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EDITORIAL: What do we do with our anger?

by Hortensia Azucena Picos Lee

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June 5, 2018

(Español/Spanish)

On July 1, 2018 Mexico will live through the largest and most complex electoral process that ever has been in the country. On the local level alone there will be elections in 30 of the 32 states; only the states of Baja California and Nayarit will not have elections. In addition, federal elections will be held to renew the Federal Executive (President of the Republic) and the two Chambers, the Senators and the Federal Deputies. The scenario is also complex because today the odds are that, for the first time in Mexico, there will be an alternation of three different political parties at the presidential level. In this time of campaigns, in which the struggle to convince the electorate is intense, the traditional antagonisms between the ideals of the pro-government neoliberal right and the progessive left have been exacerbated - each with its interests - with virulent confrontations that have polarized the positions of those who sympathize with one movement or another.

And this ideological segmentation is added to a Mexico that in itself is already divided. It could seem very simple to say that a country as multicultural as Mexico can be divided into two Mexicos - not three, not ten, not twenty-five - profoundly different from each other, but reality is responsible for confirming this premise. One is the 'aristocratic' Mexico -although our country is not a monarchy- represented by the large buildings on the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, the luxury cars of San Pedro Garza García in Nuevo León, and the great Porfirian houses of the Paseo de Montejo in Mérida; and the other Mexico is the impoverished one that lives in municipalities such as Ecatepec, in the State of Mexico, or in Tahdziú, Yucatán; the latter considered the poorest in Latin America.

Mexico as a whole is an enormously rich, beautiful and diverse country, but the benefit of that wealth is distributed in a brutally inequitable manner between these two Mexicos. A revealing fact is that, in 2017, the richest 1% of Mexicans concentrated 28% of the country's wealth, four percentage points more than the wealth they had in 2000. The gap between rich and poor is so dramatic that the 10 most affluent Mexicans have the same wealth, equivalent to 108 billion dollars, of that the poorest 50% of the country.

While Mexico’s 'aristocracy' does not want a change of direction and adheres with pleasure to the idea of continuity, in the other Mexico there are millions of people who have been victims of poverty and violence who do – all the more so because they are full of disgust and indignation at the corruption and impunity brought to the ultimate expression in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

And in this conjuncture all the political forces compete so that their respective proposals win the preference of these two Mexicos.They employ different strategies to take advantage of the social emotion that, beyond their individual gestures, has overflowed in anger, disappointment and grievance because the establishment not only has not favored the development of the country, it has prevented it with its structures of privileges and its contempt for the things that affect citizens in their daily lives.

We Mexicans are angry about unemployment, poverty, and violence -- and also angry with the indifferent and corrupt political class. No one could blame us for that, but irresponsibly expressing our anger by disregarding the arguments of reason is leaving aside a more important aspect: anger must serve to transform the vague hope of a better future, different from the present, in solidarity, union and conviction that acting on current reality is possible. We all hunger and thirst for justice, it is a vision that gives meaning to our life, allows us to imagine another reality and materialize it.

"In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26, NIV). Our citizen anger must be shaped by the example of the life of Jesus who on one occasion, according to the Gospels, entered the temple and became angry because he saw that the people had turned it into a market, that the house of the Lord was not respected (Matthew 21: 12-13). Another passage tells us that Jesus, being in the synagogue, was angered by the hardness of the hearts of the Pharisees, who were more interested to accuse Jesus for the breach of the Sabbath than to attend to the urgent need of a sick man. Jesus, after healing the man, angry and saddened asked the Pharisees: "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"(Mark 3: 4, NIV)

Jesus got angry but did not sin, because it was the Holy Spirit of God and not his selfishness that took over his character. Jesus' anger and protest had proper purpose, focus, motivation and timing, as we read in the Holy Scriptures. He was angry for the right reasons; He loved everyone, including the Pharisees, but it was the spiritual condition of the latter that provoked his anger.

God, in his sovereign plan, has placed authorities to govern the nations. Romans 13 offers us some interesting points, such as the fact that the apostle Paul wrote to the people of Rome, a people that had good rulers but also corrupt and ruthless emperors that ended the lives of many Christians, including Paul himself. We have to learn to exercise our rights with respect and obedience to our authorities, without insults, without violence, without actions unworthy of someone who claims to be a Christian but, overcome by anger, forgets all principles in which he or she has believed. We have the right to be angry over the moral and spiritual poverty of our political class but not to be a stumbling block to those around us.

The Word of God is not contradicted, and if we understand it properly we can understand how the gospel can influence this type of situation. At the end of everything, our duty is to pray for our country, pray for our rulers (not only for God to bless them, but to repent of their sin, 1 Timothy 2: 1-4), pray for our families and improve our environment practicing a true Christianity. We need to pray that the light of the Lord illumine our nation so we can work together and in harmony to fulfill the purpose of our life.

(Español/Spanish)



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