Today’s the day, the day of the citizenry. The day on which, with their vote, the citizens will individually express their feel for the government and their expectation for the future. There have been few times that a midterm election has been so transcendental, and that is because the President has defined the moment as a dilemma: for him or against him. Rather than a clean and respectful democratic process, he is demanding a response from the citizens that is unequivocal, definitive and one that is obviously in favor of him and him alone.
The responsibility that each of us assumes as citizens is extraordinary: with a single vote each of us must choose our popular representatives and local governors. But, more than that, our vote entails a judgement of the moment in which we are living, our hopes for the future and the best way to attain them. The problem with, and the virtue of, democracy is that these must be expressed in an instant, with a mark on each of the respective ballots. What is interesting in this is that we Mexicans will find ourselves on pins and needles regarding how everyone else votes.
As we near the time to vote, it is essential for us to consider where we are, where we are going, what is next and who offers a greater degree of certainty for advancing toward the desired direction. It is evident that each citizen will evaluate distinct factors when deciding concerning their vote, but there is doubtlessly an array of elements that affect all of us, directly or indirectly, albeit in different ways.
What is exceptional about election day is not the enormous number of posts that will be settled by the citizen vote (the most extensive number to date of this young democracy), but that a midterm in itself commands such great transcendence. In a country of divided government with the president in charge of the Executive Branch, definitory elections tend to be presidential. However, given the personalistic, aggressive, and exclusionary fashion that has typified the government of President López Obrador in its first three years, the question before each voter is whether carte blanche should be conferred on its upcoming, and final, three years, or whether its way of being merits strengthening of the legislative branch to ensure the existence of an effective counterweight contributing to a more balanced country and to a president more committed to the entire citizenry.
Nobody can predict what the future holds. Notwithstanding this, there is not the least doubt that during the last decades the country has had bad governments and some that were mediocre, all promising grand solutions only to end up with shattered expectations and a sea of corruption. President López Obrador made it to the presidency due to an electorate that was fed up, to a greater degree than to the quality of his proposal of government that, in practice, has consisted of nothing other than the concentration of the power in his person.
His program of government is reduced to three infrastructure projects of doubtful relevance and a mechanism of cash transfers to his clienteles. Instead of seeking the way to generate an economic platform that permits the production of wealth and good and permanent jobs for balanced development and better income distribution, his vision is limited to handing out money without producing anything. The rhetoric can disguise many governmental acts, but does not engender incomes or permanent jobs, the latter the only means of emerging from the current paralysis, poverty, and inequality.
At the beginning of this President’s six-year term, I published a book in which I began by saying that the President had correctly identified the three principal problems confronting the country: the low economic growth rate (on average), the poverty and the inequality. However, I wrote, his proposal for tackling these was erroneous and it would fail because he would not recognize nor accept that the problem lies in the conditions under which a huge part of the population lives and that it is those conditions and circumstances that should be attacked. In place of that, the President has devoted himself to attempting to recreate the fantasy of an idyllic world that came to a halt, not by the design of those whom he calls adversaries, but because of the lack of vision of his predecessors who ended up in the doldrums, as he will, because they refused to address the problems of the reality of today.
The sharp contrasts that are the trait of Mexico today can be resolved and President López Obrador possesses the legitimacy to face up to them, but his project is blind to the political and economic reality, as well as the enormous complexity, of Mexico in the 21st century and the tremendous potential of the citizenry in all corners of the country. Returning to the impoverishing authoritarianism of the past will achieve nothing more than destroying what little advancement there has been, without building anything better along the way. But the President is not willing to consider alternatives, even those that fortify his probability of effectively eliminating those ancestral ills.
Faced with this, the citizenry must opt today, with its vote, between ratifying the path adopted by the President or constructing another way out in the form of effective counterweights that compel the population to assume its own responsibility implicit in that definition of the country’s future. Let us vote!