2012 is not only a presidential election year for the U.S. but also for Mexico. The first televised debated occurred in Mexico between the presidential hopefuls and it was covered by television stations in a way that may surprise most Americans: it wasn’t aired. As reported by the BBC:
It is unclear how many voters were watching, with the main TV channels opting to show a dance show and a football match instead.
Ouch. For a political junkie such as myself, that one hurts. This must be what a Kardashian feels like when they walk into a room of ten people and only nine know who they are.
The lack of interest in the government, its policies, and who is running it in Mexico is no surprise considering its most recent scandal: a bribery scandal involving Wal-Mart (Mexico’s largest employer a.k.a. an entity with a lot of friends in the Mexican government) that is now almost hard to remember considering how fast it disappeared from the news cycle in just two weeks. But hey, those news organizations have bills to pay too and no reason to go after a big corporate advertiser too hard. That could hurt profits and that’s just bad business/journalism.
But the real point Americans should be paying attention to about this scandal was the reaction of the Mexican people in the aftermath. Americans should pay attention to the reaction because well…there really wasn’t one. A line from the Huffington Post sums this up:
While Wal-Mart says it is probing the allegations and U.S. Congress members are demanding answers, Mexican authorities say they have nothing to investigate.
Not everyone likes politics and that is understandable. It’s just not as interesting as watching people sift through other people’s garbage, observing overly dramatic rich people cry about nothing, or seeing some of the dumbest and most self-centered people on the planet go club hopping. Boring people in Congress stand no chance up against that. In fact, it might be the only conspiracy theory I really believe: politicians strive to make themselves so boring no one will actually pay attention to them when they are doing something horrible. It may be why Obama has attracted so much criticism. Like him or not, he is simply more engaging than others in politics when he speaks.
I’m kidding, of course, but the bigger issue here is when the people of a country, even in a democracy like Mexico or the U.S., lose interest in their leaders and their government, the government can be as corrupt as it wants with no repercussions. The Mexican people should be vehemently angry and demanding justice. But they aren’t going to get it and, because of their apparent lack of interest, they may not even know they should be angry. Americans take note. Your lack of interest can lead to these types of results.
The more explosive side note to this story is the Mexican people should be just as angry with the U.S. government as they should be with their own. It seems, recently, when something goes bad in Mexico, it is originating from the U.S. The biggest problem in Mexico is the drug war that has claimed the lives of around 50,000 people in just six years, including a gruesome slaughter of 23 people last week. (Mexico’s population is about a third of the United States so, by comparison, this would be the equivalent of 150k violent deaths in the U.S. in that time.) Heavily at fault for this drug war is the U.S. government for not tackling the problem of drug use in a rational way within its borders as well as not properly regulating the sell of the most dangerous weapons which are now being smuggled and used by these drug cartels. They are now armed well enough where sending in the Mexican military is the response by the government instead of an expansion of the now under-armed police forces.
The people of Mexico should be outraged but are not and their lack of attention is at least partly to blame. Americans should learn this valuable lesson.