Sunday, December 28, 2008
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"