|Me at Mass at La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende|
On Dreams and Democracy
In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I am a kind of Catholic, attending mass and a funeral. The priest speaks simple Spanish slowly enough that I understand some of it. But mostly I enjoy the music and wonder what the old people are praying about to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Health and prosperity, most likely.
I say “old people” though I am quite aware that I am probably older than most of them. That came home to me in the rain yesterday. I don’t feel confident walking on these wet stones, slick with rain and soap, and so I go quite slowly, prompting everyone to pass me in the street, and even one gringo to ask me if I was OK. Pretending not to speak English, I smiled wanly and walked on.
In truth, I wasn’t OK yesterday, having lost my faith in the Mexican weather and US democracy. The weather was a new disappointment; the democracy, sadly not. Still the culmination of all the atrocities of the last three years weighed down on me, and I collapsed, exhausted, after the news at 6 pm.
Today is better. I got a lot of sleep, my headache is finally gone, the sun is out and will be for the foreseeable future. I am having a gracious lunch at the best hotel in town, The Rosewood, a beautiful seared tuna on organic greens. I swing wildly from eating with poor people to now this. People in town are getting sick from food poisoning and bronchitis, but after my cold in Chiapas and last night’s sleep, I feel on top of the world.
Everyone, including the Canadians, is disgusted by US politics. And so fearful. I know there are many people whom I do not know personally – with the possible exception of my mother and brother - who are celebrating the president’s “victory” and could well elect him again. But I refuse to go down in fear and hopelessness. My energy now is going into the mass movement to end runaway inequality (www.runawayinequality.org). It is a tall order but worthy of my time and effort. Yours, too.
But beyond my “to dos” and actions that I can and will take on, Mexico reminds me that I must keep open to dreams and visions, especially the ones that seem the most impossible. My life already has been a testament to that, achieving things that no one thought me capable of, or possible, and surviving things that no one should have to go through.
So for me, death comes only when I can no longer dream. I now understand that the reason I love Mexico so much is because despite conquest, corruption and cartels, the dream has not died here. And no matter what you think of religion, or the Catholic Church, or faith, there is something much deeper and more powerful going on here than the cold exercise of reason. And I am grateful for that, to have come home to that.
[next post, more on the Mexican dream]
Copyright 2020 Constance B. Yost. All rights reserved.