Mexico’s past president (2000-2006), Vicente Fox Quesada, speaks to Americans and Mexicans, asking them to move “beyond fear.”
His new book, Let’s Move On: Beyond Fear and False Prophets, (Savio Republic, 2018, with assistance from Sulay Hernández) is just out.
It is already on the New York Times bestseller list. Fox, himself, was on “Morning Joe” (MSNBC) this past Thursday, 24 January 2018). He spoke forcefully about the current dilemma facing Americans and Mexicans, indeed, confronting the world.
The book is a “political manifesto written in Fox’s trademark, no nonsense style. . . denouncing Trump’s malignant anti-intellectualism and inspiring people to rise up and resist” (Washington Post). But first the majority must recognize the danger Trump poses to our two countries and to the world. They (we) must then call out the “false prophet.” Seculars and those professing religious faith must reject Trump’s claim to be the “savior” from our problems, must return to a more stable search for solutions, trusting not in an irreligious charlatan, but in themselves and their traditional institutions and processes.
If reading a book is not your recourse, perhaps a television spoof might be? Recently (20 January 2018) “Saturday Night Live” amused viewers with a game-show parody, “Does It Matter?” Contestants pressed a buzzer, when quizzed, asked whether repulsive actions by Trump truly DO matter: 1) an affair with a porno star after his marriage and the birth of their child? 2) a billion dollar “wall” that isn’t a wall and won’t be paid by Mexico? 3) threatening the world with nuclear holocaust? Their positive answers were over-ruled by the hostess; she sadly reported, according to so many supporters, those actions and other creepy moments seem not to matter.
This, perhaps, is the larger puzzle: the lack of caring by many of the former voters for Trump. Before the election, they believed “without any history of public service and despite having inherited millions of dollars and being mired in seemingly countless financial scams, Trump was ‘a man of the people.’” Implausible, but they bought into his claim “American was dying.” Rather, he seemed to embody the “ugly American” stereotype—a vulgar money-grubber who made his wealth off the backs of people he would never sit down with. He still represents unleashed capitalism, imperialism, a loss of morals and traditional family values (Fox).
The sick joke has continued. Trump, recently “celebrating” his first year in office, is about to give his first “State of the Union” speech. Fox sees little to celebrate and little improvement to expect in the behavior of an arrogant racist. Fox, the Mexican, asks “why should I care so much about America?” His answer: “it is the right thing; if your neighbor’s house is on fire, do you watch it burn, or try to help?” Fox tried to reach out and even apologized for his “ignorant egomaniac”comment. He received no apology back from Trump, of course, for his blatant disrespect for the Mexican people. Fox’s attempts at apologies aside, his #No F. . . king Wall” comment continued to trend on Twitter.
So, Fox promises to remain a “shadow,” confronting the monster. His voice resonated before in Mexico and now, thanks to this new book, in the United States. The chapters enlighten us on many important topics: globalization, trade and NAFTA (its importance and how Trump is destroying U.S./Mexican/Canadian relations by trashing trade relations). He deals with immigration and racism, clarifying much of Mexican history, admitting some of Mexico’s own errors. He relates his own family’s journey from Ohio to Mexico to his arrival as a top executive of Coca Cola.
Of course, the book deals with the “wall,” with its initial futility and moral depravity, quoting the Holy Bible (Ezekiel). Jehovah promises “when anyone builds a wall. . . I will tear down the wall.”
He cites examples of other walls (China, Berlin) which failed, as well as the special relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Fox is realistic about Mexico’s problems (cartels, violence, poverty, etc.) and hopes better ideas on both sides of the border will prevail (cross-border partnerships in education, culture and economics).
As do so many Mexican intellectuals, Fox trusts science and scientists. He understands the challenges of global warming and proposes specific policies for ameliorating wide-spread environmental and health problems. “’Mother Earth’ should be at the top of the agenda.” His book is nothing if not timely. For the rest of the list, he targets, specifically, misogyny and shows its deleterious effects on the economy and culture of both Mexico and the U.S.
Fox concludes with emphasis on the need for a constant search—via education, communication and mutual respect—for truth, justice, democracy, spirituality and leadership. He quotes the wise Mexican proverb “El Pez Muere por la Boca” or the fish dies first from the mouth, urging readers to re-evaluate the shaky selection of Trump and to revise that outcome if and when and by whatever legal means they can.
Mexico will host new presidential elections July 2018. Fox’s hope is that Mexico will choose wisely and that law and respect for justice will prevail in the United States. Neither country should be ruled by a fake populist or pretender to be a “man of the people.” Neither country should return to the 20th century “Latin American” past, according to Fox; that would be a fatal model strewn with fake nationalism and the rise of dictators. Instead, may we all be “smart like a Fox. May we all be more aware as citizens and more active and responsible as voters.