Mexico, the US and the myth of the good neighbour

Election night in the US has left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many Mexicans

A Trump supporter in Colorado.
A Trump supporter in Colorado.JASON CONNOLLY / AFP

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It was all a mirage; nothing was certain. We were fooled by the myth of the good neighbor. For years we believed the optimistic words of politicians who spoke of solidarity, cooperation, and a strong and exemplary relationship. Tonight we have discovered how hollow those words were. We are stuck in a thick dark mud. Election night in the United States has left a bitter taste in Mexicans’ mouths for many reasons. One of them is that we realized that gringos do not hesitate to turn their backs on much of what we admired about them.

For a long time, we Mexicans have lived looking towards our northern neighbor. We have often found an example to follow in the United States. It is a common habit among nearly all sectors of Mexican society. The poor find a way to survive and support their families. They are willing to cross the desert and risk their lives to find a job in the United States where they will live in the shadows in order to send what they can to help three, five or ten relatives get back on their feet.

Americans have elected an ignorant racist man, an insulting xenophobe

But the United States is not only the destination of poor Mexicans. The educated elite also choose America. The wealthy and educated complete post-graduate programs there. They return home with perfect English, ready to put into practice what they learned on the other side of the Rio Grande. Those who are not interested in education are willing to travel there to spend loads of money at shopping malls and for cultural and sports events.

But, last night, Americans turned their backs on the values that we admired. They have said no to a well-prepared woman who would take over from their charismatic and incomparable president. They have said no in order to elect an ignorant racist man, an insulting xenophobe who does not mind knocking down the little guy. I do not know what people from other countries think about the election but, from Mexico, it seems like Americans have abandoned everything we envied them.

We have realized gringos do not hesitate to turn away from much of what we admired about them

The decision seemed simple at the beginning of the day. They only had to make the obvious choice. But then our faith began to crumble. By the end of the night we realized that we do not live next to who we thought. The one we always thought was the good neighbor is in fact a guy who is faking his smile and who actually wants us out of his neighborhood. He would not hesitate one minute before turning us in to the police.

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