Friday, November 30, 2012

We Don't Think "Imposition" Means What You Think It Means

We're enormous admirers of the YoSoy132 movement which, like Occupy Wall St. up north, grew spontaneously and sincerely and seems to have all the right enemies.  Its emergence was genuinely inspiring, and we really wished it hadn't screwed up by failing to grasp that, in a race with at least four legitimate candidates, you can't build a movement based around simply voting against the front-runner.  But of course no one listens to us and so, even though 62 percent of the electorate wanted someone other than Peña Nieto to be president, that's who's being inaugurated tomorrow.

Of course there will be protests, including a three-day festival petulance here in Querétaro starting tonight.  We're all for stickin' it to El Hombre and stuff, but we were kind of disappointed to see the poster taped up right outside our offices: The Protest Against the Imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Imposition?  Look, amigos, we share your unhappiness at the outcome, and we know that the Powers That Be were all behind the man, and Televisa, too; and we've heard all the stories of gift-giving and petty fraud - but then the Mexican people went out and voted and EPN got almost 3.5 million more votes than his nearest competitor.  That's a lot of Soriana cards.  You can say whatever you like about him - most of it negative and probably correct - but he wasn't "imposed."  Dude won by seven points in a four-person race.

It sounds patronizing when gringos say this, but Mexico's democracy, for all its outward signs of solidity, is still pretty young and somewhat fragile.  Given the centrality of the presidency to political life here, propagating the idea that the president is somehow illegitimate is not only stupid, but really kind of dangerous.  We're looking forward to six years of relentless protests, which are a necessary bulwark against the return of the "bad old days" of the PRI, but please stop pretending that the winner was "imposed" on you when you couldn't even agree to unite around any of his competitors.


Mexfiles said...

No offense, but while you may know what "imposition" means, but not "imposición" — an unwanted obligation (generally created through fraud or deceit)being the primary meaning given in the 21° edición of the DRAE.

Burro Hall said...

So the same as the English word "imposition" then.

benjamón said...

What you're commenting on is a symptom of a multi-party election, when the people express they want an alternative, but unfortunately voting amongst several alternatives a majority does not make.

What's patronising is for a gringo hailing from a two-party nation to complain that Mexico can't agree to unite around a competitor. The USA might look to find some more competitors to the stalemate of two (let's not lie) right-of-centre candidates.

An ideal world would see a bunch of candidates and a form of Proportional Representation. Some countries have caught on to this, most haven't.

I like your blog by the way (as a fellow outsider in Querétaro) but I just thought your post here was a bit of an over-simplification of a horribly complex situation.

Burro Hall said...

Thanks for the comment - There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of what I'm saying here. I didn't complain that "Mexico" can't agree to unite around a competitor. I simply pointed out that a movement dedicated to the defeat of a candidate - and the front-runner at that - is doomed to fail precisely because it's a multi-party election. In other words, not only do you and I agree (well, except for the "patronising" part [and, for that matter, the spelling of "patronizing"]), but that was was the whole point of what I was saying.