Maggie Van Ostrand Column
By Maggie Van Ostrand
maggie@maggievanostrand.com
www.maggievanostrand.com

Fencing Politicians

     It’s easy to tell an election is coming in the U.S., because here we go again with the border situation, better known as the “Let’s build a fence to keep them out” game. If U.S. politicians were really worried about illegals crossing over, they’d talk about it all the time, instead of just in election years.  Besides, if the politicians really wanted to keep illegals out of the country, who would pick their lettuce, clean their houses, and mind their kids?
     What are North Americans afraid of? Are we afraid someone will come along and take our country from us the way we took it from the Indians and the Mexicans? Are we judging everyone else by our own past deeds? If that is the case, we had better change our thinking. So many countries are angry with us at this time, we could really use a friend.
Politicians are using the media to breed hatred and fear in U.S. citizens against a gentle and kindly people they refer to as “aliens” and “illegals.” They would not do so if those same people could vote for them. Goodbye ethics, so long honor.
     Mexicans are not the drug-pushing, bribe-taking, knife-wielding banditos the U.S. media writes about.  It would be nice if U.S. citizens would spend the same amount of time studying about Mexico and her people as we do trying to understand  Mid-Eastern culture. The joke is on us if oil is really what the war on Iraq is all about. What do we think Mexicans put in their gas tanks, tacos? We don’t see Mexico groveling at the feet of the Arab nations. Why should it? Mexico has its own oil.
     We seem eager to learn about the country to which we’re sending our young sons. At this writing, six of the top ten books on the New York Times Best Seller non-fiction list are about Iraq and/or terrorist nations. One is about “unchecked immigration.” None is about what the Mexican people are really like. It’s not as though Mexico’s location is on the other side of the world. It’s not even the country we tell our kids they’ll get to if they dig deep enough in the garden.
     Most U.S. citizens do not even know that Mexico declared war on the evil Axis in World War II as a show of support toward its northern neighbor. For this act of overwhelming friendship, what do we do? We build a fence. The fence thing, which the media has U.S. citizens convinced is a great and workable idea, is hilarious and only goes to show that North American politicians have a sense of humor. No doubt this fictional fence will be made of chain link in order to give those wanting to come north a proper foothold.  Then they will put gates in the chain link fence so that, when Mexicans wish to come north, they can just open the gate and calmly walk over, without all that nasty digging under and climbing over.
     This, the politicians will tell the North Americans, will prevent damage to such an expensive fence. Of course, the price of chain link has risen so taxes will also have to rise to keep up with the times. The politicians will tell the people to blame the Mexicans for this.
     We should not build a fence to keep them out, we should build a bridge to let them in.