No, not the U.S. election brought to you by Obamney Inc. I refer to the elections in my current locale of Mexico. Having arrived here two and a half weeks ago, I came just in time for the election frenzy to be reaching its fever pitch in anticipation of the imminent vote el primer de Julio.
The most interesting thing to an extranjera (you know, a "fur-inner"--taking their jobs--oh wait, did I get that backwards?) such as myself is of course the squadrons of teenagers that are deployed at intersections throughout the city to wear t-shirts, wave signs, shout, rally, and motivate on behalf of a candidate. Nice part-time gig for the kids, and visual saturation for the politicos. We see the most people out there for two of the Queretaro mayor (I think) candidates. We also see loads of signs and rallies for the national presidential candidates, plus lots of district representatives and whatnot. Apparently PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto is way in the lead and extremely likely to win the presidency. I've heard that he will be able to lessen the drug-related violence, and that some people think he will do it by "cutting a deal" with the cartels.*
There are actually other things that happen at crosswalks as well. There are advertisements, windshield-wiper sellers, jugglers, and the even the occasional child performing cartwheels and handstands while the adult guardian-like-figure collects coins. (I was thinking I could start up such a little side business myself! No?) Basically, stopping at busy intersections in central Queretaro is far more entertaining than doing so in most other cities in which I've lived.
Anyway, back to the political candidates: they also have billboards and signs around the city with their slogans and campaign promises, and I've noticed something about the specificity of the campaign promises, namely, that it exists. When is the last time you heard a specific campaign promise in the U.S.? Maybe Obama's pledge to close Guantanamo -- which he hasn't done. U.S. politicians don't make a whole lot of specific comments, that I can see. They just blather on about things like "restoring America" or "hope" or "change" or who the hell knows what Dubya blathered on about. But here, the signs actually talk about their various promises, like potable water, or city-wide internet, or "36 new recreational parks." Thirty-six! It's so specific! As if someone actually has a specific plan about something to do. What a concept! Obama, Romney, Johnson, Stein, et.al.: I dare you to try it!
*I personally envision a future in which the U.S. and Mexico's "deal" is an end to the profitability of cartels by ending the Prohibition, and I hope that future comes soon!