Talking to a Wall

At first, Tuesday night seemed like one of those jokes that pop up online: Donald Trump is coming to Mexico. Almost like when soccer fans went nuts for the mock signing of Landon Donovan to the Mexican Football League.

But last night it stopped being a joke. It looked more like a mockery.

The anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican campaign platitudes resumed like clockwork in Arizona. Trump does not budge, nor will he ever give up. Doing so would stop him from being who he is, which has gotten him to where he is now: a flailing campaign that needed a trip to Mexico to stay afloat. In any case, nothing is going to save him.

Trump took his campaign to Mexico, the country he has scorned and insulted. The nation where evil-doers, thieves, killers, rapists, and drug dealers come from. He came here on a campaign stop, nothing else.

Even though Trump took advantage of the opportunity, the president of Mexico showed goodwill and provided benefit of the doubt (undeservedly) by inviting both Hillary Clinton, and much to our chagrin, Trump. For the time being, Clinton has not accepted the offer, and instead expressed surprise that someone who espouses an anti-Mexican doctrine would be greeted with open doors. Open heart, open mind. Waste of time, say others. Me included.

Talking to Trump is a fool’s errand. There is nothing to say to a man whose racist and xenophobic stubbornness is impervious to other ideas, if you could call his obsessions “ideas.” A one-sided dialogue of nonsense. It’s easier to grasp the concept of a border wall made of brick. Trump is not deaf; he’s arrogant and stubborn.

Like Juan Gabriel sang, “Pero qué necesidad …” Why bother …?

The president sees it as a matter of finding out if the offensiveness can be explained, or if Trump has gone too far. A discussion is an exchange; not just listening to different words.

But Peña Nieto explained it like this:

“My priority as president of Mexico and that of my government is to protect the Mexican people wherever they are. That is my responsibility and I will continue to do so to the utmost …The Mexican community in the U.S. contributes every day with its labor, talent, and creativity to the prosperity and development of the United States and Mexico.

“Mexicans in the United States are honest and hardworking, they are good people, they respect family, they respect community life, and they respect the law … As such, Mexicans deserve respect from everybody … We continue working to solidify the relationship between Mexico and the United States, one based on mutual respect, trust, and attention to mutual challenges that we have in common.”

Then, the president let it be known that he would not finance the impossible, unacceptable border wall, with which Trump intends to divide North America. He went on to defend the effectiveness of the North American Free Trade Agreement using arguments that Trump simply does not care about.

“In matters of trade, I shared with Mr. Trump my conviction that the North American Free Trade Agreement has done a lot of good, both in the U.S. as well as in Mexico.

“Exports from the United States to Mexico are nearly $200 billion a year and according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than 6 million U.S. jobs rely on exports to Mexico.

“Our country purchases more goods from the United States than from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan and the U.K. combined.

“Many manufacturing jobs in the United States did not move to other regions of the world precisely because together we have developed a competitive manufacturing platform in the North American region.

“On average, 40 percent of Mexican exports are made in the United States.

“As partners, we must work together to avoid sources of employment leaving our region.”

All those are sensible arguments, characteristic of a civilized relationship. But not a single one of them will move Trump’s line. Worst of all, not a single one of them will be able to justify for many Mexicans the indignity of welcoming a man whom many consider so disagreeable for Mexico.

For his part, Trump took up his macho and defiant stance:

“Having a secure border is a sovereign right and mutually beneficial … We recognize the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders to stop the illegal movement of people, weapons, and drugs.

“The cooperation to achieve this shared goal, and it will be a shared objective for the safety of all citizens, is vital, both for the United States and Mexico.” Huh??

As I said, talking to Trump is a waste of time, even if he may (I doubt it) win the presidency in Washington.

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