An article in the CSM points out one of the more surprising realities of the third presidential debate: a complete failure on both candidates’ part to mention the drug war in Mexico and the 60,000+ casualties it has claimed in the past six years. One quote from the article sums up the bizarre nature of this issue and is a reflection on the American media’s attention span:
Mexican academic Sergio Aguayo added, using a more commonly cited figure for Mexican deaths: “They talk about a humanitarian tragedy in Syria (30,000 deaths) and still don’t say anything about Mex (some 60,000). Will they?”
There are lots of elements deserving blame for the failure to address this issue by the candidates. One is most certainly the media. The old adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” will always apply but with one caveat. If it bleeds slowly, it never leads and sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves. There is no doubt the number of deaths in Syria are happening at a quicker pace than Mexico. But not by much and not by enough to completely ignore the most devastating issue of the country on our southern border.
Another factor is the controversial nature of two domestic issues connected with the Mexican Drug War, the U.S.’s gun and drug policies. The third debate was about foreign policy so no surprise these issues did not come up. But both are directly connected with the violence in Mexico and having a debate about the drug war there must include a look about the causes at home. Unless some reasonable changes are made to these policies, the violence and body count will continue to escalate because of our turning a blind eye as a nation to the Mexican population.
One last obvious aspect to blame would be the moderator of the debate not asking a specific question about the Mexican Drug War. We could blame Mr. Schieffer but let’s not forget one reality about politicians. They answer the questions they wanted asked of them and not always the actual question that was asked. Which means the increasing violence and civilian casualty count in Mexico is so far out of the minds of both candidates that they can spend an hour and a half on foreign policy and not mention it once.
We are left to wonder what the body count in Mexico would have to be to get some attention in a presidential debate solely on foreign policy.