Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Always Negative

How Can One Country Be So Guilty?

By Patrick Osio, Jr

There is a sector in the United States that no matter what the issue or occasion when it comes to Mexico, the spin is always negative. To this sector, Mexico can never do right and Mexico is always out to hurt or take advantage of the U.S. That such sector exists is not surprising because there has always been, and will forever be, people of such mentality be it about Mexico/Mexicans, Blacks, Jews, Catholics, Asians, Arabs, or of a multitude of other ethnic or religious groups.

What is surprising is that there are so many people who hear or read such negative spins who believe or not even question the often times absurdity of what they are hearing or reading.

Let's take some examples.

For three years the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico was the subject of intense negotiations, hearings and debates. During this period, dire warnings about doing business with Mexico were broadcasted by the negative-Mexico sector. Mexicans can't afford US goods; Mexicans cannot be relied to live up to the agreement; Mexicans will take jobs away from US workers; and on the spin went.

Prior to the agreement, Mexico's tariff system was unfavorable to the US. US made cars could not be imported and when done so it was with better than 100-percent tariff. Electrical and electronic goods could not be imported with less than 100-percent tariff; corn was under quotas with high tariffs, and on it went. NAFTA removed these barriers, and US products became easily accessible to the point that Mexico is now second only to Canada as the best US client. On the other hand, Mexican products exported to the US were taxed a the lowest rate as a developing country which meant US tariffs averaged less than 6-percent. Clearly the US has been the biggest winner in NAFTA.

Within NAFTA there were sections dealing with transportation. This section, agreed and signed by the three countries, allowed for US trucks to enter Canada and Mexico; Canadian trucks into the US and Mexico and Mexican trucks into the US and Canada.

The negative-Mexico sector hollered and screamed and the media loved the controversy publishing every argument, sane-insane, idiotic or moronic as fact without question. The main argument was and continues to this date, that Mexican trucks and their drivers pose eminent danger to the children, women an males of the US because they will be killed or at best maimed by the unsafe trucks and amateur Mexican drivers.

There was of course no evidence presented with the arguments, simply because none exists. How can it? Mexican trucks are not allowed on US highways so there cannot be evidence. And, no thought was given as to how it is that Mexico manages to move its commerce within their country. But facts and evidence is not a requisite, spinning the perception is enough. And, sadly far too many people buy into it.

In the agricultural section of NAFTA, Mexican avocados were to be allowed entry beginning in 1997. Here again the spin to revoke that section was the subject of intense negative-Mexico publicity. Full page ads were purchased by avocado associations and growers claiming that allowing Mexican avocados would destroy the entire US avocado industry, because plagues, weevils and as of yet undiscovered pests would be brought with Mexican avocados.

Yet, Mexico is the country that gave the world the avocado that has been growing there for around 5,000 years. Mexico is the world's largest producer of avocados and exports them to nearly all countries in the world. So we were to believe that US avocado growers were fighting for citizens' health and to prevent the eradication of their industry while stressing this was not an "economic issue." And sadly, people bought into it without questioning why avocados cost US consumers better than a dollar each, while Mexican consumers can buy them for ten to fifteen cents each.

The same negative-Mexico sector also argues that Mexican immigrants – legal and illegal – just don't want to assimilate into the greater scheme of what the US is. They continue to speak Spanish and celebrate Mexican holidays, and continue to favor Mexican music and food. Surely, they say this is proof that there is no intention to assimilate.

Following that logic, can it be said that Native Americans don't want to assimilate? They insist on keeping their languages, traditions and cultures alive and passing it on to their children. What's with them?

Irish-Americans don't assimilate they insist on river dancing, holding a parade on the 17th of March, they frequent Irish pubs, and worse - root for Irish soccer teams and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Tell me they're assimilated.

Chinese celebrate their New Year with parades and firecrackers, which is not the same as for assimilated Americans. They open Chinese food restaurants and, continue to speak their ancestral language. Now there is a non assimilated group.

And don't get me started on Italian-Americans – aren't they all Mafioso? And those who aren't insist on throwing out Italian words when speaking and sing Italian romantic ballads, and who gave them permission to hook assimilated Americans with their pizza's and all those non-assimilated pasta dishes? And, what's with the Columbus Day parade?

What about Germans with their October Fest days; Scots with Scottish rites? Japanese with Sushi? And the Pollocks who go as far as having Polish language newspapers. Surely no one says they're assimilated.

The negative-Mexican sector makes no bones about all these other non-assimilated Americans. No, the fuss is simply about Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. It makes one wonder if there are not some dark souls behind all this.

Ah, the hell with it. Bartender, serve me another tequila shot and get me some more tortilla chips and salsa.

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