Jan. 26th, 2017

chhotii: (Default)
A fellow anti-Trump activist (someone I like and respect very much) e-mails me the occasional on-line activist thing. Today he sends this, which has me scratching my head:

Everyone, write a letter to the president of Mexico, encouraging him to cancel his meeting with Trump! It's a simple thing to do.

Go to: http://en.presidencia.gob.mx/contacto/. When selecting country, we're Estades Unidos, or something like that. And pass this email on to everyone you know!

OK, first off, why would the president of Mexico care what a bunch of Americans have to say? We are not his constituents.

Secondly, whatever considerations are driving the president of Mexico to meet with Trump, they are much much bigger than what a bunch of non-constituents think of the move. Trump has said that he will "make the Mexicans pay for [the Wall]" and so far he has been surprisingly tenacious about sticking to his campaign promises. What does making Mexico pay for anything mean other than a ground war on North America, I don't know. This may be low probability but has got to be Mexico's top concern. Secondarily, I'm guessing Trump wants to shred NAFTA ASAP, and how this plays out economically for Mexico...

Even if we could make the president of Mexico cancel the meeting, why?

Beyond trying to be the new party of "nope". There is the argument that we should stand in Trump's way in whatever he is trying to do, regardless of practical importance or actual consequences, to make things just generally as frustrating as possible. If Trump wants to appoint Ben Carson HUD Secretary, we should knee-jerk try to thwart him. If Trump wants to have a good bowel movement in the morning, we should knee-jerk try to thwart him. I question whether this "party of 'nope'" strategy would work out well for the Democrats. It plays well to the left-wing base, but the moderates and the indifferent are left with the impression that all politically passionate people suck on both sides of the aisle.

Of course there's the knee-jerk "if Trump wants a thing, it must be bad." If Trump wants a meeting with the president of Mexico, a meeting between the two of them is a bad thing. Sure, that everything Trump wants is evil is true to a first-order approximation. But if we are going to win hearts and minds (and votes) in 2018 we have to be able to articulate specifically why specific things suck. The argument "Trump is just generally full of suck, period" did not win enough votes in 2016.

If one of Trump's desires is to avoid war with Mexico, do we thwart that desire too?

But if anyone has an argument for why a meeting between Trump and the president of Mexico needs to be stopped, I am all ears! And if someone could take a short spiel on this framed in terms of Mexico's interests and translate it into Spanish, that would be helpful. Probably posting the appeal in Spanish would be más efectivo. Not that the President of Mexico doesn't have staff who understand English-- I'm sure he does-- but it seems terribly arrogant to assume that.


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