Sunday, December 28, 2008

Border Fence

Yesterday I saw, up close and personal, the tall, metal border fence erected between the small eastern San Diego County town of Jacumba and the little Mexican town of Jacume across the imaginary border line. For some reasons, both understandable and unfathomable at the same time, seeing this symbol of division brought tears to my eyes.

After a short drive through desert and brush, we parked next to the fence and just stared. What was once an uneven barbed wire fence where people from both sides of the border regularly crossed had, in a short time, grown to over eight feet tall and now extends for miles, even climbing a mountain. The day before I'd sat captive in the car while driving my 83-year-old mother home from a trip to the mountains. I listened to her complain about all the Mexicans here, about how they all had too many noisy kids, about how she had never been biased before but now hates it that everyone she sees now is Mexican. I held my tongue, probably literally at times, not trusting what would come out of my own mouth.

I grew up here in eastern San Diego County in the 1950s and 1960s, listening to people talk about the "wetback" problem. I watched as the border crossing between San Ysidro and Tijuana gradually took longer and longer to cross, ostensibly because of drug enforcement. Back then, perhaps naively, I even accepted that.

But yesterday I experienced only a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes, and a wish that we humans beings could stop being so cruel to each other in the name of border security. Call it not facing facts, being naive, being a Pollyanna, a bleeding heart liberal, not being aware of or choosing to ignore all the facts. I accept all that. However, the lump in my throat is still there, and will be for a long time.

"Border Towns Are Close Enough to Touch, but Worlds Apart" by Charlie LeDuff, NY Times

"Goal is to seal entire county, Hunter says"


Sage Words said...

Someone brighter than me once said, "It's always darkest before the dawn." Now weather that was a poet, a philosopher, or a light bulb salesman, I don't know, but in a lot of ways, it appears we are creeping up on the dawn. There's a lot of darkness in the world, but I'm confident in Human-Kind's ability to rise above it.

The border fences are sad, I grant you, but they won't last. Keep your chin up!

And when in doubt, eat some bacon-wrapped bacon with cheese sauce. It's very comforting! :-D

-Sage Words

Cedar ... said...

I have a lump in my throat just reading this. Here in far northern NY we have formal border crossing stations with Canada. Customs check points where cars are inspected if suspicious, but usually just a cursory glance at your i.d. and a few words about where you are going and how long you expect to stay. I hope here in the north we can keep it at that.

spiritualastronomer said...

Thank you, Sage Words and Cedar. SW, that bacon-wrapped bacon in cheese sauce sounds intriguing. Have you ever had a chocolate bar with bacon? Spendy at $6 but pretty good. A few people have let me know that fence won't last long, that people on both sides will tear it down any way they can. In fact, I read the Border Patrol stations extra guards to help avoid that possibility. We'll see.

Cedar, I've driven up into British Columbia, Canada many times,and up until last year, I'd never had any problems crossing from either side. This spring I was stopped for over 30 minutes going into Canada--needed to go into the building and answer a lot of questions about where I was going, for how long, who I was visiting, where they lived, and so forth. I'd never had to do that before. Then it happened again two days later while crossing the border into the U.S. I used my passport for I.D. each time, so have no idea what was going on other than a stiffening of regulations or something.