When I was a kid, I remember my grandfather telling me with a lot of anger in his voice how the ruling party in Mexico would have fake legislative votes and then laugh when the opposition couldn’t muster enough support for their bills. “They just sit there and laugh, knowing that there is nothing that can be done to stop them,” he said. And it was true. For 71 years, Mexico lived under the rule of the perfect dictatorship. That was until the National Action Party (PAN, in Spanish) began to win local elections in Chihuahua. (Grandpa had a hand in that.) Then the party won local and state elections elsewhere. By the end of the 20th century, the PAN candidate won the Presidency and a peaceful transition of power happened.
Grandpa didn’t live long enough to see it.
I voted in those elections, and then I stayed up very late into the night to wait for the election returns. I almost cried as Vicente Fox stood in downtown Mexico City, proclaiming victory and promising to get to work right away. Whether or not he did all his promised was beside the point. For the first time in several generations, the ruling party was not in power anymore. We all felt a little bit safer and a little bit freer that night.
I’ll be the first one to admit to you that I’m not old enough to really say that what we’re seeing in the United States with regards to the presidential election is unprecedented, or that this is the most important election ever. (I hear that George Wallace in the 70s scared people just as bad, if not worse, than Trump — a pus-filled, oozing genital sore — is scaring people today. Still, what Trump is proposing and the people he’s aligning with are pretty scary.
Someone suggested the other day that my head would explode if Trump wins in November. It probably won’t. At least not literally.
I’ll be very sad that so many people thought that voting for him is the right thing. Sadder still that some of those people call themselves my friends. Because what’s a little xenophobia, misogyny and nationalism if the payoff is that America will be great for a thousand years or so?
But is it fair to compare the rise of populist demagogue Trump to the rise of populist demagogue Hitler? After all, one of them put all the ailments of their country on one group of people… Er… I mean, it’s not like Trump is comparing a religious/ethnic minority to invading vermin… Er…
Alright, look, it’s not like this has happened yet, and I’m sure it can’t happen here given all of the progress we’ve made in protecting the rights and freedoms of all people in this country. Why, a bunch of Black kids can go to a pool in a predominantly White neighborhood and have no problems at all.
But we have the courts, right? The courts will be a counter-weight to anything a demagogue wants to do against the people he wants to scapegoat. They’ll step in and stop injustices from happening to us.
All joking aside, the great thing about democracy is that it guarantees the people the government they deserve. If we elect Trump, then we deserve that weird juice that comes out of chicken guts before you cook them as President. If he decides to go along with his plans to be as fascist as his handlers want him to be, he won’t last long. Whether it’s four years or eight, or 71, there will always be people who will stand up to people like him.
Grandpa fought the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI, in Spanish) for a very long time. He fought them until he no longer could. Although he didn’t see their end, their end did come. I have no doubt the same will happen here.
In fact, I’ve made it a point for a very long time to go back to people who said that George W. Bush and then Barack Obama were the Antichrist, or would become despotic rulers, etc. I go back to them and ask them if their predictions came true. Of course, they come up with a ton of excuses as to why their predictions did not come true.
So maybe someone will do that with me. Someone will come back to me on January 21, 2025, and ask me if Donald Trump — the weird substance you take from an abscess with a fine needle aspiration — became Hitler. I hope I’m around to tell them he didn’t. (Not that I’ll be dead or anything. They just don’t have good internet connection in Bhutan.)
After all, it can’t happen here, right?
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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