"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Flyover Country

NPR yesterday, after Trump's speech, went to a Republican Representative from Louisiana for comment on the need for a border wall on the Mexican border (never the Canadian border, because, you know, nothing to do with white people, right?).  I noted to The Lovely Wife that I had yet to hear from any politician from the border states (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California) that they favored the Trump Wall (even Cornyn and Cruz from Texas are silent).  I was not wrong:

The nine House members who represent border districts from California to Texas each voted in favor of bills to reopen the government without additional money for the wall, CBS News reported Tuesday. The funding package passed the House last week, but stalled in the GOP-led Senate. 

To be fair to NPR, they were looking for some GOP Congresscritter who could speak to Trump's intentions on the border.  They had to go to a non-border state to find one.  Mitch McConnell continues the trend of having no knowledge whatsoever of the Mexican border, which makes him an expert on it:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump’s proposal to increase border security through physical barriers “suits the reality on the ground” along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Will Hurd, as NPR mentioned, represents the Congressional district with the largest portion of the Mexican border in it (one of the largest in Texas, too; people are sparse in that part of the world).  Rep. Hurd is far more aware of "the reality on the ground" in Texas than the Senator from Kentucky is.  Rep. Hurd does not support the wall.  Rep. Hurd is a Republican.

People far from the border fear the border, because they fear the boundary between self and other (it's probably a long story but still, it's ultimately a question of identity, and identity is a question of who you are, and who you are not.  People who don't live on that boundary, physically or psychically, get very nervous about transgressions of that boundary.  People on the border, especially in Texas, see the boundary as a river they cross, not as a barrier they pierce or transgress.)  The further people are from the border, they more sure they are what the people who live on the border, need.

It's an ironic case of those with power living far from the people they want to wield power over, but almost no one finds it convenient to see it that way.  Mostly because the sense of transgression is so strong, the sense of threat so great, that arguments about who should decide get subsumed.  "National security" has been the popular excuse since Truman.  "Fear of a brown planet" is probably the better explanation today.

After all, nobody worries about Canada; or international airports.


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