Personally, the news regarding the 2016 Presidential election has been deflating which is why I am in part deviating from my usual subject matter, all things taxi, and making a short analysis confronting the whys and wherefores of the surprising GOP victory, something I thought not possible simply due to American demographics. Boy was I ever wrong!
Demographics, defining the human population comprising a given neighborhood, city, county etc, is something I always preach about to fellow cabbies concerning the business logic facing us when deciding where and why to work particular neighborhoods and areas of the city and county. Thinking I was some kind of "big shot" I applied a similar methodology to this year's election cycle.
Well, this swelled head has certainly been punctured, which has prompted me to figure out just how I got it wrong. Being a cabby I meet "everyday America" daily, and because I am truly trying paying attention I erroneously thought I had my proverbial finger on the nation's pulse, somehow mistakenly thinking I am some 21st Century American version of the 19th Century Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville. Call this essay then a small self-redemption. I am unhappy having proved myself to be an idiot. Maybe, like our country itself, I can turn defeat in something positive. Damn I certainly hope so.
One local post-election positive for us Americans either visiting or residing in Mexico is how the Mexican peso has responded to the Trump victory, and that is to lose further value against American currency, more or less now averaging twenty pesos to the dollar. Twice in two days we bought 4 tamale for 36 peso, or 9 peso each, translating to just under two US dollars. Two to three tamale make a meal so this small example illustrates current US dollar buying power. Local bus rides are the equivalent to 25 cents. The bus ride to the La Gruta Hot Springs spa is about 75 cents. In comparison my bus ride last Monday from Tacoma to Sea-Tac International Airport was $3.75. Off-peak hours one-zone bus fare in Seattle is $2.50, peak hour being $2.75.
So if you are ready to escape post-election rhetoric and visit Mexico, this couldn't be a better time. I would not be surprised if the peso weakens even further in the upcoming months, politics in the USA potentially more unpredictable. If nothing else, you will escape the usual shrill media onslaught. One advantage I find by not speaking Spanish is not understanding conversation around me, which I feel is a blessing. Too many times in the cab I have just wanted the fools to just shut up but there they rattle on---unintentionally sharing disjointed conversation and ideas I never, ever wanted to hear. Here in San Miguel I usually don't understand more than a few words randomly spoken. Hallelujah! the conversational God having set me free!
The only news I know
Is bulletins all day
"But my people! We in this room---
we Negros---have another mission that
is for ourselves alone. Within us there is
a strong purpose, and if we fail in this
purpose we will be forever lost. Let us
see, then, what is the nature of this special
mission."-----the character, Dr. Copeland,
speaking to an assembled Christmas party
---from "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by
The New But Jammed In Reverse America
During the 1948 US Presidential cycle, a breakaway group of Southern Democrats led by US South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (1902-2013), formed what they called the States' Rights Party, known more popularly as the "Dixecrats." Thurmond and his followers were similarly fundamental to the Republican Donald Trump constituency in that they objected to "Establishment politicians" who, in their view, had shifted from representing their true values and interests, thus no longer worthy of their support.
Reading the "Dixiecrats" party platform is illuminating, promulgating a racism shocking in its clarity, declaring racial segregation to be fundamental, and that totalitarianism (meaning the Truman administration) was intent on violating their constitutional rights, preventing them from keeping the races (blacks and whites) separate. In short, they were mad as hell that their country was becoming more progressive (or liberal) than tolerable, drawing a line in the political sand. That they failed didn't mean they hadn't tried, collecting 39 electoral votes, and carrying four states and part of Tennessee, with Thurmond remaining a political irritant until his death at age 101, a remarkable if not always rational politician.
Returning back to November 2016 I see parallels to1948 and a still disgruntled America, with a large part of the voting electorate yelling long and loud their unhappiness through their incredibly flawed candidate, Donald Trump. Despite still facing serious criminal indictment, nearly 60 million voters screamed that Trump is their hero, their new symbolic figure and version of a political manifest destiny taking them to America's rightful place, domestically and otherwise, where high paying manufacturing job suddenly appear out of thin air and all the bad people (illegal immigrants, Muslims, welfare recipients) poisoning American prosperity and virtue quickly and rapidly disappear, creating a national purity unknown since 1776.
