One of President López’s favorite words is “politicking.” It is a multipurpose word that applies in several situations. This week he used it at least three times to refer to various topics. In relation to the murder of the journalist Lourdes Maldonado and the criticism he received for not responding to his request for protection, made in the morning of March 2019, the president defended himself by pointing out that they were politicking by those who used the issue to revile him.
He also used it to attack those who demanded that Hugo López Gatell be prosecuted for the blunders and negligence with which he has led the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and that has caused thousands of deaths. It is already known that the FGR proceeded with this accusation at the request of relatives of people who died of this disease. The president called the accusations against his protégé “politicking”, adding that it was a “joy” to have López Gatell.
Third, he referred to the accusations he has received for the null measures that have been taken in the face of the overwhelming growth of infections caused by the omicron variant and the deaths and hospitalizations that are on the rise. The resistance of the federal government to vaccinate minors without comorbidities has also been objected to, as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO). “Politicking” he called these remarks.
But what does he mean by politicking? The dictionary of the Royal Academy defines politicking as the action of politicking and this, in turn, means: Intervene or brujulear (?) in politics / Dealing with politics superficially or lightly / Make politics of intrigues and baseness.
López Obrador’s supporters claim that the president’s opponents and critics are “taking advantage” of the events mentioned above to attack him. They are right. Part of politics is to use the errors, omissions, lies, exaggerations, opacity and incapacities of the opponents. AMLO did the same when he was in the opposition and now as president he continues to do so. Sometimes, the political struggle leads to “black” or “dirty” “wars”, that is, attributing something to an opponent that he has not done or said. In general, the criterion used in democracy is that voters are left to believe or not believe this kind of campaign. This is better than prohibition when there are no clear parameters to qualify what should be banned or allowed. These dirty wars fall within what could be understood as politicking and, in this sense, there is currently no greater champion than President López himself. There is no morning or statement in which he does not lie, exaggerate, omit or accuse to the detriment of the image of the media, politicians, intellectuals or journalists.
To justify his excesses, the president assures that he is the most attacked president since Madero. This is probably true, but it is true for two reasons. In recent history, only Echeverría and Salinas de Gortari had had significant media exposure, but none like the current president. López Obrador has much to say and little to report. Second, the failure of his administration in the economy, security, health, social policy, etc., makes it indefensible with solid arguments. The truth is that the current executive is criticized, but not for being the herald of change, but because in his presidential term he keeps all the characteristics that have weighed down Mexican public life: opacity, hypocrisy, corruption and inefficiency.
It is not surprising that there are so many objections and criticisms to his statements and decisions, that only as a graceful concession can they be called political. In this sense, keeping silent would mean being an accomplice to lies and inefficiency.
The death of journalists does not happen in a vacuum, there is a context. We have a president who prefers to revile the media and journalists than criminals. Why believe that you care about the welfare and safety of communicators? The first statements after the murder of Lourdes Maldonado exemplify this lack of interest. The Baja California prosecutor said she had been killed outside of her protection hours. The president, for his part, declared that the communicator was not protected by the federal government. The very Mexican: “I did not go.” In both cases, the desire to avoid any responsibility was shown before the interest in solving the problem of insecurity in which communicators and journalists live.
So, in effect, President López is right: there is a lot of politics surrounding what is happening in our country, but he is the one who makes the most and best use of that politics.
For the rest, given the state of Mexico and the world, does anyone know exactly where the hell is the border between politics and politicking?