The footage of Mexicans illegally crossing the border to “unjustly” steal blue-collar jobs from Americans may be the only material that conservative news networks (Fox News) tend to focus on, but I would like to place more emphasis on the undeniable good that was lost in the headlines and came from the South and a different Fox. Despite a summer of controversy surrounding the printing of Mexican stamps featuring cartoon character Memin Pinguin, who arguably has stereotypical black features, Mexican President Vicente Fox re-emerged from his seemingly sedentary August by aiding with Hurricane Katrina relief.
Without Mexican congressional approval, Fox sent trucks carrying roughly 200 soldiers with two portable kitchens that can feed 7,000 evacuees a day. His efforts did not end there. He also pledged 12 more vehicles and a Mexican naval ship with rescue vehicles and other supplies. Coming from a Third World country, one has to be impressed with the prompt response.
After I had time to actually digest what Fox and the Mexican army had pledged to do, I could not help but question President Bush’s initial delay in sending aid to New Orleans and the delay in pushing his $51.8 billion relief bill through Congress. Unlike Sept. 11, when Bush traveled to the city and proclaimed that there would be a tomorrow, it appears as if one of the main reasons voters re-elected him – the vigor needed to pull the country through a disaster – has been lost. To any staunch conservative who still holds on to this belief, I’d ask you to turn on the television today and see the angered and desperate faces in New Orleans. Clearly, some of Bush’s strong resolve has been lost.
Not only did Fox’s move make me question the United States’s hurricane relief effort, it also reminded me of the embarrassing $15 million that was initially pledged to help the tsunami relief effort back in December. Thousands of Third World civilians were left homeless, and the United States was late to respond. Then, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to defend the “Great Altruist” that is America by telling CNN that “The United States is not stingy.” Bush later realized the image his efforts were conveying and thus gave an extra $20 million, hiring his father and former President Bill Clinton to run the relief effort.
Although questions remain about America’s current generosity, a country such as Mexico, with nowhere near the resources our country has, still decided to help a superpower that has somewhat lost its reputation for giving. I can only wonder if in light of the tsunami debacle, Fox ever pondered whether the United States would be as quick to send aid as he was. It appears that he put the issue aside and decided to act with graceful leadership, taking the initiative to use whatever means his country had to help.
As more illegal Mexicans pour into our country, acts such as Fox’s might go unnoticed due to increasing resentment toward Mexican culture from states that continue to be overwhelmed.
However, after the water drains from New Orleans, Americans will hopefully be able to reflect on the admirable aid that the Mexicans sent and begin to address the contentious issue of border control with the understanding that each country should be willing to help the other.
Skowronski is an LSA sophomore and a member of the Daily’s editorial board.