I am watching the National Geographic Channel program ‘The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us: ‘Tear Down These Walls’. As the title alludes, it includes Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I was not a great fan of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, but he did say some inspiring things, & for me, this was the best, & not just his, but our best.
I was born & grew up within the previously Mexican territory known as Los Angeles. As a child I remember being taught to be proud of the Mexican contribution to our California culture. I think it was in part because of my mother’s dark skinned father, John Burnell Rutledge, who spoke fluent Spanish & was the son of a border patrolman in south Texas in the late 1800s. He was proud to be a direct descendant of Edward Rutledge, a Revolutionary war governor of South Carolina & signatory to the Declaration of Independence. Little was said of my great grandmother, but I suspect she was of ‘Mexican’ heritage.
Because of these cultural influences, I elected to take a Spanish language class when it was offered at my intermediate school in Seal Beach, CA. After 1 hour a week for 2 school years I was proud to have a foothold in my land’s colonial language as well as its culture. I have subsequently taken Spanish languages courses to more fully engage my heritage.
A current political argument is about how the United States should deal with illegal immigrants. Purportedly the great masses of U.S. immigrants, both legal & illegal, are Latino. The great majority of these Latinos come from countries to the south of the U.S. It has been said that a fence should be built along the southern U.S. border to prevent these people, who are not approved by the U.S. government, from coming here.
It has occurred to me that these 2 separations, Ronald Reagan’s East & West Berlin, & my North & South America, are the same sort of a thing.
I have no desire to be walled or fenced off from my fellow human beings to the south, possibly my cousins, nor any peaceable people. There is nothing in it for me. I find that the more access I have to potential exchange partners the better it is for all of us.
So why do we have these borders? The rules benefit those who claim to have authority over that which is yours & mine. Though they don’t own it, they claim it, & make the most of this proclaimed authority.
Claims are made that illegal immigrants will briefly swoop in & take that which Americans have struggled for all their lives.
If people cannot cite a Social Security number, then they cannot collect Social Security benefits. If they can, they likely have paid into that account for quite some time & deserve to be repaid by it.
When people come to our land they participate with us in our communities. They bring the same things we have brought. If they work, which almost all do, they bring their skills & improve our society. If they eat & use clothing, & other items, they pay same sales taxes on what they use as we do. If they sleep inside a building, they enlarge the market for residential construction.
I think a lot of scrutiny regarding the U.S. southern border derives from physical differences. The people south of the American border, categorized as Hispanic or Latino, relating to their language & presumed ancestral nations, are miss-assigned. The darker-than-European people of Spanish & Portuguese language speaking nations south of
the U.S. are mostly not European, but American Indian, now categorized as Native American. Almost all people categorized as Latino in the Americas are in fact the decedents of people who have lived in these 2 continents for at least the last 12 thousand years.
During the last 5 centuries, light skinned European immigrants have taken control of many of these long inhabited lands by way of the east coast colonies, the Texas & California Republics, & the absorption of those entities into the United States. Other lands of the southern portions of New Mexico & Arizona were accreted into the U.S. union by way of the Mexican American War & the subsequent Gadsden Purchase.
It has been alluded that people don’t respect the U.S. border. I think I can justifiably argue that the border has not respected people.
Pat Brock
24 July 2014

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