Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Wall of America

Every election cycle Republicans want to erect a taller, more formidable wall around America. Herm Cain has "joked" about a 20-foot wall with an alligator filled moat and topped with electrified barbed wire. He has additionally "joked" that he expects a death toll well under three million people. (Herm Cain has a strange sense of humor.)

Mitt Romney is, as usual, vaguer than Cain although he has urged a "high-tech" border fence around the entire 6,000 miles of the United States. Developed during the Bush Administration the SBInet program took five years to install 50 miles and has already been dismissed as an expensive failure.

Rick Perry got in trouble with Republicans when he mentioned out loud that trying to fence off the Rio Grande River is kinda stupid.
Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park
 All the Great Walls of history were built out of fear. Hadrian built his wall because he feared the Scots. The Great Wall of China was built to keep out the Mongols. The Maginot Line was the embodiment of French fear of Les Boches. The West Bank Wall exists because Israelis are afraid of Palestinians. So too do Republicans fear Mexicans. In each case the goal is to keep "barbarians" from contaminating civilization.

A Border Fence History
In 1974, First Lady Pat Nixon dedicated the bi-national, trans-border Friendship Park near San Diego.
In 1994, the park was bisected by a massive border security fence.
But that didn't stop people from fraternizing across the border. So in 2009 the Border Patrol closed off all US access to Friendship Park. Access is strictly controlled and no cross-border touching is allowed. (Similar to visitation at a maximum security prison.)
A Catholic priest was arrested for passing communion wafers through the fence.
And the irony is that if you really want to illegally cross the border at Friendship Park all you have to do is grab a boogie board and paddle west beyond the surf line.

Additional Links
The Great Wall of America - Time, 2008
Friends of Friendship Park
Friendship Park Celebration - Visual Peacemakers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lord, what fools these mortals be.