We recently spent six weeks in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. While we were down there one thing became abundantly clear, all those people who say they will not go to Mexico because of what is on the news about all the killings, crimes and corruption taking place, were right. They did not come to Mexico, and I am sure our visit was much better for their staying in the USA, where to them, everything is perfect.
So much of what they say proved to be absolutely correct. They didn't drink the water because it might be bad. That meant there was that much more for us to use just as we do in the states. I guess we just weren't in the places they knew about, the places where they had "heard" that someone got sick from drinking the water. Then again, maybe we were just lucky and all those other visitors from the US and Canada were actually sick even though they didn't look like it.
Another thing they were right about was they also avoided the policemen who pull you over for no reason and give you a ticket, or try to extort money from you. I don't know, maybe we were really lucky or something, but the times when we saw policemen pulling people over, we had also noticed those people obviously speeding. Just think, if the person had not been speeding that policemen would surely have pulled me over for no good reason and tried to get me to pay him off. Were we ever lucky or what.
They also weren't over charged when they paid for their purchases in American money. Of course we weren't either but that may have had more to do with our going to an ATM and getting out pesos, which we used for our purchases while we were visiting Mexico, though I guess we could have gone to the places that catered to the American tourists and overpaid. Somehow or other it just seemed like a lot more fun going to the local vegetable market instead.
We could go on and on listing all the wonderful experiences we had, but then again, those who do it know of what I speak, and those that don't will ..... I'll just let the reader fill in the remainder of that last sentence.
Many years ago I read some of the works of President Theodore Roosevelt, one of which was a speech he gave in Paris in 1910. Originally titled, "Citizenship in a Republic", over the years it has become known as "The Man in the Arena", due mainly to one section, an excerpt of which, follows:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
The speech is rather lengthy, but within it are two other points that are quite germane to the subject of this article:
"A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness."
"Long may you carry yourselves proudly as citizens of a nation which bears a leading part in the teaching and uplifting of mankind."
In our country we are justifiably proud of our right of freedom of speech. It is not something we want to usurp. But just as important is the right of freedom to listen. The right not just to hear the words, but the right to listen to them, understand them, digest them, and then act on them. That is why we have been able to spend a wonderful six weeks in Mexico. Freedom, isn't it the greatest.