Courtesy Reuters

Cárdenas of Mexico

IF THE American press is full of doubts about the value and wisdom of Lázaro Cárdenas, we need scarcely blame ourselves; the President of Mexico has a worse press in his own country. In middle-class circles, there, even those that are well-intentioned, one seldom hears him praised except faintly or with solemn reservations. It is true that the peasants (who don't read) love him, and the industrial workers follow him. But your average Mexican intellectual thinks he knows better. Fascist-minded journalists explain at great length that Cárdenas is one of the clever servants of the "international-Communist-Jews." Sincere revolutionary-minded pamphleteers, like the great painter Alfaro Siqueiros, try to show how the "innocent" Cárdenas plays into the hands of the Fascists and runs the risk of becoming a second Madero.[i] It is a common paradox that the articulate classes of any age rarely understand the man -- prophet or poet -- who profoundly expresses it. Surface and depth seem to be forever in dialectical opposition. And most politicians, like most writers, articulate the surface.

Not often is the deepest nature of a people expressed in a statesman. The love of the Americans today for Lincoln, so much more intimate than what we feel for the more brilliant leaders of our Revolution, suggests that he was of this kind: a politician who articulated qualities of our ethos more usually voiced in a country's arts and folklore. Recently, the Europeans have produced political leaders who expressed, not their creative spirit, but their pathologies -- Hitler, for instance, who incarnates the morbidity of a Germany that has been consistently maltreated since the Thirty Years' War, or Mussolini who denotes the Italian vices that Cicero in another crisis flayed in Cataline, and that Cicero's sounder contemporaries knew how to cleanse away. The Bolshevik October threw up great men; but no one who understands the profundities of the race of Tolstoi, Dostoievski, Kropotkin, Moussorgski, could insist that either Lenin or Stalin incarnated more than

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