Failure! / Fiasco!
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” Of the many edifying phrases attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, who emblemized civil disobedience and pacifism, this is perhaps the one that best conveys democratic willpower. And yet in our time, as everything passes through the gateway of politics and economics, to err is costly and the consequences tend to be grim. This is especially true if the mistake was not a manifestation of freedom, but rather the outcome of a vulgar ruse. In Mexico, a large swath of the population is convinced that fraud took place during recent elections where, according to statements made by former candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, five million Mexicans were either the victims or the accomplices of massive ballot purchasing. Five million: that’s a lot of voters… Likewise, there are many who warn that the root of this discrepancy lies in the system itself, which cancels everything out. The national arena affects the global arena, and vice versa; moreover, inept or corrupt elites are followed by a citizenry incapable of honoring its own vote. Thus, it comes as no surprise that, in terms of the recent economy, the U.S. and European banking crisis was closely tied to proven cases of high-level corruption. System failure? In one of the articles that comprise this issue of Literal. Latin American Voices Alasdair Roberts quotes Bernard Crick by saying that democracy often demands we work with people who are “genuinely repulsive to us.” A phrase that has become pertinent to such an extent that one of our current dangers involves a mistrust of politics and its institutions: “We have made the leap from ‘genuinely repulsive’” failures to anti-systemic temptations.