reconciliation or conflagration

In memory of Jorge Flores Solano, undefeated friend.

There are two basic ways of conceiving and exercising politics, in relation to people. The first is with the others and is called conciliation. The second is against the others and is called conflagration.

In these our times, the conflagration has gained ground over conciliation. The rulers and the ruled have already begun to get angry, confront each other, reject each other, insult and hate each other. That is why it stands out that a presidential candidate, Ricardo Monreal, has raised a proposal for national reconciliation, sensibly and lucidly.

For almost a century, Mexico was one of the stellar political scenes of conciliation. Of the policy of alliance, compromise, tolerance, respect and concord.

It is true that there were some moments of tantrums. But they were paid with the high cost of our well-being, our peace of mind and our blood. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz got angry and students died. José López Portillo got angry and banks were expropriated. Vicente Fox got angry and candidates were persecuted.

However, despite everything, neither the three of them nor anyone, before or after, took it against the governed nor did they take it against the rulers. No one attacked or insulted the citizens, even if they deserved it, and no one attacked or insulted the rulers, even if they deserved it. However, now it does happen, but the nation does not deserve it and is the one that, in the end, pays the bill for the damage.

Meanwhile, while Mexico was conciliatory, the world lived and suffered the conflagration of the intolerant. José Stalin, Adolfo Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Augusto Pinochet and Jorge Rafael Videla are just a few examples of the many who wrote pages of bestiality in the history of politics. We must never erase them from memory. They should always serve us to remind us and to warn us that we are not perfect, and that only others help us not to lose ourselves.

Fortunately, we also have teaching in the conciliators. The list would be long, but I’ll stick with just one for the benefit of space and time. Nelson Mandela would have had a million reasons to do what he wanted with the racists in his country. From insulting them in the stands to executing them on the wall.

But with that he would have made two serious mistakes. One, moral, and the other, political. He would have become another of them. South Africans would have traded one racist for another, but they would not have subsided the racism. The serious thing would be that they would continue to be racists, although before they were blond racists and then dark racists. The same barbarism with a different color.

By “apartheid”, South Africa had earned the repudiation of almost the entire planet, except for the identical rulers. Hardly anyone civilized wanted anything to do with that country. Neither trade nor tourism nor diplomacy nor visas nor scholarships nor patents nor alliances and not even Olympics nor humanitarian aid.

Today, many of your former rejectors already have excellent relations with South Africa. But if Mandela had opted for conflagration, all countries would have continued to reject Mandela’s South Africa, just as they rejected De Klerk’s South Africa.

That was his great political victory, beyond the humanist one. The reconciliation reunited not only South Africans with each other, but also South Africans with the planet. The Nobel Prize was awarded to Mandela not for having changed the government, but for having reconciled South Africans with the human species, if we speak in humanist language. Or for having reconciled South Africa with the other countries on Earth, if we say it in political language.

Mandela was an example of humanism, but, above all, he was a teacher of politics. Here is the factorial value of reconciliation. For the true politician there is no substitute for concord, which should not be confused with mediocrity or defection or surrender, much less betrayal. On the contrary, it is the way to ensure that our underlying convictions can achieve definitive victory.

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reconciliation or conflagration