Friday, June 22, 2007

borders and fences

We spend our energies reinforcing and reinterpreting borders. The relationship between Palestine and Israel. The Berlin Wall. White and colored. The Latino curtain being built on our southern border. Darfur and Sudan. National Parks that preserve the wild and unrestrained commercial development around them. Christians and Muslims. Terrorists (them) and moderates (us). There is substantial archaeological evidence that we are all one people, and we work harder to build fences between us and those we see as different.

In Long Prairie, a small town less than an hour south of us, a business has a large sign in its window admonishing us to "Stop the Invasion." At first, I thought it might be referring to our invasion of Iraq. Then I read the smaller print: stop the invasion of Hispanics from Mexico. The small town of Long Prairie is now 25% Latino, mostly folks from Michoacan who have come to work in the meat processing businesses of the area. But as far as that business owner can see, we're in a war here at home. Even though Long Prairie would be dying if it weren't for the new immigrants.

Vice-president Cheney is making new apartheids too. He has now relocated his office outside of the executive branch of government. We need a fourth branch now, after more than two and a quarter centuries without. So he imagines another border and builds another fence.