Wednesday, May 25

Conservative, conservative, conservative … the frog sang

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on March 30.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on March 30.PEDRO PARDO / AFP

Most of us are clear about it. Our present transformed that old saying that reads into reality: if you repeat a lie over and over and over again, it will end — almost always — turning into truth. What almost no one was clear about (Donald Trump must continue to ponder the matter) was that these false truths contained their own repetition limit, a kind of expiration that would end up turning them into a grotesque echo, thus denying them any meaning.

I say almost nobody because, at least Lorrie Moore, the extraordinary American short story writer and novelist – for me, the best of her generation, with the permission of Foster Wallace, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Jonhatan Franzen, Myla Goldberg or Jeffrey Eugenides – knew how to notice it and also knew metaphorize it, as is clear when you read Who will take over the frog hospital?

There are situations in which a word, repeated a hundred times, can become its opposite, but when that word is repeated a hundred and fifty or two hundred times, it ends up breaking and becomes the croaking of a frog, the song of mud. And, as words cannot be lost forever, what follows, by force of reality, is a long silence, silence after which, when it is spoken again, the word will return with its original meaning.

Obviously, in Mexico we are still far from that moment, from that return, then, in which a denatured word – think, for example, of a word like “conservative” – ​​will emerge from the mud recovering, recovering its meaning, because we are still far away. of that silence that, however, can be seen beyond, on the horizon. At the end of the day, we are advancing — no matter how slower we may — ineluctably and firmly towards that repetition that will fill and break words and, with it, the dictatorship of post-truth.

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A judge who defends a prior order can, without a doubt, be described as conservative, the same as a communication medium whose general line is ascribed to that political spectrum that we group under the term of the right and the same, also, that a landowner who opposes the change of land use on his estate, so that the State does not appropriate his lands. But a defender of the territory who opposes the change of land use on lands that belong to all Mexicans and who, in the name of life, social justice and equality opposes the construction of a hydroelectric plant, no, he cannot be described as conservative.

Nor can it be described like this, as conservative, a media whose only line is the freedom of expression of each and every one of its journalists or a judge whose action defends the law of a past that, precisely, society has already overcome. Thus, a judge who opposes the past taking the present by storm, putting the common future at risk. Although, on second thought, of course you can.

Of course, anyone can be accused of being a conservative – conservative, conservative, conservative, as long as the accusatory speech, the same one that embraces post-truth and breaks down words, be it, as has happened for centuries and as is happening today in our country , propaganda. Propaganda, that form of partial transmission of ideas, through which it hides at the same time that part of a reality is revealed; that way of using words, through which it hides, at the same time that part of a meaning is revealed. It may seem new, but post-truth is nothing but the propaganda of a lifetime, although post-truth puts the accent on the word and no longer on the sentence. And it is because of this, because we know the history of propaganda, that we can notice that of post-truth, venturing that the silence that in the end will be restored to words is not so far away.

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And the thing is that there is an issue that seems irrelevant, but that is the heart of the logos of power, of power as a word: that restorative silence, that to which Lorrie Moore refers, does not come from the silence of power, it does not become, then, of a change in the attitude of the powerful – he will repeat the word that time one hundred and fifty or two hundred – but of the tiredness of the people, of the moment in which they decide to stop listening – the same gives that power is embodied by a father who reads the Bible, than a ruler who apostolates his gospel — whether out of weariness, disappointment, need, survival.

When one sleeps next to a lake infested with frogs, the first nights are awake; the following, he sleeps at times, although at times he awakens. Then come the nights when one gets almost uninterrupted sleep. And, in the end, when the ears stop listening, when they filter reality, he falls asleep in one go. But let’s go back to the croaking of power: when one listens, at all hours and launched against anyone other than its sender, the word conservative, one can lose sleep, the first nights.

Later, however – when one realizes that, to top it all, the liberals are those who tie the energy future to fossil fuels, the generals of an Army that tortures and disappears citizens, the businessmen who dine in the Palace to avoid paying taxes or NXIVM-trained candidates who leave Mass endorsing their vote—, falls asleep, although at times croaking will wake us up.

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Then come the nights in which our sleep hardly interrupts one of those moments of sudden awakening, in which one finds oneself accused of being a conservative for demanding that the government be neither economically nor socially nor economically conservative. the cultural.

Conservative, conservative, conservative! The chorus will still be there, even if one is asleep and dreams of a country in which certain conservatives pray that things will happen and other conservatives do so that they do not happen. Luckily, the ear will have become accustomed, the words will have withdrawn and we will stop listening to the croaking of power.

Only then, little by little, will the meaning of the words return and post-truth will end. And conservatives will be supporters of traditional values. Values ​​as traditional as presidentialism.

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