We Are Guests Here

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Most of us expats are not Mexican citizens, which means we can’t vote, which means politicians can ignore us if they want to. If we make ourselves so disliked that the last thing they want to do is listen to us or talk to us, we will lose our voice and our ability to shape our futures here.

That is why today’s discourteous interaction with the developers of a modern complex was not only embarrassing, but counterproductive. The shoutouts from the back rows, the guffaws, the chronic woe-is-us negativism—the self-righteous belligerence of some in the audience will certainly give pause to other groups contemplating bringing significant issues before us. We just aren’t civil enough—we, ironically, who think we have the advanced civilization. And because of that, we’re losing our voice.

How do I know? Because we’ve lost part of our voice already. Remember the Lake Chapala Society’s Town Meetings? They brought traffic commandants and immigration officials to have some meaningful exchange of information with us. I was there at each one, and I came away incredulous at the rudeness of some members of the audience. They refused to sit down and listen. They came with chips on their shoulders, and were determined that everyone should hear their bellyaching. They ruined it for all of us. The result? No more Town Meetings. And, frankly, it was the one program the Lake Chapala Society had that I thought was relevant to today’s modern expats.

Whether the complex being presented today is a good idea or not is beside the point this evening. These are serious business people with a plan. They presented the plan to the Municipality of Chapala, who gave them the green light. Our job today was to learn. If we want to fight city hall, we should take it up with city hall. I encourage you to start a committee (of courteous people) to talk with city hall. If I were them, I’m not so sure how responsive I’d be, given our inability to be civil. We seem to forget that we are guests here.

Lisa L. Jorgensen
Publisher and Editor

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