I belong to an e-group, newsgroup, or whatever they're called, devoted to the subject of gay Mexico. Not unexpectedly, a string began a debate on the current legislative push for criminalization of illegal border breaking and other stringent, even draconian measures. One group contributor, who uses the screen name of "vanycle2000," said: "I'm for an open border with Mexico and Canada. This road to nationalism is well trod and perilous." The following is my response:
If you mean by "open borders" unchecked, unmonitored crossings, I am afraid I cannot disagree more. Unfortunately, the one good argument the hardliners have in this national debate is the spectre of 9/11. Just because bin Laden has not attacked people or places on our soil since the initial Al Qaida airplane suicide doesn't mean the terrorist group (and possibly others) have no plans for other hits or means of carrying them out.
It is characteristic of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists that they can and do lie in wait with the patience of Job until "just" the right time to hit. Many of the 9/11 loony-thugs who brought down the Twin Towers crossed over the Canadian-U.S. border on their way to Boston, where they boarded the planes. And, given that not only the smugglers but organized crime is involved in the border breaking, few questions are asked, *dinero* being the only consideration. A mideasterner or two with terrorism on their minds are not going to have *that* much trouble finding someone to help them make it across the Rio Grande into one of the border states. My bet is that it has already happened -- more than once.
Yes, I know, 9/11 has been used as an excuse to plan such silly ass actions as building a wall across the Mexican border and stationing National Guard troops on the Rio Grande. Fear is a potent weapon when wielded by the bigots who want all illegals charged with a felony offense (where do they think they'll find prison space for those of the 11 million illegals they now routinely return to their native soil?!), but if you were living in a place like Corpus Christi, as I am, you would be frightened with or without the fear mongering of the Mitch McConnells, Bill Frists, and Tom Tancredos.
Our seaport is the nation's fifth largest, and just happens to be the primary port for onloading of military materiel bound for Iraq. I get spooked every time I hear an airplane go over the city. It's depressing as hell, a kind of perpetual rendition of what Americans went through in October of '62, without the empty shelves at the local supermarkets, only now it is bin Laden instead of Khruschev. In my idyllic liberal youth I saw borders as necessary evils at best, thinking it silly that when my train passed from Germany to Switzerland, customs inspectors boarded my wagonlit to inspect passports and stamp them with visas. I held more or less the same bemused skepticism until 2001, but I can hold it no longer.
I get tired of hearing that dumb-ass clown from Crawford go on about 9/11's having "changed everything." But guess what? He's right about that one thing. (Not that he can legitimately use it to justify such a pre-emptive use of force as the invasion of Iraq!) No, I am afraid I cannot agree that policing of U.S.-Mexican and Canadian borders should be abolished. Those Border Patrolmen help me sleep better nights.