The riot squad moves in against protesters in Medellin.
The economy and egos inflame the region
Are you going to look at it on a left to right spectrum? Are you going to look for a bad guy – or a good guy – pulling the strings?
Well, there are a lot of ideological shades to be found in our tumultuous region, and there are a lot of manipulators and others grabbing for what strings they might control. However, putting color on a tide, finding an arch-fiend behind everything and other exercises of the conspiratorial mind will not well explain the troubles around our region, which have beset governments of the left, right, center and false pretenses.
On one level, it’s just the economy. World prices of most raw materials that Latin America sells are down. Trade wars are putting people out of work on all sides of all oceans. If Panama doesn’t produce much, that’s a structural problem for our economy but our main role as a transportation, commercial and financial hub for places that do produce things is impoverished by our neighbors’ woes.
The promoters of yesterday’s orthodoxy that’s enshrined in so many of today’s laws and policies bragged about how their ideology was global, and now we see its failure on a planetary scale. Governments elected on left and right and hybrid tickets mostly bought into it and are paying the price regardless of their professed faiths.
Making it all worse is a common ego disorder that knows no political hue, the self-identification of people who come to office with “The People” and the belief or desire to make others believe that they are indispensable. All manner of corruption grows in the soil of those sorts of ego disorders. Exclusionary fanaticism, whether in partisan, religious or ethnic forms, are common variations on the theme.
Societies need to gavel their worst offenders to order and get down to some basic agreements about how they will govern themselves. Those agreements should as constitutional matters exclude the special ambitions and dibs of persons and families and leave nobody without a share and a voice. Those things have not been done. Not in Panama, not in very many places in Latin America, not in today’s USA. Which is why all the anger against those in power, fear among those in power, and temptations for opportunists who want to grab power.
Can we all step back and think about “We, The People” for a moment, without all the preconceived stereotypes? That would be a good first step toward peace in the region. But of course, some will refuse and may need to be dragged away, kicking and screaming. But first, let as many of us as possible reason together, outside of the strictures that have been imposed.
I’m an artist who is a Christian. I’m not a Christian artist.
Bear in mind…
Don’t accept rides from strange men, and remember that all men are strange.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.
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