No More Wall
Statement of Randall E. Auxier and the Committee to Elect Auxier
I have been thinking about Trump's Wall. It reminded me of this wonderful song written by Anais Mitchell, performed here by Greg Brown. The message of the song, in its irony, is that a people can become so obsessed with keeping what it has that it no longer realizes that its "work" is only building its wall. There is certainly something of the Pink Floyd influence, but it's more like Pink Floyd and Dr. Seuss meet Donald Trump.
We started all this talk back in the xenophobic days of Pat Buchanan's runs for President, when he proposed a formidable ditch between the US and Mexico. Some were calling it "the ditch of freedom" to protect him from the howls of laughter.
We aren't laughing now. Bush the Younger closed the border after 9/11, of course, and it was slow to re-open in many rural places. One of those was the Big Bend National Park. This is one place Trump wants to build the wall. Here is a tour, courtesy of The New Yorker magazine.
I decided to protest these ditches and walls a while back. I took a trip across the Rio Grande without a passport and without the permission of either government --not that Mexico would be bothered. Here is my trip, pictured from the walls of Santa Elena Canyon in the Big Bend. I would like to think of it as a photo essay in protest of xenophobia.
Standing on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, that small figure is none other than I. I am contemplating my nation's immigration policy and wondering whether Mexico will mind my visit.
I favor open borders, not just with Mexico but with every country in the world. It is an illusion to believe that one can protect one's economy or achieve security by keeping out imagined or real enemies. The real ones find ways in; the imagined enemies are with us already, making us paranoid and stupid. What one does by building walls is discourage business, trade, investment, cultural exchange, mutual understanding among nations, and good will. What one creates with closed borders is suspicion, fear, rivalry, ignorance (both individual and cultural), and an incubator of conflict and war. Open borders are safer for everyone, and they also demonstrate that we refuse to live in fear and that we are not cowards.
If a wall is insisted upon, perhaps it should be built around the White House. If you don't think that will keep us safe. I suggest you give up on the other walls too. It's not only that the principle is the same --walls don't protect anyone these days-- it's just reality. A wall won't protect you from someone bent on taking your freedom, and neither will a gun. But a conversation would almost certainly help.