Kids say the darnedest things
It’s always kind of cute, when every year, 300 fifth and sixth graders (ten to twelve year olds in the Mexican system) from around the country are brought to the capital, and — after a tour of the city, get to meet the President, and then head over to the Chamber of Deputies for the annual Parlamento Infantil, in which they role-play as Deputies. Turning the saying that “Children should be seen, and not heard,” some of the kids took full advantage of the opportunity to be heard (and seen) in a way few Mexicans get a chance to do.
Eleven year old Axel Gael Romo wowed the crowd, and perhaps shocked some of his elders, with his demands for an end to corruption.
Mexico is already tired of the corruption, the gas price hikes, of Donald Trump. We are tired and we want a better Mexico: yes we can, because we can achieve it. So today, if you allow me, I want to invite Mexicans not to give up. Why can we not be a nation free of corruption, I ask myself. Why not? We need honest government. Down with corruption! The injustice must end! This is not the 19th century, this is not a monarchy. We need to change, NOW!.
The field trip to Los Pinos brought out the best in two other child parliamentarians. Having been exposed to both the luxurious Los Pinos and having been put up in a high-end hotel, young Ricardo Ibarra Tapia from San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, brought along a visual aid when he took the podium. A photo of a man living in the streets, he also touched on corruption, and asked why the President was living so large, when others in Mexico lacked even the basics.
The government hoards its money and we will not tolerate it anymore. I have seen in the street how much poverty there is; Here is a photo to show to my colleagues. He is a man who is living in the street …We have had it with corruption. The Mexican eagle has been chained, and must be set free!
Young Ibarra had an excellent suggestion for the “real” legislators. Put children on a citizen’s committee in every state to oversee anti-corruption measures. The boy — who hopes to be a surgeon someday — wielded his rhetorical scalpel still futher when he questioned why the Legislators stayed in luxury hotels: “Meeting in them is a waste of time. It would be useful if [legislators] did what we asked. This would be a better country”.
Of course, the quotable youngster was also asked about Donald Trump, whom he described… as one would expect…as “really bad, and truly loco”. Like everyone else, he noted that Mexico is a major commercial partner of the United States and a wall would create chaos.
In from Jalisco, first-time member of the Parlamento Infantil, Lesly Esquivias, had a slightly different view of the Trump effect… seeing Peña Nieto’s reponse to the possibility of mass deportations from the United States, as showing the Mexican president’s timidity and failure to do his job.
What the president does not want is for all the people who are there come here because it would mean inveting money in feeding people, in using resources. He does not want to fight, he wants an easy life. Well, as President, he has to do his job, not what he wants.
The new constitution for the State of Mexico City lowers the voting age to 16. With kids like Axel, and Ricardo, and Lesly, I’m wondering if we shouldn’t lower that to… oh… say ten? Or, maybe better yet, replace the adults in our legislature with people who aren’t there to play… you know… kids.