Mexico: our nearest neighbor, sharing a 2,000 mile border. We in the Rio Grande Valley know better than most how close and how important to us is Mexico.
It is getting closer. The Rio Grande Guardian recently highlighted a unique story: both major party candidates for Governor of bordering Tamaulipas State are dual citizens of the U.S. and Mexico. They are from Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, respectively. They share our love of mutual culture and our concerns about mutual problems and needs.
On the other hand there is Dangerous Donald (DD), he who has never studied the subject but is certain Mexico is damaging the U.S. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Fanatical Trump zombies chant “Truth? Who cares?”). Dolia Estévez deplores his “strident rhetoric, his threat to deport 11.3 million undocumented workers” (“Debunking Trump,” Forbes, Sep. 2015).
Would you be okay with the enormous cost and the Fascist-style round-up necessary to accomplish that grisly policy? Also, DD threatens to tear up the U.S. Constitution by stripping babies born to immigrants of their birthright citizenship. (A president cannot do that legally. Neither Trump nor his minions know any better. Perhaps they do not care about the law?)
Estévez’ research points out, responding to DD’s more outrageous lies:
1) Mexico, a “threat to the U.S. economy?” Mexico is, in fact, the third largest trading partner for the U.S.
2) Build a wall? A “border wall” already exists (650 miles). It is costly, ineffective and counter-productive.
3) Mexico should pay for DD’s wasteful (socially and economically) brain-child, his “Wall?” The mere suggestion is an insult to Mexico’s sovereignty and sensibility. Most sensible people would rather build bridges.
4) Immigrants are criminals? Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native born.
5) Mexican immigrants pour into the U.S? Immigration has actually declined (to the detriment of the U.S. workforce and economy). And extensive research for years has shown immigrants contribute more to this country than benefits they receive. Common sense and even popular culture converge; the Border Patrol in the television comedy, “South Park,” found it their duty to stop Mexicans workers from leaving the U.S.
Remember those fun facts. Forget DD’s made-up “fake facts.” Mexicans are leaving the U.S. and returning to Mexico. That is bad for us—letting crops rot in the fields. It could be bad for them (given the poverty and the wide gap between the very rich and the very poor). So, what do Mexicans returning to Mexico have to expect there? There are, despite problems, numerous bright innovations.
Mexico, despite lacking in adequate financial capital, has great potential in terms of human capital – a very optimistic workforce. Certainly, the government and business sectors have taken “encouraging steps toward major advances in science and technology” (Claudia González-Brambilia, “Mexican Innovation Cha-Cha,” Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2007). González admits the Mexican government (perhaps due to the one-term presidential limit) often does not “follow-through” sufficiently.
The author takes a long-term look into history, praising Mexico for instituting health reforms in the early 20th century and educational reforms (e.g., more funds for higher education) in the latter part of that century. More recent achievements include “eco-innovations;” e.g., tax credits for co-operative “green” businesses and more de-centralization. Government and business headquarters were taken out of Mexico City (Xavier Leflaire, reporting for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2008).
Above all in importance is the fact Mexico places the Minister of Environment at the presidential cabinet level. It is a shame the United States still has not seen fit to do so. Moreover, no one in Mexican business or government denies science, as do DD Trump and other Republicans in the U.S. Mexicans are neither anti-intellectual nor anti-science.
In that sunny land Mexico is advancing with solar and wind power, even hybrid solar/thermal power. Energy and infrastructure are essential. More and better technology is the key. Also, “soft” technology is not forgotten. More protection of intellectual property is emerging, as is an effort to create a more independent, professional judiciary system to protect commercial and human rights.
As an improved definition of “development,” a greater consensus about fair sharing of wealth is growing. Although the GDP level has fallen in recent years, Mexico is still the second largest economy in Latin America and the 12th largest economy in the world (World Bank). This, then, is the innovative Mexico we are dealing with, our “good neighbors,” strategically important to us. But it is the same Mexico Dangerous Donald Trump is insulting and antagonizing.
Thoughtful onlookers in Mexico and the U.S. look askance at the grim possibility of a U.S. president with no ability at diplomacy, little knowledge of foreign affairs and no empathy toward Mexico. DD Trump’s antagonism toward Mexico and toward descendants of Mexicans in the U.S. is but one issue—but an important one. His antipathy and bullying attitudes telegraph his likely approach (and disastrous results) toward the economic health of our own country and of the rest of the world.
Will we really allow this would-be Fascist Nero to fiddle while the “Rome” that is our crucial neighbor, Mexico, burns? Will U.S. elites now “coming to terms” with Trump allow him to destroy the economy of the United States, of Mexico and of the world? Theirs would be a Pyrrhic victory. Trump’s campaign has been designed to exact revenge on President Obama, based on racism and misogyny.
A Dangerous Donald Trump presidency would foster greed and more power for the super-rich. His conquest would come at a great price for all. We are all in this precarious system together — Republicans and Democrats — as well as Mexico, the Americas and the whole world. We must choose wisely.
Editor’s Note: Photo credit: Christopher Gregory