A Different Point Of View
By Teri Saya
I was in a taxi going clear across town for a presentation that I had committed to do. It was a very long ride and on top of that, it was raining, and I felt sorry for my taxi driver having to deal with not only traffic, but the rain as well. An American friend of mine had recommended him and I was glad for it. His name was José and he had lived in Chicago, Illinois long enough to be fluent in English.
As he deftly maneuvered the taxi through deep puddles and heavy traffic, he asked questions that I was obliged to answer. I’ve always admired people who are curious and inquisitive, and I was intrigued when he asked tentatively, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but,did you vote in this United States election?”
“Well, yes,” I said. “I voted for Bernie Sanders.” I kinda knew he was gently trying to bring up the Trump issue.
“How did you do that, being here in Mexico and all? I mean, how were you able to get your vote in?”
“Well, it was an Internet thing. I filled out the form online and had to print it out and sign it, and then I took it to the American consulate. They mailed it off to the United Sates and supposedly, my vote was counted.”
José nodded, but I could tell he was just bursting to ask the ‘Trump’ question, so I continued. “Bernie didn’t win, neither did Hillary, and when I found out Trump had won, my husband and I were really, really bummed.”
The floodgates opened and José began a dialog that got me thinking. “Yes, it’s a sad situation when someone goes into a high profile job where they have little experience.” he said.
I looked over at José, “Experience? He has none whatsoever! His campaign began as a media boost for his gigantic ego. A circus clown is how I see him,” I said.
I was suddenly on a roll… “He’s proven to be a racist and a liar. Now, there are groups of racists coming out of the woodwork, the KKK, Nazis! And OMG, the NRA is having a field day!” Wow, did all that just come out of my mouth?
José whipped the cab around a bus. “Well, haven’t those groups been around all along? There’s always going to be racism no matter who is president.”
My balloon a bit deflated, I said, “I guess you have a point there. But, what do you think about the wall he intends to build?”
“I actually think it’s a good thing,” he said.
This was a surprising statement coming from a Mexican, “Really!? Why?” I said. It ran across my mind that maybe José was a bit racist and didn’t want Americans coming into Mexico.
The rain was coming down hard now and José slowed the taxi down from hyper-speed to light-speed. “It would be safer for Mexicans who are trying to cross the border illegally. Many of them die from thirst and exposure in the U.S. desert. And many of them suffocate in packed trucks or are shot in altercations with the border patrols. If the wall is big and strong enough, they wouldn’t try to climb it or go through it in ways other than legally.”
It sounded as though José had first-hand knowledge of these problems, as if he might have lost a loved one trying to cross the border.
“That sounds logical, I guess, it’s just sad that we have to have borders at all,” I said feeling a bit depressed.
The rain had let up and José pulled the cab up to the building where I was to get off. “In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be borders or racism, or clowns who become president. But isn’t it the adversity that makes us all stronger people?” he said.
José drove away and left me standing there to ponder his words. He was right, of course. His point of view had softened my heart and reduced the anger I had felt after the election. The United States has elected Donald Trump as president, even though it seems so surreal. Now we move forward through the adversity.
However, I am happy to be living in Mexico at this time, and I am even happier to have met José. I went to do my presentation feeling lighter and far more optimistic.