Building Protective Walls
I am currently traveling in South America.
I have a grumpy confession to make. I sometimes really get irritated by all these foreigners coming across the borders of Latin American countries, even though I am one of them.
A lot of them don't even bother to learn the language. They huddle in their little cliques, listen to their own music, go to their own bars and restaurants, and want everyone to clean up after them.
|Once we recognize the walls, we can begin looking for the doors. We have to start somewhere.|
Not only that, they take jobs away from people in the Southern hemisphere. Salvador Allende, for example, president of Chile. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, president of Haiti. They both had pretty good jobs before some people from the north got to them. It's no wonder that the current president of Bolivia is so paranoid about his job.
And what about all those corn farmers in Mexico who had pretty good jobs growing their own corn before some people from the North decided that Mexicans should eat U.S. corn, and came up with this thing called a “free” trade agreement. I guess those farmers have been freed up to cross the desert into L.A., where they are illegally washing dishes.
Then there is the invasion here in the South of McDonald's and Starbucks. Let's not even go there.
Since YES! is a magazine of alternatives, I'd like to present a few alternatives to the problem of illegal and unwanted invasions across national borders.
My suggestion is that we start at the top. Yes, George, that means you.
First, we make Señor Bush learn Spanish. He clearly needs a break from learning English. Next, we put him in the middle of the Sonora desert, blindfold him, spin him around a few times, and see if he can find his way home.
I hope I don't sound too mean. This is an earnest experiment in cross-cultural education.
As for the wall along the Southern border, in the interests of everyone's national security, I'm all for it. It'll keep that pernicious Northern influence from creeping any further South.
But in the interests of specifically American people — we all know who we are — let's not stop there. I say it's high time we stopped that flood of Canadians from swarming across our northern border. Or is it a flood of Americans escaping to Canada, I forget. At any rate, we need to do something fast or we're all going to end up eating moose and mispronouncing about.
As for the east, well a nice little wall there, perhaps fabricated from the outdated Statue of Liberty, would keep out all that Eurotrash, wouldn't it? I mean, who do they think they are, naming our Freedom Fries after their country—what outrageous cultural appropriation.
And the West — obviously far too many suspicious Asian influences. Feng Shui. Japanese girl bands. Buddhism. Egg Foo Yung. How can we win a war with any of that?
What, you say, I've put a wall around the entire country? Yep, that's right.
But it's only another wall.
If we look around, we'll find that the world is already full of 'em.
Nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, political orientation. Skin, sex, age. My current mood of the moment. All of these both assert me and build invisible walls around me.
Once we recognize the walls, we can begin looking for the doors. We have to start somewhere.
Lisa Gale Garrigues is a contributing editor for YES! who lives in South America.
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