I love Mexico. I have been there dozens of times from the border to the Chiapas jungle. I love almost everything about it.
But like so many, I detest their government. It has been a disaster longer than I have been alive. And glorious as the art and architecture may be, there’s that other more depressing Mexico — the land of El Chapo, mordidas and murder — the desperate barrios you see from the cab if you accidentally stray from the Zona Rosa or Polanco or one of the other tony neighborhoods of the Distrito Federal. This is the world’s capital of income inequality.
Mexico, wonderful as it is to visit, is intolerably corrupt. Corruption in Mexico even merits its own Wikipedia entry. Most of us who have been there on multiple occasions have experienced it. I have paid a mordida to their cops myself more than once for traffic infractions I didn’t commit to avoid being hauled off to jail. It’s just the price you pay for enjoying yourself down there, sort of like meeting the troll at the bridge.
The corruption never seems to change, no matter who is in power, with a large percentage of their population living in unspeakable poverty. The misery of these people is so extreme you avert your eyes when confronted by it and try to pretend it’s not there, so it doesn’t affect you too much. But you can’t.
The USA has for generations been the stopgap for this poverty, providing work for the Central American jobless, the millions of illegal aliens in our midst, who send remittances home from the storefronts we see across Los Angeles and other cities of our country. It’s always been like that, with America, inadvertently or not, enabling this corrupt Mexican system, often for the advantage of America’s corporations but not her people. I never thought it would be different.
And then along comes Donald Trump wanting to build that wall and make Mexico (gasp!) pay for it. Needless to say, Mexican officiales went ballistic, notably former president Vicente Fox, who accused Trump of bringing back the era of the “Ugly American” and went so far as to say that Trump’s election could lead to “war” between Mexico and the United States. Other officials are taking a more modern approach, initiating a public relations campaign this June to counter the view of Mexico being promulgated by the man they call “The Clown.”
But public relations is the last thing Mexico needs. It needs change. Public relations, in this instance no more than spin on a grand scale, is the enemy of that. It simply papers over a bad situation and prevents it from improving.
Ironically, Donald Trump is Mexico’s best friend right now, not of the officials, of course, or their extraordinarily large billionaire class, but of the Mexican people themselves. By actually bottling up the border and reducing the flow to legal immigration — something that has not been done for decades, if ever — Trump and his allies are forcing the Mexican government to deal with their own problems. That’s not going to happen as long as El Norte is here to solve everything for them. It never happened while the border was open and will never happen until it’s closed.
Mexican officials and our liberal-progressives think Trump is acting like a racist, or is one, for proposing this action. But actually, whether he realizes it or not, Donald is giving Mexico a little amor duro (tough love, in Spanish) that it sorely needs, has needed for one helluva long time. Whether Mexico will be able to accept it is another matter. But that’s always the question with “tough love,” isn’t it?
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books on June 14, 2016 and is available for pre-order at the link.