Today during class, the editor of the General Information section of La Nación said: "La Presidenta miente constatemente [the President lies constantly]."
My classmates nodded, not even batting their eyes at this statement that encompasses myriad problems with Argentine politics: deception, corruption, lack of democratic voice, for starters.
The moment quickly passed, but I was left with an eerie feeling that no response was not a good sign. If a journalism professor of mine would have said to the class that our president was constantly lying to us, some noise would have been made, someone would have protested. Rather, this statement was met with a few nods, a few chuckles and some blank non-registering eyes.
I asked the founder of an English language newspaper in Buenos Aires today in an interview if she thought that Argentine politics were particularly hard for foreigners to understand and she responded affirmatively, pointing out that this country is still in the process of maturing its democracy after a bloody dictatorship and that makes its recent history especially complicated and difficult. However, she said, unless some fundamental changes are made with the current government, such as people accounting for their actions or taking responsibility for the issues that happen under their watch, this country is not going to progress.
The responses of my classmates, all graduate journalism students, the majority of them Argentine, makes me pessimistic that there is likely to be changes soon, despite the recent legislative elections. Argentine citizens have taken as fact that their politicians lie, steal their tax money and take advantage of the poor and ignorant to continue in power. And even when it's said out loud, no one denies it, all protests have ceased. One male classmate says that Argentina is like a battered wife: she has been hit so many times that when she gets hit now, she just takes it.