Securing our borders, some thoughts and some questions

To our good friends–

I got a mailer yesterday from our Congressman. Its theme is securing our borders.

I am saddened by it. It is fear mongering. It is not a specific fear: they would not monger well if they specified what the fear really is.

Even more sadly for me, it is exclusionary. We have something and we are going to grasp it tight and not let anyone else have even a crumb of it. Especially if you are seen as different.

There is so much to be learned and gained from interchange.

Yet the secure our borders people will say That is too idealistic, the world is a dangerous place filled with terrorists.

Terrorists, always terrorists: an amorphous enemy for all times, we do not even have to attach it to any particular country. It is a free-floating anxiety that we can tap into to sell any bill of goods we want, from political to religious to business. The fact is that 99.99% of the world’s population wants peace and to be left alone to love and be loved; they want to help others. There are a few we need to be on the alert for, but to put the whole at the service of the fear of the aberrant is to put us all in a prison camp.

One difficulty in a pluralistic world is to train our vigilance to spot the dangers. It is a continually evolving thing. But it is lunacy to put bars on all the windows and search every person on the theory that it will deter the bad guys. The bad guys will watch and see where the holes in the fence are and will enter as if there were no fence.

We have created an American Myth: the rich and bountiful. And then when others come to ask their opportunity to share, we yank it away (is that one reason they call us Yanks?) and say You cannot have. We hold out the cookie jar to a hungry child and then slap her hand when she reaches for one.

It is not a matter of laws being broken; it is a matter that we are breaking a higher one: the law of the sharing of life. You shall not kill. Yet if we have the food and withhold it from a starving one, are we not killers?

Show me on the picture of our blue planet where is the United States, Mexico, Canada, Indiana, Michigan, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Germany, Holland, Poland. It is one world and the lines we draw are artificial. So too our laws, and we can redraw them any time we see a larger light.

Here are some questions I still have: How long does it take to enter this country legally to work and live here, from Mexico, from other countries? Why do people want to come here in such numbers from Mexico? Why not work in the factories that have relocated from the US to Mexico under NAFTA or otherwise? Why have they been forced from traditional work? Can they make a living in Mexico? How are their problems our problems? Why do people not apply for citizenship more often once they are here? Are people in any sort of a box once they come here? What are the advantages to Americans from immigration? What are the disadvantages?

Why are we so incensed over immigration and commerce which we call “illegal?” Is it the very notion that someone is thumbing their nose at our laws? Are we afraid that we might have to actually speak with someone with a darker skin, a relative of the Indians our ancestors threw off the land? Is it a racial issue: are we still trying to put down the “Indians?”

I have no answers. That is probably good, for therefore I can still dialogue. Therefore change is still possible. Not change that is imposed by those with the power and money to beat the rest of us into submission. Rather, change that is integral to us, that runs heart and gut deep.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on July 19th, 2006 | No Comments »

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