One More Wildcard / Fernando Dámaso
Fernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated
The term "national security" is fashionable in the world: in Mexico
violence is an issue of national security; in Columbia it's the
narco-guerrillas; in the U.S. it's illegal immigration. But here, not to
be left out, we talk about it too. Issues of national security are
important for countries, and so their governments dedicate preferential
and serious attention to them.
However, when national security is used as a wildcard to encompass any
problems, expand the base the conflict and resolution, suppress
divergent views and support of political intolerance, it is vulgarized
and is no longer taken seriously.
Recently, we often hear that food production, updating immigration
regulations, access to Internet, electrical power generation, possession
of satellite dishes, the transportation problem and even eradicating the
marabou weed are national security issues. Much of what affects us seems
to fit in this sack and that makes our lives a real hodgepodge.
We are apt to get attached to words, phrases, projects and programs,
thinking they can serve to pull together different tasks that would
otherwise be difficult to meet. For example, not long ago, within the
program called Battle of Ideas, were included not only political and
ideological activities themselves, but also others such as the repair of
a hospital or a school, patching a street, the remodeling of a bakery or
putting four benches in a park, etc., with the result that ordinary
citizens made a joke of the whole thing (Enough of ideas already, they
said), detracting from its seriousness and significance.
Something similar happened with the so-called Energy Revolution that
inundated the country with generators and energy saving light bulbs,
replacement of old electrical appliances (they brought you a new one and
took away your old one and you had to start paying all over again),
including refrigerators and air conditioners, along with rice cookers,
water heaters, portable electric burners, and multipurpose pots (the
so-called "Queen") and then, over the months, it was diluted and the
responsibility for maintaining it transferred to the shoulders and
pockets of the population.
It might be convenient to take ourselves a little more seriously, give
each case its real importance, without minimizing and also without
broadening or manipulating it for some alleged advantages, more cyclical
If now we were to think things through carefully before acting on them,
and then to act calmly, deeply and without unnecessary haste, to focus
responsibly on national security, stripping it of all the trash that has
been tacked on it it, it would be a good decision.
February 26 2012