Bridges, Not Walls

If you had been here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, yesterday with me, you would have seen and perhaps played a part in a demonstration held in the afternoon near the Jardin (central square) in front of the towering Parroquia church.

This well-attended, peaceful political demonstration, organized by Democrats Abroad SMA, in partnership with the Center for Global Justice, seemed to capture the attention of the throngs of Mexicans who’d gathered in the Jardin to celebrate the commemoration of their own Revolution this weekend. They looked at us, wide-eyed; they smiled and nodded, and gave us thumbs-up; they chanted along with us, “Solidaridad!” and “Viva Mexico!”

Mexicans in the Jardin yesterday afternoon
Mexicans in the Jardin yesterday afternoon

They took pictures of us with their cell phones. They gleefully applauded our efforts. One young Mexican woman, seeing my sign with Trump’s name on it, with a diagonal red slash through it, looked at me, smiled and said, “Oh, good! Thank you so much!”

We held up a big banner reading “No Al Muro” (No to the Wall), as well as lots of signs, in both English and Spanish, such as: “Bridges, not Walls,” “Not My President,” “Viva Mexico,” and “Solidaridad!” (solidarity).

My turn to help hold up the big "No to the Wall" banner
My turn to help hold up the big “No to the Wall” banner
Demonstrators holding up "No Al Muro" (No to the Wall) banner in SMA yesterday
Demonstrators holding up “No Al Muro” (No to the Wall) banner in SMA yesterday

My fellow-demonstrators seemed to me to be a lot like me: retirement age and grateful to be living in a place where the people are tolerant and embracing, where our retirement savings and Social Security checks go much farther than they would in the U.S., where the weather is sunny most days, and everything one looks at is colorful and beautiful.

If you had been there with me, you would have been handed a piece of paper with a statement on it – in English on one side, Spanish on the other – expressing the purpose of this vigil, saying in full:

U.S. EXPATS IN SOLIDARITY WITH OUR MEXICAN NEIGHBORS

As U.S. citizens in Mexico we are outraged by the recent election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. We loudly declare that Donald Trump lost the popular vote and was deceitful and dishonest during the election process and therefore has lost any legitimacy.

We stand together to share our concern about how this Presidency will impact the Mexican People here and in the United States. We are also concerned with the destruction of the Earth’s environment and the loss of safety net programs in the United States.

We continue to be gravely concerned with the racism and xenophobia so prominent in his election campaign. This does not represent the values we and most U.S.-ians hold. And it is an insult to our neighbors here in Mexico who so warmly welcomed us to their country.

We call on all conscientious U.S. citizens in San Miguel to take a strong stand for wisdom, tolerance and understanding in the days ahead. We pledge our all to defend the Earth and all of its peoples with compassion and love during the coming dark days.

Viva Mexico, Viva USA and Viva North America, of which we are all a part.

Remember, for evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good people to do nothing.

 

It felt good to do something – instead of just anguishing — to take a stand with other caring, well-meaning Americans who are intent on building bridges instead of walls. I wish you could have been there with me.

 

10 thoughts on “Bridges, Not Walls”

  1. I wish I could have been there with you too, Bonnie. I know the feeling of doing something other than anguishing. Yesterday was my second Sunday, back at the Unitarian Church. It is comforting to be with “like minded people”. Hoping the Democratic Party cleans house and rebuilds. I’ll do everything I can to help. Sending a big hug your way! ❤️

    1. Ah, Arti, you’re not the only Unitarian among my readership! My friend Barb (who often comments on this blog too) is the President of the UU congregation in Taos. You see — Unitarians elect women presidents! 🙂

  2. Bonnie, I wanted to cry reading this. How beautiful to get support and sympathy from the Mexican people, who have recently been so maligned in the USA. You are in such a great place. I hope I can join you someday and learn how to speak Spanish fluently. Well, at least join you someday!

    1. Yes, Barb, I find the Mexican people to be astoundingly good-natured and good-hearted, quick to smile and go out of their way to be kind. Just the opposite of the way they’ve been stereotyped by the president-elect. And, yes, I hope you DO join me here someday. You’ll find that speaking fluent Spanish is NOT (fortunately) a requirement here in SMA. Most Mexicans here know some English, so it’s possible to communicate by meeting in the middle. 🙂

    1. Yes, I know, Steve! I saw a man among the demonstrators who looked so much like you, I had to do a double-take. I thought of you and how much you two would have loved to have been there.

  3. Hola Dear Bonnie…..I am visiting in the US right now, where everyone I know is still raving and venting and worrying about Trump. Your beautiful description about the demonstration by Americans in support of Mexico and the appreciative remarks from the our Mexican neighbors filled me homesickness to be back among like-minded friends. That must have been some day! Yes Viva Mexico! XXXX Pamela

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