Saturday, November 17, 2007

Politics and Populace - Mexico

Title: Politics and Populace - Mexico: Reflections on an Hour´s Observation (Generalized and Oversimplified)

First the background. Leah is on a woman´s retreat for all the women in the Free Methodist Church of our Missions Conference in Central and Southern Mexico. That left me alone to make it to our project out in the north end of the city in the State of Mexico (an entirely different city than D.F., but it is really difficult to tell the difference. Kind of like Living in LA). I left an hour and a half earlier than I needed to get to the project, and got to the metro station in record time. After two stops my metro sat and waited. This happens from time to time. 20 minutes later we move. Yeah. We stop at the next stop, and all is smooth. We go to the next. Whamo, another 20 minute break. I´m about to get off here then it starts to move. So I jump back on. Another 15 minutes later a police officer tells us all to get off, that it is not going. So I make a huge detour in the Metro system to try to catch the metro at another stop farther up the line. 30 minutes later I find myself at a blockade with the police saying, ¨Alta!¨ So no go. At this point I don´t know the city well enough to get to my stop and don´t have the money sufficient for a taxi, so I had to abandon the journey (I´m still trying to get ahold of the person I´m supposed to help. I think she was stuck as well.)

That said, I decided to head down to the Zocolo or El Centro, the heart of the city and the heart of Mexico. Here stands the old parliament building, the great Cathedral that is built over the Aztec ruins of Tenochtitlan (sp?). Everything happens here, and on this weekend eve before the celebration of the Mexican Revolution something was happening.

I call this blog politics and populace because it struck me how different the populace of Mexico is compared to the States. To give an example, my Mexican brother agreed with a statement I read him from a book that elaborated on the fact that Americans do not really have any good political commentary movies and really can´t do political satire well. Interesting, I thought. Then today in the center of Zocalo was a troop of males dancing as nudos (naked) blocking off the street. The police just stood there to direct traffic. These men were naked and only hidden in the front by a picture of a Senator here in Mexico that they are protesting. Not the way I would want my political career to be remembered. The few old women that accompanied this troop of men were completely naked, baring all and collecting money for something. Interesting.

I don´t remember too many displays so large while living in LA, except for the immigration protests (led by Latin Americans and a huge majority of Mexican immigrants). Here it is a regular occurance for one of the largest streets in the city to be shut down for a protest and most of the time the police passively direct traffic. Another thought, when Bush narrowly beat Gore in the election, people were pretty ticked off (and some still are), but Gore didn´t have his people shut down the majority of DC for 2+ months! Obredor did.

And lastly, as I was pondering the difference in politics, which is highly important in this revolution weekend, I thought about political t-shirts. The States certainly has its supporting shirts or more likely joking shirts about the current president or people running, but we never wear shirts with the picture of Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln. In fact, like Mexico the youth are more likely to wear a Che shirt. But here, people wear Zapata or Pancho shirts and their pictures are everywhere. They are both third to that of Che and Bob Marley here in the city. Why do our youth not remember our rebel leaders? Is politics just not that important?

Here ends the ramblings of cultural learning for the day. I head off to call my supervisor another time, and hope that somebody made up to the north for the jovenes. Luckily at this point I´m not a vital piece or big help as I´m learning the project and the language.

1 comment:

erin said...

I'm a little behind, but wanted to say hi and that I enjoyed this post. Interesting thoughts Kevin!