En Español: America in a state of non-unique chaos


Photo by Steve Snodgrass
Photo by Steve Snodgrass

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By Alba Laragranero

El día de las elecciones de 2016, me encontré con un amigo español comprando vino en una tienda del centro. Él estaba asustado porque tenía la premonición de que Trump iba a ser el próximo presidente. Yo lo tranquilicé, en ningún momento me había tomado en serio que eso pudiera ocurrir. En mi cabeza (y en mi corazón), que Trump ganara las elecciones era un escenario que no se tenía en pie.

Unas horas después, tuve que aceptar esa realidad imposible. Y no fui la única. Recibí mensajes y llamadas desde España. Todos querían saber qué les pasaba a los americanos. Fue precisamente al leer esas preocupaciones de mis compatriotas cuando me di cuenta de que Donald Trump hubiera ganado también en mi país. Al fin y al cabo, ¿es tan diferente la supuesta persona del 2016 de lo que tenemos en España? Hice memoria.

Con cierta guasa (por la incredulidad, claro), nos escandalizábamos en campaña porque Trump hablaba de construir un muro que retuviera a los inmigrantes mexicanos que intentaran cruzar la frontera estadounidense. No sé si lo saben, pero en España tenemos unas vallas de tres metros de alto, plagadas de unas malintencionadas concertinas, que “protegen” nuestras fronteras en el norte de África. Por ahí una similitud bien fácil de trazar.

Trump ha hecho tantos comentarios machistas que sería demasiado benévolo hacia él escoger solo uno de ellos que oscureciese los demás, como si no hubieran existido. Su “grab them by the pussy” me recuerda, así, también sin pensarlo mucho al “Cada vez que le veo la cara y esos morritos pienso lo mismo, pero no lo voy a contar aquí”, que profirió hace unos años un alcalde del partido que aún nos gobierna para referirse a una ministra socialista. Pero, claro, eso fue en 2010, ¿y desde entonces? Desde entonces, nada. Es que el feminismo para otro alcalde del mismo partido, en pleno 2016, es cosa de “mujeres amargadas y fracasadas”.

En cuestiones de corrupción, España tampoco tiene ninguna lección que dar. Sigue en el gobierno un partido que, desde su fundación, ha tenido cinco de seis tesoreros imputados por la justicia. Financiación ilegal del partido, blanqueo de capitales, cohecho, delito electoral o soborno son sólo algunos de los delitos que se han imputado a miembros del Partido Popular.

Entonces, ¿de qué nos escandalizamos? ¿Cómo es posible que no comprendamos a los otros si se comportan exactamente de la misma manera irresponsable y ciega que nosotros? Yo no podía creer que iba a ganar Donald Trump, tampoco que Mariano Rajoy volvería a ser presidente, y no puedo creer que vayan a seguir en el poder sus iguales en países que no se dan por aludidos. No puedo creer que a estas alturas de la historia, cuando identificamos tan fácilmente lo que no nos gusta fuera, sigamos justificando lo de dentro. Pero ya he comprobado que no puedo fiarme de mis creencias. Espero que mi amigo me haya perdonado el optimismo preelectoral.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Translated by Spenser Santos

On Election Day 2016, I ran into a Spanish friend buying wine at a downtown store. He was worried because he had a premonition that Trump was going to be the next president. I calmed him. Not for a moment had I taken seriously the idea that it would happen. In my head (and in my heart), the idea that Trump would win the election was a scenario that just didn’t stand to reason.

Some hours later, I had to accept that impossible reality. I wasn’t alone. I received messages and calls from Spain. Everybody wanted to know what was wrong with Americans. It was precisely upon reading these worries from my fellow Spaniards that I realized that Donald Trump would have also won in my country. After all, is the supposed Person of the Year for 2016 so different from what we have in Spain? I remembered.

With a certain humor (clearly born of incredulity), we were scandalized during the campaign because Trump talked about building a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants who would try to cross the U.S. border. I don’t know if you know it, but in Spain we have some fences that are three meters tall, covered with malicious razor wire, which “protect” our borders with the north of Africa. Right there it should be easy to draw the parallel.

Trump has made so many sexist comments that it would be too charitable to him to choose only one which overshadows all the rest, as if they had never existed. His “grab them by the pussy” reminds me, then, without thinking much, of the “Every time I look at her face and those little lips I think the same thing, but I won’t say anything here” comment, which a mayor from the party that still governs us said some years ago in reference to a socialist minister. But, of course, that was in 2010, and since then? Since then, nothing. It’s just that feminism for another mayor from the same party, in the middle of 2016, is a thing for “bitter and failed women.”


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In matters of corruption, Spain doesn’t have the high ground either. There’s still a party in the government which, since its foundation, has had five out of six treasurers accused of some kind of dishonesty. Illegal party financing, money laundering, bribery, electoral crime or subornment are just some of the indictments which have been leveled at members of the Partido Popular.

Why are we scandalized, then? How is it possible that we don’t understand others who act with the same blind irresponsibility that we do? I couldn’t believe that Trump was going to win, nor that Mariano Rajoy was going to be president again, and I can’t believe that their equals will remain in power in countries that won’t take the hint. I can’t believe that at this stage of history, when we identify so easily what we don’t like from afar, we continue justifying it at home. But I’ve already proven that I can’t trust my beliefs. I hope my friend can forgive me my pre-electoral optimism.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Alba Laragranero is a Spanish MFA graduate. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 214.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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