Monday, October 26, 2009

Laying Blame a Bit Too Narrowly

Lorenzo Córdova wrote a column last week about the lamentable lack of tolerance for opposing views in Mexican politics. Most of the column was written about intolerance in the abstract, and then he ended the column with the following:
In recent days we have seen a contemptible expression of that discursive tone in the shameful dismissal that Hugo Valdemar, spokesman of the archdiocese of Mexico, made of Emilio Álvarez Icaza, one of the most recognized aspirants to occupy the presidency of the CNDH, when he stated that he was "the most noted abortionist in Mexico City".

That Valdemar doesn't agree with the positions of someone is absolutely legitimate; nevertheless, that he uses that done --especially from the position he occupies-- is worrying, because his attack just aggravates even further a society that is already polarized and that is increasingly susceptible to the logic of the good and the bad, friends and enemies, that, instead of expressing a democratic vocation, foments precisely the emphasis on contrasts that feeds authoritarianism.
I agree with the argument, and I agree that the comment was ugly. Nonetheless, it strikes me as willfully misleading to write about the lack of tolerance for the other side in Mexico without at least mentioning the famous politician who refers to his adversaries as "the mafia" (even in book-length form), or his allies who have more than once taken over public spaces to protest legislation of which they disapprove. Such activity from some of the nation's most recognizable officials would seem to be not only much more divisive in and of itself, but also much more consequentially so than a regrettable comment from an unknown Church spokesman.

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