I am currently in Mexico, where I now live about a third of the time. It is Day of the Dead weekend, and I will be dressing up as Catrina, the well-dressed skeleton, a tradition that dates back to a revolutionary cartoonist, Jose Guadalupe Posada. His depictions were largely satirical of the bourgeoisie, dressed in finery but dead inside.
People gather at the cemeteries on the actual Day of the Dead, which is November 1. In the town where I live, San Miguel de Allende, the main cemetery is divided into a Mexican section and an American section – the town for some years has attracted a sizable ex-pat community.
The Mexican section is elaborate, chaotic, full of angelic monuments, flowers left by loved ones, often in coffee cans or plastic soda bottles, full of life and beautiful. The American section is clean, pristine, identical headstones arrayed in rows like a third grade classroom. Sterile. Full of death. These two cemeteries arn not just a metaphor for the cultural differences between the two societies – this is the cultural difference itself. Order vs. chaos, efficiency vs. art, death vs. life.
This is one reason why I wish that Trump’s accusation of Hillary that she favored open borders were actually true. The elimination of all borders between countries would go a long way toward equalizing our societies, revitalizing all our cultures, and fostering global solidarity. If you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition for Global Solidarity Day.