This they shout is their God-given right as true and faithful Americans, knowing better than any other citizens in American history how to correct a troubled and insulted nation. But unlike 1948, these new rebels of 2016 actually succeeded with gaining power after chanting we shall return America to when it was great--- Trump-ites, in their victorious frenzy, linking cultural equality and scientific-based reason and rationality to moral treason, something not unlike like the "Dixecrats" claim of totalitarian threats, a disease to be snuffed out and permanently extinguished. And by a plurality of electoral college votes, they have received a measure of validation the "Dixecrats" knew wasn't possible, Trump voters feeling that it is now their time to take control.
While personally abhorring readily assigned labels, I still understand that definitions can lead to helpful comprehension, explaining why I now offer two terms that, I don't believe, have been previously utilized, tossing the usual political monikers left and right, progressive and conservative into the cultural trash bin; suggesting instead that "stationary" and "mobile" fill-in as able replacements,hopefully providing some helpful insight to what people are saying and doing minus self-serving rhetoric and justification. Yes, new appellations countering old and unhelpful nonsense that only obstruct, but never assisting reason and commonsense..
Imagine, if you would, a stationary political approach as a pond or lake; and then view a mobile political stance as a stream or river eventually flowing down to sea or ocean. Obviously real lakes and rivers are extant ecosystems, substantial and sustaining in their own right, each containing inherent positive qualities promoting life and existence. Ponds and lakes, while often having watery outlets, clearly offering permanency of home and stability; with brooks, steams, creeks and rivers offering the fluidity of constant movement, sparkling oxygen entering the air---each aqueous entity holding embraceable validity.
"I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go
But I go on forever."
---taken from "The Brook," by Alfred Tennyson
Stationary and mobile, taking the idea further, transitions into personal and cultural philosophy ultimately progressing into standardized and established beliefs, resulting even further into recognizable religious and political systems now embraced by the tens of millions, formulating societal dictates and governmental policies affecting us all, both in our native countries and nations beyond drawn borders. Whether liking this or not, it is reality.
Again, this social phenomena I am calling mobile and stationary is then greatly consequential, sometimes benign, other times not, translating into laws and rules telling us what we do, should do, and what we definitely cannot do. Often these rules and laws are reasonable and just, but again, often they are not, either tainted by delusion or prejudice. When this happens, when the stationary becomes dictatorial, we are then literally held "stationary" or hostage by these same stationary beliefs.
Historically this has not turned out at all well, aggressive "stationary" nations like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the 1930s & 40s causing immeasurable death and destruction. And it was during this stationary period, that the Papal State, Vatican City, came into being, when in February 1929, the Italian Fascist Mussolini and Pope Pius XI sighed the Lateran Treaty, thus providing Roman Catholicism with an irrevocable religious and political legitimacy, its diplomatic and liturgical agenda an ever expanding universe, an theological empire spreading a tenacious, doctrinal net over an ever compliant human communion.
And again, it is not to say that all stationary tendencies are all bad because they are not, but, with the election of Donald Trump as president of a country like the United States, a well-known functional and dynamic democracy, we are already beginning to see a damming of those egalitarian rivers, impeding an unfettered flow down to the rational sea, altering a democratic torrent into a sealed and obedient reservoir. This kind of event occurs when self-preservation becomes individually tantamount, something heard repeatedly with the chants of, "Make America Great Again" when clearly that is already what America is---the biggest economic, military and cultural powerhouse the world has ever witnessed.. One might find it difficult to believe but America is more influential than the three millennium-long Ancient Egyptian Dynasty or the Roman or Inca or Mayan empires ever could be---American tentacles gripping every country and land.
But for many of America's modern voting electorate, it just isn't enough, they must have it all---all the jobs, all the natural resources, everything the world has, it must be theirs---a berserk Monroe doctrine controlling and owning not the only Western Hemisphere but planet earth itself along with the moon, and that soon to be new American territory, planet Mars. Being devotees of "Star Trek" and Star Wars," they know our known planetary system is just the beginning, the American majority longing to conquer all existent galaxies no matter how many light years away. And what exactly is a light year? Well, these stationary Americans don't know and don't care, devouring everything in their path, growing ever fatter and obscenely obese, eyes bulging out of bulbous, misshaped Patriotic heads, panting for new conquests hiding just beyond the next shining star.