Less Politics, More Substance Abuse

I’ve heard loud and clear that you do not appreciate my takes on American politics, specifically Donald Trump.

Trump-bashing is not what brought you here to begin with, many have told me, and it’s not what you want to read now or ever. I get it. And I can see how I would stop reading someone who disparaged the leaders I like.

I hear you. But at the same time, I’d like you to hear why. Why did this blog go eight years with nary a hint of American politics, to regularly bashing Trump and the Republican Party? What does this have to do with expat chronicles in Latin America? WHY?

Because Donald Trump attacked the philosophy at the nucleus of Expat Chronicles. With a loud megaphone, he condemned the heart and soul of the blog. I never delved into red vs. blue because American politics never broadsided my muse … until Trump.

The genesis of my South American adventure was a job in which I was tasked with preparing a Peruvian company to grow exports before a trade agreement took effect with the United States. There has always been a nod to international business on my About page, and mentions abound of how reading “The World is Flat” inspired me to launch my career in an emerging market.

It may not be what initially brought you to Expat Chronicles, but international business and globalization were always at the heart of this project. You may believe you were only here to read about riding the natives, the cheap drugs or politically-incorrect, “shock jock” humor. But this blog has always featured articles on politics, economics, business and history. It’s in the DNA. You’ve been injecting it into your veins all these years.

Trump’s influence ultimately killed the largest trade agreement in the history of the world (ironically designed to counter Chinese influence in global commerce) which included Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico, but it wasn’t only the economic protectionism and cultural nationalism that offended the Expat Chronicles muse.

His mantra, or “mnemonic device,” was to BUILD a WALL.

The wall he wanted to build was meant to keep out Hispanic immigrants. In his own words, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” The Muslim ban was prominent, but the foremost theme of Trump’s campaign was giving the boot to the spics.

This blog, on the other hand, is all about Latin America and hanging out with Hispanics! We like the spics. I married and procreated with one, and adopted her family as in-laws. I’m still having a hard time getting back to the gringo swing of things as a repat.

Building walls isn’t only anathema to international business, but everything this project was about. Sure, there were scenes of the American Idiot wreaking havoc, but it was always in a spirit of multinational comradery. I would never say something like “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” but there was never an “us vs. them” sentiment in my heart. I was writing to make inroads and bring people together.

I’m no social-justice warrior, but I did see this blog as playing a small role in bridging the gap between Gringolandia and Latin America. Part “citizen of the world,” part “man without a country,” a la Hemingway. I may have critical things to say, but I never wanted to build walls or shut it down or kick people out.  It was about having a laugh and partying.

For Expat Chronicles, criticizing Trump was a two-prong fit in the Latin American outlet: (1) his acting like a tinhorn dictator from a shithole banana republic and (2) his implementing of a state-led economic model of protectionism and “crony capitalism,” following the lead of Latin America’s underperforming economies of the last 50 years.

That’s the why.

One talking point goes, now that Trump is gone, we haters with TDS won’t have anything to talk about. First of all, he is definitely not gone. He has not taken up painting or philanthropy, and he’s not planning a presidential library. He is still active in Republican Party politics, with an eye to ensure that his policy shifts become written in stone.

Second, I believe his brand will have jumped the shark long before the 2024 election, so I am happy to go back to what Expat Chronicles was before 2016. I am currently in the midst of Sober April, and I would be delighted to tell you what brought that about.

10 comments

  1. Bravo. Let´s pick up where we left off before the bombastic anomaly known as 45. I enjoy bashing the baby man and his Dunning-Kruger flunkie followers as much as the next guy who can read and write, but this isn´t the place for it. Let´s get back to the real Third World and how we the hardened expats are dealing with life down here during Covid. I believe it´s safe to say that Costa Rica is the most expensive country south of the border, and as of today, we have over 18% unemployment, the highest in Latin America. The sentiment in the street is one of disgust. Over the past year, many of my pals in business here have gone bust, and I´m right behind them. Sports Books are hanging in there now that there are games to bet on and other call center-based businesses here are doing fine. As you would expect, bars and restaurants have taken a knock-out punch. On the upside, private Spas, Massage Parlors, and otherwise houses of ill repute have all come back to life. The girls that may have had a job in the mall or a restaurant still have to eat, and as in many Latin American countries, the women rule. That´s another topic that I miss discussing – The all-time favorite femi-nazi favorite scapegoat -Machismo. In the news today I read that Colombia is having a Covid spike. What´s up with Chile and Peru? I met a hottie from Buenos Aires yesterday in the mall. She was pushing a cream to rub into my tattoos. She left Argentina for Costa Rica to find someone who could keep her in the lifestyle she would like to become accustomed to. Keep rubbing, I told her. So, here in Costa Rica we are looking at how we are going to reinvent ourselves. Offshore gambling is calling to me. I´d like to know how other expats across Latin America are adjusting to this Brave New World.

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  2. I have only TRULY hated one person in my life, and i have had a life where people have truly abused me, but i never really hated them…the exception of course, is the fucking orange monster, mushroom dicked, piece of misogynistic, un-epithetic genocidal mass killer garbage self-loving narcissist named T*. Fuck him and the whore he rode in on….

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  3. Honestly – he’s out of office. Maybe it’s time to move on?

    A lot of people across the political spectrum were critical of that trade agreement including Bernie Sanders, if I recall correctly. Trade agreements have pluses and minuses, but one thing has been crystal clear: elites win and our local working class tends to get the short end of the stick.

