Thursday, November 6, 2008
Definition of an "Arrepentido"
There is no word in the American political lexicon for arrepentido, although there will be soon. An arrepentido is someone who, by definition, regrets his own actions in supporting an aspirant to power because it led to a national debacle which he did not envision or desire, but to which he contributed inadvertently and unadvisedly. Rarely, however, does an arrepentido accept personal responsibility for his choice, but will claim that he was misled, betrayed or used. At the same time as he regrets the calamity that has befallen his country, he takes a secret pride in his past protagonismo (the only time in his life when anything that he did mattered) and will not disavow his role completely, defending aspects of it which he believes put him in a heroic or favorable light. He has no problem blaming everybody else, however, including his erstwhile underlings on account that their motives were not as pure as his even if their actions were identical or even less culpable. There is nothing in his own conduct that he doesn't attempt to justify, nor anything in somebody else's that he wouldn't condemn. His conscience is as malleable as his backbone; he approaches the truth acrobatically and is the hero of his own story, which ends badly for everybody (including himself). The arrepentido believes himself entitled to the gratitude of his countrymen for what he professes to be his good intentions but blameless for the consequences of his acts: blameless, in short, for the evil that he helped bring into the world.