True patriotism True patriotism? el latino

Patriotism more than partying and shouting

It's more about exemplary behavior in one's family, community, region or country

The independence celebrations are finally over, all the gritos have been yelled: at the National Palace, at the government headquarters of each state and in thousands of municipalities throughout our country. Mexican communities abroad, as well as consulates and embassies, also joined in the celebration.

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We might have celebrated one more year of national independence with several tequilas, or maybe something else, but we are no longer hungover, although we might still have a sore throat after singing out or shouting, “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!”

However, this is a good time to ponder if that’s all there is to our patriotism, just partying and shouting, and wondering at the fireworks. Should patriotism be instead bound to exemplary behavior with one’s family, community, region or country in general?

We can’t help but ask: is a man who drinks in excess and abuses his wife a good Mexican? Are the hitmen and leaders of organized crime groups good Mexicans? Are the corrupt politicians who use public funds for their personal benefit, or that of their relatives and friends, good Mexicans?

Are those who live cheating and lying to the people? And what about those who don’t go to work but still get paid, are they good Mexicans? Or those who block streets and cause losses of thousands of man-hours and affect the regional or national economies?

What about those who abuse their power and mistreat and extort migrants, or traffic in women or children? Are all of them good Mexicans, good patriots?

It’s been said recently that Mexico is going through one of the worst crises of its history, that everything is falling apart. Others, not so good Mexicans, talk about the disaster but refrain from acknowledging that most of our problems stem from external causes, and that other countries are suffering way more than us.

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Brazil, once said to be the goal for which we had to strive as a country, finds itself involved in a serious corruption scandal that not only involves President Dilma Rousseff, but also former president Lula da Silva.

The Brazilian economy, instead of growing, will contract 2.2%, while its currency has suffered a 38% devaluation. This is the situation in which they find themselves as they prepare to host the 2016 Olympics.

Other emerging economies find themselves in very similar situations, but the critics of our government fail to note this, even those who hoped that Andrés Manuel López Obrador might become the Mexican Lula da Silva.

And, for the record, they also introduced him as the national Hugo Chávez, may he rest in peace.

Imagine that.

Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

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  • Michael McCarthy

    A great article Mr Gonzalez !

  • Güerito

    Who, exactly, are the “not so good Mexicans” (sic) the author is referring to?

  • Beau

    Excellent piece Mr. Gonzalez!

  • KR

    Justifiable observations, Sr. González. BUT…. are you suggesting that México gets ‘a pass’ simply
    because we are not the only ones suffering from these socio-political ailments? That the intra-national disease plaguing México is somehow LESS severe solely because it is a ‘condition’ shared on the international scene, too?

    If that is your suggestion, then I genuinely believe that perspective may indeed be feeding the very basis of complacent non-resolution itself, where the EZ “misery loves company” impulse is often as much an unproductively shared scapegoat for perceived ‘helplessness’, as appears to be the ever-waning understanding OF ‘El Grito’ itself……

  • I agree that so much yelling and drinking and flag waving is likely more about the party than the purpose, but it should be added that this history, told by Eduard Galeano amongst others, suggests a reason: the long history of direct imperialism (the Spanish) and indirect imperialism (the British and the Americans) creates the context. Mexican independence, just as with US independence, was simply a superficial change from being led by wealthy foreign people (the Spanish), to being led by wealthy local people. The lives of the vast majority of poor Mexicans did not change (nor did it change for poor white Americans or enslaved black Americans in the USA). Politicians everywhere succeed by speaking fine words to the multitude while lining the pockets of the wealthy. It’s as true in the US as it is in Mexico. There will never be true democracy without economic democracy. A patriot still loves their country, but continues to work toward true democracy.

    Exemplary behavior with one’s family [and] community” is in fact an excellent measure of patriotism, but some exemplary behavior upsets those with economic power. One of Jesus’ final actions before being crucified was to turn over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple (Matt 21:12). So long as he only healed the sick and fed the multitude the government (the Romans) left him alone. The moment he upset the profiteering, the State went after him. The same is true today. If people hip and holler about independence they can be mocked or congratulated, but the moment they seek economic democracy, they become un-Mexican, un-American, anti-status quo pariahs. The wealthy have nothing to worry about rollicking displays of patriotism as there is so much money to be made on tequila and cheap displays of patriotism. The wealthy only have to worry when the root of their wealth is exposed and there are grassroots calls for economic democracy.

  • G.b. Adams

    Most of the problems in the article are cultural, not foreign. That Mexicans are so willing to accept that and do little to change is the problem.

  • Henry Wilson

    I was with this columnist completely until he, like most Mexicans, fixed the majority share of the blame for all of the listed problems in Mexico on “external causes”. Wrong. The blame for the problems listed in this otherwise excellent article can be found much closer to home, i.e., by each Mexican looking in the mirror.

  • Jimmie Patriot

    Well one things for sure if we continue to allow mexicans to just come on over have as many children as you want they the children can receive gvmt benefits we are fucked as a country those that are coming are the low classes uneducated Indians vast majority for sure just like California Texas Arizona New mexico the states around them are ripe for the taking there are many negative consequences many job’s especially school teachers ect ect would be required to know Spanish. Pet population will be out of control more litter and illegal dumping crime will go up they dont value education in mexico or the environment or like others have said they stay patrioctic to a shit hole country that hasn’t done shit ro help them go figure…..it is what it is you can’t Americanize stupid ignorant people

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