Life was simpler when I was young.
No, that's not true. But in my 'good old days,' there were folks who lived in a fairly simple world. For some, the virtues of Mom, Apple Pie and America were threatened by commie plots. For others, the forward-looking peoples' revolution was thwarted by the military-industrial complex and Yankee imperialism.
That was then, this is now. Some folks haven't gotten the memo that the fifties and sixties are over; that disco's dead; and that Russia's leaders are digging their way out from under the wreckage of the worker's paradise.
For the most part, though, I think many - maybe most - people know what decade they're at. Which is a good start.
Mexico: Beyond the Sombrero and Rotten Teeth
Remember when Jennifer Wilbanks said she was kidnapped and sexually abused by a Mexican with rotten teeth? ("Runaway Bride's Tall Tawdry Tale
," thesmokinggun.com) She wasn't: she had decided to join a fairly large group of Anglos who used a fictional Hispanic man as a fall guy
It's true: some folks who are Hispanic also commit crimes. A teenage girl was raped not too many miles from here - and, as it happened, the man who was convicted was no Anglo. That conviction I'm inclined to believe, by the way, on the basis of evidence of testimony.
But let's get real: people with complexions as melanin-deficient as mine rape, steal, and murder, too. We're all human beings. Which is another topic.
Particularly considering a real problem that's brewing south of the American southwest, I think it's high time that Americans review what we think about Mexico.
Like any other place in the real world - it's a place in the real world. Mexico is not
- An exotic location for stories
- Populated by
- Beautiful young women
- Men with bad teeth
- Some guy under a sombrero who's been sleeping against the same wall for years
- A glorious land of revolution
- Striding forward into an enlightened tomorrow
- A breeding ground of foreigners who
- Don't look like 'real Americans'
- Are criminals
- Sneak into America
- To get welfare
- And mow the lawn
- For less money than 'real Americans' demand
Assumptions 1 and 2 are, I hope, less common these days. Number 3? That stereotype is still with us. ("St. Rose of Lima, Decisions, and Being Catholic
," A Catholic Citizen in America (May 29, 2010)) Illegal immigration/undocumented aliens/whatever is a real issue - but I do not like the emotional baggage that some 'real Americans' bring to it.
Sadly, Mexico is a place that has earned a place on the Committee to Protect Journalists's Impunity Index - that select group of nations which are least likely to look into the death of a bothersome journalist, and reveal who is responsible.
It's also a nation which may not have a functioning government soon. Along with Pakistan, it's been cited as among the 'most likely to collapse.' (January 14, 2009
The good news is that Mexico doesn't seem to be as badly off as Somalia. But then, few nations are.
At least, Mexico has a central government that says it's trying to control the drug lords. Which is a nice gesture, I think. And certainly makes more sense than denying that the drug wars exist - or are some kind of CIA plot.
And some of the violence in Mexico may be the result of Mexican governors and the Mexican national government getting around to making an effort to enforce their own laws.
The War on Terror? Yeah, It Connects
All of this may seem very off-topic for this blog. I don't think so.
I'm pretty sure that Mexican nationals could spot someone who'd been born in, say, Yemin or Saudi Arabia, and was trying to 'act Mexican.'
Just as someone in northern Minnesota would probably be able to spot the Frenchman who's trying to act just like the locals: you betcha. We're 2nd, 3rd, and up - generation Scandinavian Americans, with a mix of German and Irish. It's not the ethnic differences that'd give the Frenchman away: it's the dialect and customs.
But, getting back to Mexico - I think it's likely enough that Americans, particularly 'real Americans,' might very well not notice the Middle Eastern national who's claiming to be a Hispanic immigrant.
