11 February 2009
Not as you think.
A few years ago, when my nephew made his First Communion, I sat at my sister-in-law's house and talked to her in-laws. They're conservative Catholic folk, and therefore in general, we don't see eye-to-eye. I try, really, I do, to keep my liberal lefty opinions to myself, but I don't always succeed.
As I talked to her brother-in-law about politics and public policy, the conversation turned towards some of my pet issues; the death penalty, among other things. Eventually, he sat back, laughed, and said to me, "You are NOT as liberal as you think you are."
I told him we'd have to agree to disagree on that. But.....
Last night, as I was driving home, I heard just a portion of this story, enough to make me remember to seek out the full audio and listen later. It is about the drug problem in Mexico, and the official response of the United States' government to the same.
My gut reaction to this was annoyance, and I surprised myself by saying to the radio, "and this is MY problem, as a US taxpayer, how exactly?" No, me talking to the radio was not the surprise. I do that all the time.
I don't take illegal drugs. (Nope, I save my money for the legal ones, eyeroll.) The drug cartels in Mexico aren't what we need to be spending taxpayer money on right now, people. It annoys me that Mexico has its hand out, looking for money from the United States to solve problems in Mexico, of Mexican creation. Their police force is corrupt. Their jails are apparently a sham. The cartels run things any way they see fit, committing murder, kidnappings, extortion....and they want the United States to fix this? Buh?
And wow, that is about the most conservative right-leaning thing I've ever typed OR said.
I understand the argument that without the United States and the voracious appetite on this side of the border for cocaine and weed, there wouldn't be a drug problem in Mexico, but with respect, I disagree. There's a market for illegal drugs the world over, and it was a very long time ago that the US had the largest population in the world. After China, and India, the United States ranks third in population size, and somewhere, someone besides Americans on American soil, are buying Mexican product.
When did the US become the world's ATM? Why does the perception that we have oodles of money to be handing out over every third-world nation conundrum persist? GLOBAL Financial Crisis, anyone?
This all makes me wonder, too, if I would feel differently (i.e. more leftist) about this issue if the US economy were not hemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate and several of our biggest industries - financial, automobile manufacturing - weren't on the precipice of complete disaster.
I'd like to think so.