Blame Game

bill wisner

I rolled into Laredo from the longest, darkest street I’ve hit yet. Coming down 83, you’re pulled a good 30 miles from the River. Crossing the Camino Columbia tollway (and almost as quickly, U.S. I-35), can be like spilling into a pinball field, falling into a land of giants.

The semis pull around all sides of you, as the billboards grow with the approach of Laredo/Nuevo Laredo — the only major border town that planted roots on the north side of the river and grew south. I’m here to screw up another video session and talk shop with a River badass, whose book, The Tecate Journals, was just published.

But for all my dithering the night before trying to find a motel with reasonable rates AND wi-fi (SOL) and the hands fidgeting toward midnight, I manage to settle for an oversized beer and an undersized room.

I’m seeing an accelerating interest in this River, the River peoples, and (especially) The Wall. My interview in the town back, Eagle Pass, is joined by German radio. Behind him is a German TV crew. There is national press gathering for the Walk ahead of me.

fenceAt the Laredo Community College, “Wall Jr.” went up a couple years back on the campus’ backside (right). The reference librarian (top), a raving liberal masquerading in tie and jacket, tells me that “if we don’t get sensible with our policies, like with a guest worker program, we are going to see real violence… There is a difference between using your brain and using your trigger finger. We can all see it coming.”

He’s not in the minority in his opinion, even if he is in his pigmentation here. Bill Wisner offers the same ultra-reasonable assessment I’ve heard many times (economic policy, not guns and walls). But many others, those who resist The Wall internally, but are not engaging in protest or even letter-writing, are absorbed in predicting which new president will save us at last.

As I bone up on the history of our border policies, I find yet another effort underway to chronicle the malady: The Wall Documentary.

wall planners
I knew a few of the names behind this isolation business. Knew them to be northerners, at any rate. Thought, “Surely no one from Texas would be that stupid.” But then I clicked through this documentary’s website and found a Lone Star five-man huddle complicit as co-signers of the Fence Act:

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant

U.S. Rep. Jeb Henserling

Talk about a bunch of pinche gringos. Be sure to write them and thank them for their enthusiastic willingness to waste your money while trying to destroy our River culture, shared ecology, and bi-national friendship.

2 thoughts on “Blame Game

  1. Laredo is a great example of bi-nationalism because it is prenational. It was founded in 1755 as part of New Spain, a good 21 years ahead of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It was not a border town because the United States and Mexico did not yet exist. It was a town built alongside a river, which provided the water that its residents needed to live. When the river became the border following the Mexican-American War Laredo’s residents petitioned the U.S. to return the town to Mexico. The U.S. refused, so a sizeable portion of Laredo’s northern residents moved across the river to the Mexican side.

    Roma (founded in 1765) and a number of other Texas border towns have a similar history, and the connections continue to this day. Some families still hold lands given by the King of Spain in the 1760’s. Others have ties to family in Mexico that are just as tight as their ties to the United States. The river doesn’t divide.

  2. Greg, you know how to tell it like it is. A bunch of pinche gringos is right! And I’m writing to each one of them. Keep up the great work and get home safely!

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