Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
- Community Blog
- Living in El Fin Del Mundo
(Author's note; The following story was meant to be posted before the recent elections but was delayed by the trouble I had posting the 'Angry Guy' story. Although it's dated,it is the companion piece to Red buses vs White buses and I feel it still contains relevant information.
Elections just concluded north of the Wall of Shame and they are about to take place south of it on July fourth. I have to admit, I did not drag my ailing carcass to the polls this time around. As a matter of fact, the last time I voted, was for Obama in 2008. I won't make that mistake again.)
My experiences with elections are confined to the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana. I've experinced enough of them to know that there are similarities and differences. By far the strongest characteristic that all three cities share is the bombardment of political commercials on television. I can understand this perfectly. I firmly believe that the more television you watch the dumber you are. So if the politicos must spend union and corporation money, it should be to repeat the same ads over and over again because the idiots rooted in front of the boneboxes are going to need the message pounded into them. Of course, those same people are probably too ambivalent to go out and vote anyway but hey - when in Rome.
I was raised by my grandparents in East Los Angeles. They regularly held elections at our house. One of the first things I learned about politicians was that most of them are more interested in feathering their nests than making the world a better place. Ditto for San Diego and Tijuana.
Big business and unions play a role in mobilizing ground forces on both sides. We all know which taxi companies and bus companies are voting for whom around Tijuana these days. Just look for a bumper sticker. I myself have been given a bunch of stuff. Flip flops, visors, pens, hats, t-shirts and of course bumper stickers. All with one party logo or another on it. Election time in Mexico is when the trinkets flow. All of this stuff is handed out by 'volunteers.' From a purely asthetic view, I like the bright yellow stickers and sun logo of the PRD(Although, if you ask me, the party's future doesn't look as bright) They turned off a lot of supporters with their internal rifts and goofy alliances.
Speaking of volunteers, an acquaintance of mine told me that the owners of the club where she works regularly sends the waiters out into the streets to promote the PRI. It makes perfect sense to me. The nightclubs have been around Tijuana for a long time. They were a political force around here before the PAN was. So you would think that their ties ould be strongest with the old regime(PRI). The word amongst Tijuana bars is that the PRI are going to return to all night hours. So a lot of those volunteers really are volunteers. Everybody's earning less these days because of the curtailed hours and so the PAN can forget about that vote.
The PAN claims that they curbed nightclub hours for security reasons. Some PRI supporters feel that it was done to deplete the power of the club owners who are assisting in the PRI resurgence. Less hours open, less money in their coffers to funnel to PRI candidates.
From what I see on television some of the transportation companies aren't too happy with the PAN either. Recently, many of them protested the policies of the present administration. There were two companies that were conspicuosly absent at the rallies held outside El Palacio(City Hall). The tiny white buses that service the remote barrio where I live(and thanks to the PAN have a monopoly on the area) and the yellow taxi cabs that prey on unsuspecting tourists.
My uncle is a semi retired professor who's lived in San Diego most of his life. One day we were talking and I related to him a conversation that took place between myself and a source familiar with a certain cartel. The man said that all the cartels 'courted' up and coming politicians. By whatever means necessary, the cartels would compromise these poiticians so that by the time they reached national levels of power the cartels already had them 'in the bag.' When I said this to my uncle he chuckled. "We do the same thing here,"he said. "We just legalized it and call it lobbying."
Uncle Cruz is the smartest man I know and the last mentor I have left since the deaths of his father and uncle(my grandpa). But sometimes I don't know if he's joking or not.
One thing that I never saw in LA or SD elections was the buying of credentials. Your credential is the ID you use to vote. Five hundred pesos(about forty something dollars) is the standard rate I'm told. You give them your ID, they make a photo copy of it and then have you sign a paper or give a thumb print.Then you get your money and your ID back. I'm not sure if this nullifies your vote for the opposition and/or allows your vote to go to the party dishing out the cash. I'm a little curious to know but around here curiosity has killed more than one cat and this snaggle toothed, old alley survivor is just beginning to enjoy life.
A PRI supporter recently insisted to me that the PAN was engaging in the nefarious tactic of buying credentials. I thought it was kind of funny because if I'm not mistaken the same tactic was used by the PRI to stay in power for over half a century.It is such an ingrained part of Mexican politics that a commercial spotlighting it runs regularly on the airwaves. It does say a lot about the PAN though if people are willing to bring back the PRI.
I once favored one political party in Mexico but no longer do. Just as I once favored one political party in the US but no longer do.
There were two things that the PAN did in Tijuana that lost me. The first was the 'white topping' or repaving of a lot of major thoroughfares. A lot of which didn't seem to need it. At the same time the many dirt streets in Tijuana remained dirt. Accept when it rains and they turn to mud. I'm sure it made a lot of money for the cement company that supplied the city and a handful of jobs for a few well connected Tijuanenses but it sure caused a mess for commuters. Instead of working a section or two at a time it seemed like every major road was torn up at once. It took forever to get anywhere and it seemed to me like the administration just didn't care. Because despite all the griping from locals they continued the strategy. Right over the cliff.
My second complaint is more iof a peeve. You see I'm a plant lover and unabashed tree hugger. The present administration has begun construction of a huge complex beside the present Palacio. Its construction will involve the cutting down of many trees. City officials have said that when they are done the area will actually have more trees(which I don't believe). But they don't say what kind. Will they be mature and tall, like the shade giving ones that are there now? Or rows of spindly saplings that probably won't shade many Tijuanenses in their lifetime?
As for why Obama lost this dem it's simple. It's all about the pain of deportation. Several generations ago, during the great depression, deportation of Mexican nationals was as rampant, racist inspired and out of control as it is now. Among those deported was my great grandfather. While trying to return he was murdered. His children, who'd been born in the US had chosen to stay in the US and he was trying to visit them. When my grandfather told me the story over a half a century later, I could hear the pain in his voice. He'd never gotten over the death of his father like that. The breaking up of families by deportation already happened in our past. It was immoral then and it's immoral now.
COFFEE's READY, GOTTA GO!!!
More like this:
- Vote recount in Baja elections changes nothing — July 16, 2013
- PRI = Permitting [Once-] Restricted Intoxicants — July 2, 2012
- Red buses vs White buses (A tale of two political parties) — July 14, 2010
- Small Deeds, Big Payoff — Aug. 16, 2007
- We'd Like to Know More About Our Policemen — April 20, 2000