A Silver Lining

arturo-100x100by Arturo Mendoza

Remember, remember the eighth of November. Sombre day for humanity, when fear, sexism and racism prevailed over the pluralism that many of us took for granted in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’

Hidden, deep in the closets of our good neighbours, were old resentments and frustrations that we thought were left behind after years of division and confrontation. Years when our different backgrounds, preferences, beliefs and conditions ‘justified’ acts of hate, interventionism and violence.

Now that the fog of democratic enchantment faded away, our selective blindness isn’t a good excuse, if it ever was, anymore. We’re on the eve of an alarming manifestation of global frustration toward politics, economics and the world order that needs to be urgently addressed.

The years to come will test core values of our democracies that we all hold dear. The values that were the banner of our founders and the morality they fought for with their own lives. From East to West, these values are the guardians of harmony, peace and stability within and among States. Respect, tolerance, freedom and pluralism. Make no mistakes folks; I’m afraid that the divisive and misguided populist discourses that we’ve lately read in mass media and listened to ‘world leaders’ prove there’s a fissure in morality.

The stunning results of the elections in the U.S. were the end credits of an American Horror Story and, hopefully, the last unpredicted episode of what has been a complicated year for world politics…and for polling analysts too.

Almost midnight in Mexico City, and many of us knew what was about to happen. Florida came first, but Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania –Rust Belt states, even before NAFTA came to birth- were the deathly strikes to Secretary Clinton’s campaign. Surprisingly, after a fierce election process and regardless Clinton’s popular vote lead in more than 2 million, contemporary America stood in front of the mirror and gave Donald J. Trump the 270 electoral votes that he needed to become President Elect of the United States of America. Oh! Yes, you weren’t dreaming fellow reader.

A big and empowered elephant will come back to the Oval and keep its majority control in Capitol Hill. A red pachyderm with the firm intention to crush the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and to strengthen border controls. Furthermore, with a 51 majority in the Senate, Republicans will likely determine the person that will take Justice Scalia’s bench in the Supreme Court of Justice. Democrats’ progressive agenda on abortion and LGBT rights couldn’t be in greater danger.

First and foremost, as a Mexican, what frightens me most, aren’t Trump’s intentions (probably aligned with other branches of government) to increase deportations (this actually happened even during Obama’s administrations) or to build a wall along U.S.-Mexico border (probably a fence and more law enforcement in specific parts of the border), but the fact that he fails to understand how intertwined are our societies and economies. NAFTA wasn’t and will never be the panacea, however it merged production processes and its distribution in the region, from which all three countries have benefited.

Political and economic forces are pointing at different directions. Mexican peso already hit record low. Our economy contracts. Honestly, this isn’t a country that will pay for one person’s whim, when it struggles everyday with gapping inequalities within its own borders. This is just common sense and reality.

As a citizen of the world, what frightens me most is that the same person who once called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ or women ‘pigs and slobs’, just to mention few examples, won the presidential race with 290 electoral votes over 232 for Clinton. The silent majority for Trump, and the 29.9% of Americans eligible to vote that decided not to do so, could have perilously influenced in our understanding of human rights and morality. This is the point of no return.

What should we expect from someone whose decision making could be influenced by emotions above policy analysis and statesmanship?

But wait! Don’t stare at the floor, hopelessly. CARRY ON! Now more than ever, people like you, that were born and raised within a diversity of beliefs, thoughts and ideas, are our beacons of hope. American or not, it’s time to embrace Clinton’s concession speech and ‘never stop fighting for what is right.’ Nonetheless, I believe it is Warren’s determination that we must keep in mind from now on, and to ‘stand up to bigotry, in all its forms.’

No more masks or makeup. If something is wrong, IT IS WRONG! An attack to women, LGBT community, Latinos, Muslims or immigrants is an attack to humanity itself. It has come the time when NO and ENOUGH could also mean standing for important values and convictions. As Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, once said; we must stand against ‘diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind.’ I want to believe there’s still a silver lining in the sky.

 

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