Ethnic profiling? I've discussed this before
Radical Islam isn't the Only Threat
real threat on America's Mexican border hasn't been Islamic and/or Middle Eastern terrorists trying to get across the border. We've had small-scale incidents of piracy on Falcon Lake, which runs along the Texas-Tamaulipas border. And a bit under five and a half square miles of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge has been off-limits to visitors since October 6, 2006. ("Media Advisory
," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (June 6, 2010))
The reason was that the Mexican governments were either unwilling or unable to control illegal human trafficking and drug running along that section of the border - and American governments had decided that it was too much trouble to enforce our laws, on this side of the border.
I'm not happy about the situation on either side of the border.
Mexico's lawlessness, coupled with America's perhaps-reasonable unwillingness to control activity at the border, is as real a threat to the safety of American residents as crazed Muslims. (Not all Muslims are crazed - another topic
I rather hope that the folks who are making decisions for the official state and national units in Mexico decide that, on the whole, it's best to bring Mexico up to speed with those nations that enforce their own laws and don't let inconvenient reporters get killed. That would be nice.
I also hope that America's state and national leaders get it through their collective skulls that there's a real problem at the borders (Canada, too - that's another topic).
I'm afraid a change of direction on the American side will take a serious reality check. The impression I have is that the current situation, where illegal immigrants/whatever provide a source for easily-fired, cheap labor, is just too comfortable for our leaders.
Some state and national leaders are decent folks, and in many cases are - not poor. I have no problem with people being wealthy. But when you've got an estate that requires a domestic staff for proper maintenance: The temptation to maintain a pool of unpeople who will work for a fraction what you'd have to pay an American resident must be extreme.
Enough with speculation.
Mexican Schools, American Wildlife Land
What got me started on this post? Two news article:
"Violence closes schools early in Mexican state, governor says"
CNN (June 16, 2010)
"Elementary and middle school classes in the Mexican state of Nayarit will end Friday, three weeks early, due to concerns over safety, the governor announced.
"Saying that Nayarit faces difficult days, Gov. Ney Gonzalez Sanchez also announced that his administration is taking over command of the state police, the official Notimex news agency reported.
"Gonzalez also denied on his Facebook page a media report that he has faced death threats...."
Apparently, Mexican media has reported that Governor Gonzalez said that he's certain he'll be assassinated and that he'll laugh at his killers from Heaven.
Governor Gonzalez says, on his Facebook account, that he's not threatened and that he doesn't make "bravura" statements.
"U.S. Parkland Bordering Mexico, Shut Since 2006, Remains Off-Limits As Violence Escalates"
FOXNews (June 17, 2010)
"Four years after federal officials quietly surrendered thousands of acres of America's border to Mexican drug gangs and illegals, there still are 'no plans to reopen' the taxpayer-owned national park lands.
"Roughly 3,500 acres of taxpayer-funded government land in Arizona have been closed to U.S. citizens since 2006 due to safety concerns fueled by drug and human smuggling along the Mexican border, according to a statement posted on the website for the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge...."
3,500 acres is a little over 5.4 square miles: not a huge tract of land.
Although I think I understand the park officials' reasons for closing that section of the wildlife refuge: I am also not happy that a swatch of American land is now off-limits to Americans.
I also think that it will be a very bad idea to effectively cede
more territory to the criminal organizations which appear to be the practical rulers of parts of Mexico at this time.
- "Falcon Lake, Texas: Sometimes Terrorists aren't 'Terrorists' "
(June 3, 2010)
- "Pirates Aren't Good for Business: or, Views From Zapata, Texas"
(May 30, 2010)
- "Holiday Inn Raid in Monterrey, Mexico? What Raid?"
(April 24, 2010)
- "Raid on Monterrey, Mexico, Holiday Inn: Bad News, But That's about All We Know"
(April 21, 2010)
- "The 90% Solution: American Guns, Mexican Raids, and Common Sense"
(April 2, 2009)
- "Pakistan and Mexico Collapse Possible: Why I'm Glad Somebody Else is President"
(January 14, 2009)
- "Committee to Protect Journalists Unveils the Impunity Index"
(April 30, 2008)