I hold this truth to be self-evident - injecting politics into our already unfriendly rivalry with Northern Guatemala DOES NOT HELP. Sadly, it is evidently not self-evident.
It's not my intention to express any kind of political opinion here, although that's just manners at this point. I highly doubt anyone's saying "I wonder what comedy soccer blogger thinks?" before deciding who to vote for. Nevertheless, this is supposed to be a light-hearted comedy soccer yapfest, so I apologize for bumming anyone out by my advocacy. Where is Jack Grimes these days, anyway? A lonely nation turns its eyes to you.
So this week, TV Azteca, deciding that the upcoming Mexico-US blowout in Pasadena needed some extra salt, decided to re-cut a campaign speech by [LOOK UP NAME - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, HAIR PROBLEM, OBSESSED WITH FIGHTING ILLEGAL ALIEN - LEX LUTHOR?].
The worst part about the ad was that it was funny. It's frustrating that Mexico does this better than we do. First Ganagol did that masterful ad with Landon Donovan in a sombrero - stomping all over hot-button issues in the process. And now this.
Hearing marshmallow-boned, water-blooded bruised peaches Yanksplaining that #NotAllAmericans want to build a wall to the 21st century - well, that just makes the joke better. And hearing those who agree with [DALTON TRUMBO? RUN GOOGLE SEARCH FOR APPRENTICE HAIR USFL] foretell the awful, hideous, terrifying prospect of the final scene of "Born in East LA" coming to life - well, that only proves the ad's point.
Part of the problem is, American sports fans tend to see themselves as the underdog. I know that sounds preposterous, but think about it. This isn't just soccer, by any means. "Do you believe in miracles?!" sounds slightly different when you talk about how young men from the richest, most powerful nation in the history of the world won a hockey game once against the propaganda arm of a decrepit military dictatorship. We're not quite so far gone as to apply the same lens to our basketball team, but give it time. We'll be underdogs against Puerto Rico before you know it.
And Mexico really did bully us something fierce for the odd decade or four.
But there's no way to respond to something like this in kind. We could just own up to being a hyperpower. The New York Yankees (hm, interesting name - probably a coincidence) ran with the whole "Evil Empire" thing.
But the Yankees, whatever their other crimes, didn't start a couple of wars. Or even evict a bunch of Mexican-American residents from their homes - that was the Dodgers. "Pipe down, or we'll take another 529,000 square miles" doesn't really fit the underdog image, does it?
And...gosh. How can I put this delicately. We all love the American Outlaws, but, um, are they really the people we want on point for this? The good option here is they trot out the James K. Polk song from They Might Be Giants.
The bad option, of course, is that one or two or five or ten of our broligans get Caught on Camera doing the kind of monkeyshines that their national charter strictly forbids. Dislike the idea of being painted as a racist by every ratings-grabbing outlet in the Indo-European-speaking world? Well, at any given US-Mexico game, you're a camera phone and a drunk guy away from getting to read exactly that - over and over and over.
So how is that Mexico's problem, if US fans are made to look like refugees from a garbage scow? Well, as it happens, Mexico fans are not all vampires, and their images can also be captured on digital film. If you think people who would vote for [CRAZY CASINO GUY - JOE PESCI?] don't watch soccer, allow me to correct you - there have been other presidential candidates who ran on an anti-Mexico platform. I refuse to link to Pat Buchanan, but anyone who cares to may run an Internet search along the lines of "Anti-Americanism in LA" and "Say Goodbye to Los Angeles." If Buchanan could make hay out of the relatively tame 2011 Gold Cup Final, imagine what someone with a SLIGHTLY larger audience than "The McLaughlin Group" is capable of. If you, Mexico fan, would like to see this sort of thing on high rotation on Fox, then October 10 is your big opportunity. Just wave at the camera while yelling "Puto Say Can You See" or whatever.
This is more than a sporting rivalry. Well, "sporting" is the laughably wrong word here. This is never going to be one of these jovial college football rivalries. Both sides hold each other in contempt, and both sides frankly have reason.
But there needs to be an awareness here. There's a very real chance that this game, these teams, and you and me - we all will get used to advance someone else's agenda. A few cheap shots, however justified, at [BOB TRUMPY? OR IS HE THE BENGALS GUY? CHECK] aren't worth it.