Saturday, February 13, 2016

While in Mexico

If he wants to stand next to the border in a show of solidarity with potential immigrants, that's all fine and dandy.  Nevertheless, I hope the Pope does put his foot down on the corruption and the contemptible level of misery that the Mexican government has enabled all these decades.

They say he will speak to the problems in the government, especially the drug cartels and the rampant crime.  Crime, it should be said, that is happening in a country without a death penalty.  So the notion that eliminating the death penalty will bring some happy garden of paradise is off the table.  For that matter, Mexico has strict gun laws as well.  Far more restrictive than the US.  And yet it's a killing field down there.  Mexico actually goes a long way toward rebutting many progressive ideas that if we just do this or that, or accept this liberal policy or that restriction, all will be right with the world.

In some countries, usually in Europe, that is occasionally the case.  Though not always.  And it has been argued that Europe's biggest crisis, apathy, is more behind the low crime rates and violence than any divinely mandated gun restriction or socialist policy.

The fact is, Mexico has been a mess for a long, long time.  Even as far back as the 90s, observers like Ron Sider were willing to point out that Mexico had serious issues.  Sure, we can blame America to some point.  Most will.   But like the problem with Obama's constant drumbeat that the economy is entirely Bush's fault, there comes a time when you just can't sit around and blame everyone else.  At some point, you have to fix the problems.

And if the US has a problem handling the massive number of immigrants from south of the border, those countries have a problem that has caused the immigrants to flee in the first place.  In fact, judging from the approach Mexico is taking with Pope Francis regarding immigration, it appears that people leaving the country has become an accepted part of economic calculations, and that's just the problem that people like Sider observed.  You can't be so bad that you assume people fleeing for their lives is simply part of the equation.

I don't know what Pope Francis will say.  All accounts indicate he is going to hold Mexico's feet to the fire.  That is good.  The US can be mentioned, but it should not be the focus.  If he critiques Mexico for all its problems, I hope he does so in such a way that actually holds Mexico to account, and is not some thinly veiled swipe at the country in El Norte. 

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