Saturday, December 02, 2006

A run for the border

By Capt. Fogg

Senator Joe Biden will soon be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He isn’t mincing words when it comes to his disdain for the government of Mexico and for the Mexicans coming into the US illegally. Of course he’s also maneuvering for a shot at the Presidency and so the Delaware Democrat was in South Carolina on Monday, Nov 27th, hammering away at the need to put up a wall and to punish those who hire Mexicans without papers. Said Biden of our neighbor to the south:

"It is one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere and because of a corrupt system that exists in Mexico, there is the 1 percent of the population at the top, a very small middle class and the rest is abject poverty."

Indeed it seems that Mexico is in a place the Republicans have been steering us toward for 12 years, but that’s another story. The US isn't looking for regeme change and Biden isn't offering to invade Mexico to set them free - he wants to put up a wall.

I was in the border town of Juarez, Mexico last week and two things were immediately apparent. The local economy is far worse than it was 5 years ago and Mexicans want to work and work hard – so hard that they will think of ways to be useful that I would never have thought of. They will also think of ways to get out of Mexico. In the US Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, I saw boats made of truck hoods that were used to cross the river. I saw Mad Max motorcycles made from pieces of farm equipment used to cross the desert carrying three to five very determined passengers.

Much of the really hard work done in really unbearable weather here in Sout Florida is done by Hispanics. Most are legal and there aren’t enough of them to meet the demand for roofers and masons to repair all or the hurricane damage of the last few years, but politicians are inventive too and they have as strong a desire to advance themselves as some one armed guy outside the Mercado in Juarez acting as a free lance traffic director hoping you’ll give him a few Pesos for finding you a parking spot. They need something to scare us with and someone to exploit and that just happens to be Mexico.

These politicians have so whipped up public animosity that I’m not sure any reasonable solution to whatever problem may lurk behind the screen of xenophobia and nativism and fear of foreign words will arise. I’m not sure that any real sense of whether undocumented Mexicans are an asset to or drain on the economy will emerge, but I am sure that this country; this government that can’t stop rhapsodizing about freedom and liberty and elections and the glory of unbridled capitalism really doesn’t give a flying damn about what happens anywhere or to anyone. In that respect, the government and the people of the United States seem to be as one.

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