Friday, May 5, 2017

La Fiesta de los Bad Hombres

If you were to ask me which of my posts represented my pinnacle of snark, I would have to say that it would be my Cinco de Mao post, which hit on a whole host of right-wing calumnies against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. I'm chagrined that a troglodyte who actually believes those calumnies is the current resident in the White House. I miss the smart guy... I really do.

It's weird how the Trump Maladminstration decided to have the Vice President even acknowledge the day, even though his message rang hollow in the face of a long litany of lies about Mexicans promulgated by his boss. If I were a Mexican immigrant, I'd would not be reassured by Pence's assertion that Trump has made Latinos 'a priority'. Several conversations with Latino friends has convinced me that Trump making Latinos 'a priority' is the last thing that they want.

Most of the local Mexican-immigrant population in my neck of the woods is from Jalisco and Michoacan states, immigration from Jalisco starting in the 1960s, with Mr Taco being a local fixture since 1981. According to local legend, a politician vacationing in Guadalajara was so taken with his tour guide that he offered the man and his wife jobs if they were willing to emigrate, and they became the nucleus of the Mexican immigrant community.

Cinco de Mayo is a specifically Pueblan holiday. My go-to Pueblan informants are the guys who run the taco stand at 4th Ave and 9th St in Brooklyn, and I make a point of talking post-Trump politics with them whenever I leave the beautiful Bell House. Once, I asked the proprietor if he made the famous chicken mole poblano, and he laconically joked, "Sí, en mi casa." I'll be seeing him in three weeks, and I'm sure we'll have a lot to talk about. He's a good hombre, like the vast majority of Mexicans who have immigrated to the United States.

The real news regarding U.S.-Mexican relations is Trump's decision not to terminate NAFTA. He must have been shown a map of the Americans who would be adversely affected by a Mexican boycott of American corn. One of the tragic legacies of NAFTA was the flooding of the Mexican food market with subsidized American processed food, which drove down prices and forced a lot of farmers off of their land. The jobs in the maquiladoras, many in Puebla, that the farmers flocked to lacked the job safety and wage protections that characterized American jobs at the time (we have since participated in a race to the bottom), and then many of them disappeared when China became the go-to place for cheap outsourcing.

NAFTA could have worked, if there had been provisions to raise the standard of living for the Mexican workers, the situation for the Mexican, American, and Canadian populations would be vastly better than they are these days. The problem is that the trade agreement mainly benefits the bad hombres who negotiated it.


mikey said...

Hmm. Pesky facts tell an alternative story. Mexico's economic quality of life has been improving quite steadily since the passage of NAFTA:

[This is a lot easier on Facebook where you can just paste in the image/graphic you are referencing, but I hung this one on so you could access it as easily as possible...

mikey said...

Also, too, the Battle of Puebla, 5 May, 1862 is a fascinating, tremendous story of an outnumbered infantry holding out and ultimately defeating Napoleon's forces along a line between two small forts. Of course, it's a classic example of 'won the battle, lost the war', but that day is one Mexicans right take a LOT of pride in - the courage and tenacity of their troops is an example for all....

Emma said...

I'm not well-versed enough in economics to say with confidence that NAFTA was a great or terrible thing, one way or the other, for anyone. But my father is a retired coalminer, and his affiliation with the AFL-CIO through the UMWA made NAFTA a dinner-table topic when it was being crafted in the 90s. He wasn't a fan. He considered it to be a Republican profit machine designed to provide wealth aid to the people who owned the manufacturing industry, and he (and everyone he knew) thought it would begin a process that would destroy the kind of high-salary blue-collar jobs that made it possible for Americans to live a decent life without starting from a position of privilege. He was enraged that Clinton supported it. Lol.

That doesn't mean, of course, that NAFTA should be scrapped now, or that Donald Trump is the hysterical infantile fuckmonster who should attempt to "renegotiate" it. Or that the average Mexican citizen's SES score improving isn't something the average American shouldn't be interested in on its own terms. I am happy to see conditions getting better for anyone, anywhere.

I think the problem here is that the rich are too rich, and need to have the trousers taxed off them — and that if we could think about Mexican people (undocumented immigrants or not) as being our partners in that effort instead of the Scary Brown People here to rape our Freedom Fries, or whatever, it might actually get accomplished.

But, you know. I'm a stupid leftist, who is, depending on the argument, either unrealistically fascistic or libertarianesque.

Speaking of which! I didn't know there were such things as "mulato chiles." I was brought up identifying myself racially as a "mulatto," and used that designation for years until white college students on Tumblr informed me that I was harming them with my use of a racist slur. So. Whatever. I've been going with "mixed," lately. Not as pretty a word, but I don't like to get the children down.

I dislike mole aggressively.