Long before the presidential election, Drew and I booked a trip to Mexico with our children and grandchildren.
With the recently scheduled meeting between the President of Mexico and President Trump being cancelled by our neighbor to the south, I took the opportunity to take the pulse of that county’s feelings about our president and our country. Relying on the internationally indisputable, reliable sources on world politics — taxi drivers — I was treated to a variety of very interesting opinions.
One driver expressed a trend prompted by our President’s statements and assertions about the Mexican immigrants to the U.S., that I had not thought about nor read about or even heard about.
He said, while he personally felt that both his president and ours were pretty much “idiots,” he was really pleased by the negative remarks made by President Trump about the Mexican people. Drew and I looked at each other in amazement as he continued. The remarks have ignited a strong sense of country, Mexican pride and have prompted a “buy Mexican products not U.S. products” sentiment.
I asked how widespread this sentiment was. He answered with great certainty that it is growing throughout the country.
Conducting my own purely unscientific survey of other taxi drivers, when asked about this buy Mexican effort, I was assured that it is indeed a sentiment being widely circulated due to President Trump’s perceived vitriol toward the Mexican people.
Another driver with head shaking in dismay bemoaned the fact that, while Mexico has its own oil, it hasn’t the refineries to process it. So, the oil is shipped to the United States. The Mexican people must then buy their gasoline back.
“Pretty dumb, huh? But, I hear since Trump’s bad-mouthing our people, Mexican companies are looking into starting refineries here in our country,” he said with pride.
President Trump’s very popular campaign pledge to renegotiate all our trade deals, starting with NAFTA, seems on track judging from statements recently made, not only by the President but by Wilbur Ross, his newly confirmed Commerce Secretary.
I think taking a fresh look at our trade deals is a good thing. Many are multiple decades old and with the global markets changing at break-neck speed, new terms should be on the table.
But, I wonder about our President’s approach. Much has been said about his seemingly impulsive reactions and his blunt verbiage — particularly in regard to comments he has made to and about our allies and neighbors.
Taking my totally unscientific survey of Mexican taxi drivers into account, I wonder if there might be some unforeseen results from the President’s lack of tact and accepted dipomatic practices? Results that, in the long run, might negatively effect our economy.
I continue to watch and listen with great interest to our newly elected president. I am curious to see if his “sock ‘em in the eye first then start to negotiate” style of the art of the deal will work on the international political stage.