    You’re falling into the cheap shots at Trump and his myriad supporters, the racist tropes, etc., while ignoring any concrete reasons why people would support someone championing the working class who, in case you haven’t noticed, have been taking it up the ass since the 1990s. And who has benefited? Professionals on up. In addition, Trump isn’t a pro politician and he routinely has said things that have been easy to sound bite and mischaracterize, including his comments on Mexican immigrants which were obviously taken out of context by his political opponents for their own goals, just as you have done here.

    Having an additional 12-15 million ppl in the country competing in the working class labor market, eg not against you or I, has had massive effects, especially on a massive piece of that labor market, non-union construction, but also others. I worked a summer as a laborer on a construction site back in 1989. I made $12/hr in Oakland, CA. A few years ago I asked the Salvadorean guys working on a construction job next to my house in LA what the laborers were making. $12/hr over 25 years later. That is effectively half of what I made in real dollars.

    Who wins? All of the professionals and elite in LA, almost all of whom are political progressives. How? Cheap labor which allows them to enjoy a nicer lifestyle than they would otherwise.

    Essentially, you are arguing for quasi feudalism and saying that anyone opposed to it, eg the majority of your fellow citizens, are racists. Maybe you should think about working class Americans of all colors, including the millions of working class Latinos who voted for Trump, and quit the demagoguery. It’s a cheap tactic that’s both rude and easy to poke holes in, and after hearing this crap for five years, I’m fucking sick of it.

    And now the same people want to legalize everyone here illegally or, you guessed it, we’re racists. Anyone want to take a wild guess at how much Target or Walmart will be paying in comparison to now after a massive flooding of the legal working class labor market? Don’t think too hard – it’s obvious.

    I’m from a wine country town that has had legal migrants working the vineyards for decades. There is no reason we can’t do something similar, but, gee, then those progressive upper class people in LA would be paying FICA and whatnot. You think they want to pay all of that? No – they want society to subsidize their lifestyles by paying for massive costs especially in education and healthcare.

    We’re fucking sick of it.

    ps Prisons in CA have TONS of illegals. Yes, there are a ton of criminals, and the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha are maybe the scariest people in or country. No, i don’t want those motherfuckers here. Yes, I know the gang started in LA originally.

    Lastly, I’m not a goddam racist, and I’m really sick of the inference. And my white ass has been fluent in Spanish (with an additional solid command of Portuguese) for way longer than yours has. I love Latin America and Latin cultures.

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    1. I know Trump supporters who I don’t believe to be white supremacists. I haven’t taken cheap shots here. If you disagree there was an anti-Hispanic theme to Trump’s campaign, then we have to agree to disagree.

      In defining what bothered me most about Trump, I decided Trump’s style and behavior were more dangerous than his policies. It is not just “rough around the edges” to call a mob of paramilitaries, conspiracy clowns and useful idiots to attack the legislature in an attempted coup. That is caudillo danger, ala Chavez.

      Most of what you’ve written here regards policy. I’m fine leaving policy debate alone on the blog, but I would disagree that Trump is the champion of workers that you portray. Launching trade wars and trying to stop immigration has had a negligible impact in four years, and they will forever. On the other hand, Trump tried to kill the ACA, which would have eliminated health insurance for millions of working-class Americans. Trump couldn’t be bothered with bumping up the minimum wage, and he cut taxes for the richest Americans, aggravating inequality.

      If true to your goal of reducing inequality, you should be elated to have a real champion of the working class as president. He is making quick work on initiatives that will actually change lives, such as bolstering the ACA, strengthening unions, getting an infrastructure bill across the finish line and raising the minimum wage.

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      1. Meh. You’re obviously a total Democratic Party partisan and that defines your response. My comment wasn’t policy as much as simply concrete. No, the guy who opened the border like a water hose isn’t pro-working class, and the minimum wage stuff isn’t even relevant, but as a typical Democratic partisan du jour, you simply ignore the actual debate and stick to your demagoguery.

        Weak. Stick to the fun stuff – on politics, you’re a total lightweight.

        It’s weird with the left these days. They can be so engaging in their areas of expertise, but on politics you guys turn off critical thinking. If I want to hear vague and silly bullet points from a Jen Psaki press conference, that’s pretty easy to do. You seem like a smart guy – dig a little and lose the script.

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  4. My mother used to tell me “There are 2 things you don’t discuss in polite company: religion and politics.” My mother was always right. But this is not “polite company”. This is the Internet. I liked some of Trump’s policies like keeping the peace-loving muslims out of this country. (There, I got both religion and politics with one stone) And a final thought: there is no god, but if it makes you feel happy you are free to build your life around what some goat herders wrote about the invisible man in the sky. Colin, I liked it better when you discussed whores and whoremongers in these threads. There’s a cartoon I like that says “On second thought, I have no problem with the horse you rode in on.” I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

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  5. As far as I am concerned – you can keep on giving Trump a shoeing on this forum, why not? His presidency still affects the part of the world you’re covering so it is current and it upsets the right people (as you can see in some of the comments above) of course they want you to stop talking about him because they were conned into voting for him. It’s true to say that he was elected to power on promises he didn’t keep and they all must feel a bit silly about it and want you to shut up about it and that one day soon – everyone will forget that it ever happened. Understandable really.

    Still, I think you have missed the mark in not covering the turmoil that is Peruvian politics at the present – I was looking forward to some meaty pieces about Vizcarra being ousted out of office and the run up to the first round of the presidential election. We now have a nice, spicy run-off between left and right, the battle between Keiko and Pedro. I think that would be a subject worth covering and I don’t think you need to be on the ground to cover it.

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