Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I can drive north from my home in Wyoming and cross the border into Montana. There I can get a job, buy a home and all that. If I continue north, I hit another border and I cannot just drive across and get a job or buy a home. Both borders are imaginary lines marking governmental jurisdictions. I also cross county lines and watersheds. The world is full of lines. This is how we organize ourselves and maintain order. These lines are always shifting around. I read a great remark by a Hispanic activist in the southwest. He claimed that he did not illegally cross a border, the border illegally crossed him. There was a war, we won. The folks who lived here along the North Platte, say, 250 years ago, they did not draw clean boundaries so the immigration from the east was not strictly illegal. The Americans came and took the land because they could. We English speaking white folks are not the first to wring our hands over demographic changes and we probably will not be the last. In my understanding - we cannot just open our borders to all comers and we cannot deny opportunity or say to someone, you are not welcomed here. Resolving those internal conflicts used to be the job of politics. Maybe it still is.