canadians – and maybe a whole continent rising up will send a clearer message – stop the taxes and the endless laws and more government and the spending our nations into unpayable debt like drunken sailors.