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.