Susto de guerra?
Ironically, since I live on calle 16 de Septiembre, mine is the only house flying the bandera nacional today (and a modest one — tangled in phone wires — it is). Of course, like migrants anywhere, I tend to overdo it when it comes to giving out signals that I feel I belong where I am. It’s not that I think my neighbors are “un-patriotic” or that they find the symbolism silly, but that Mexicans in general are ambivalent about the nature of the Mexican state.
Is a government that came into office with support of only a third of the voters, with serious questions raised about its legitimacy, only to be followed by one widely assumed to have been elected through massive fraud, the same as the nation… or even a reflection of the will of the nation? Local returns were overwhelmingly PRI (and local PRI headquarters is just around the corner) but the number of votes didn’t come anywhere near matching the number of residents. But low voter turnout, and even indifference to politics is not the same as indifference to national identity.
Are my neighbors simply reflecting the globalist perspective, in which nation-states are less important than economic interdependence? The two major economic engines in Mazatlán dependent on foreign trade — tourism and narcotics exports — are not particularly major employers of those of us living on calle 16 de Septiembre. Anyway, one expects a sense of being forced into colonial (or, neo-colonial) economic status usually brings out the nationalist in people.
Or maybe people just feel disconnected to the state right now. Or, after the orgy of green-white-red that lined the street for the bicentennial (when the government delivered every household a flag) was enough.
Although I haven’t been paying much attention to it, or written about it, there have been calls by what is presumed to be the “left” to boycott the national celebrations in rejection of the political and economic policies (and proposals by the incoming administration) they see as a betrayal of Mexico.
I don’t sense any loss of patriotism, nor of consciousness of Mexicanidad as something to be celebrated, but I do sense the always deep distrust of the present state — and the sense that the political and economic system is in serious need of an overhaul — goes well beyond the active “yo soy #132” activists and those that see the state’s fixation on de-nationalization and on prosecuting a “war on drugs” that has turned into a fratricidal blood-bath to no good purpose and a militarization one associates with insecure and repressive regimes.
The evidence of things unseen is troubling, but at the same time, I find those gritos AGAINST the present administration, and AGAINST supposedly necessary “reforms” a hopeful sign. It means Mexicans are giving thought and acting in defense of their country, their culture, their Mexicanidad… and not simply flag-waving.