Get Out the Vote
The Mexican presidential elections have been a freaking mess. I voted for the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderón, who almost everyone agrees won the election. But the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador is making a mess out of this by claiming electoral fraud. Does the Mexican have an opinion of Mexican politics? Or do you -- as many pochos I know -- not give a shit about what happens in Mexico?
A Mexican in Mexico City
Sí y no. On one hand, Mexicans in the United States care even more about the going-ons south of the border than Mexicans in Mexico. Why else would we send billions of dollars in remittances, the country's second-largest source of revenue after oil, to bolster the lives of lazy pendejos like you? But the recent Mexican presidential elections revealed a fascinating paradox: Despite our investments in la patria, we don't care much about Mexico's emerging democracy. Polling revealed that out of the four million eligible Mexican voters who live in the United States, only 28,000 cast a ballot -- a woeful .7 of 1 percent. And out of those who did vote, 58 percent sided with Calderón, the free-market proponent, over the populist Obrador, who rails against the Yanquis and seeks to take our billions in remittances and hand them out to idiot Mexicans who haven't got the good sense to flee for el Norte. Mexico's election results prove again what the Mexican repeats, mantra-like, to the Sensenbeaners and Gilchrists of the world: Not only do Mexicans in the United States not care about Mexican politics (as long as the government keeps their hands off those billions, that is), but the United States transforms even the wabbiest wab into an individualistic, laissez-faire lover of liberty who hates the welfare state. And you want to alienate these dyed-in-the-wool conservatives why? Besides, not voting in elections is as American as Old Glory.
Okay, so I got it that the World Cup was a huge deal and everyone gets excited -- and so I also get why whenever anyone hits a goal, the announcer drags out the "¡¡¡¡¡Goooooolllllll!!!!!" part for, like, five minutes. But what's with ALL the drama? Because it never stops. Why do ALL Mexican radio and television announcers make even the simplest phrases like "five minutes" ("ciiiiinnnnncooooo minuuuuutooooossss") sound like the end of the world?
I forwarded your query to my amigo Esteban Colberto, Spanish-language correspondent for The Colbert Report, but his tongue got stuck rolling the letter r in my last name. My theory regarding our over-excited locutores: It's a habit borrowed from real life. Resourceful Mexicans already stretch out everything in their lives -- under-the-table salaries, privacy in houses shared with seventeen other people, fake Social Security cards passed around dozens of friends -- so why not vowels and consonants? Not only that, but Spanish is the most fun language outside tongue-click-heavy Xhosian to pronounce: full of fricatives, affricates and dipthongs; palatal nasals (the infamous "ñ" sound) and lateral approximants (the "ll" that sounds like the gabacho letter y); deep oooooooooooos, high aaaaaaaaaaaas and iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis; and the alveolar trill, the double-r roll that sounds like a Harley rumbling through a suburban morning. English's most enjoyable sound? The gnashing of teeth whenever a Mexican takes the job of another lazy gabacho.
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