After rubbing shoulders with Hollywood movie stars our group of 5 drove from LA to San Diego. This is right on the border with Mexico but still very much USA although you get the feeling you are entering into a Spanish speaking country because of the road signs, etc. But it is still very much Stars and Stripes and pumpkin pie territory.
As we approached the border (our event in San Diego was right by the border) we started to see looming in the distance an enormous Mexican flag and then in front of the where you see the flag you see one of the biggest embarrassments on the face of the planet. It’s the Mexico-USA border wall, built to divide the peoples of the USA and Mexico all in the name of combating drug trafficking and illegal immigration. The wall does not reach the whole way across the border but it’s growing. And already it has claimed more victims than the Berlin Wall did in its entire 30+ year history. According to reports, two people die every day trying to cross the border. Of course probably many, many more get through but it is an absolute stain on the USA’s reputation, of course this goes with all the many other stains on the USA’s reputation: the death penalty in many states, the right for ordinary citizens to bear arms, the inability for ordinary citizens to receive health care services free at the point of delivery, the 10,000+ nuclear warheads they possess, the wars they are waging around the world, the trade conditions they impose on the rest of the world, the way they bailed out Wall Street earlier in the year in order to keep the bankers paying their fat bonuses, the inability of same-sex couples to register their partnership and enjoy the rights that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy, etc, etc.
It’s tough to stand up for peace and nonviolence in the USA because there’s so much work to do!
Going back to the immigrants, the problem is of course the total hypocrisy of the situation – and this hypocrisy exists in many countries including the UK. When we were preparing ourselves for awkward press questions, one of the questions was what our position on illegal immigration is and of course we have a very clear position.
Firstly “no human being is illegal”. It is a hateful term to say that it’s illegal to be a human being. They may be without the documents that the system demands, but they aren’t illegal. Secondly, who picks the food from the fields? Who are the security guards? Who drive the taxis? Who clean the streets? Who makes the beds when you stay in a hotel? Who washes the dishes? And also, who cleans your house? Who’s looking after your children? Who washes your car? Look hard at the answers to these questions and in many cases you will find the “illegal” immigrants.
“Ah! But they don’t pay taxes!” What do you mean? You don’t let them pay taxes! But wait, they buy things, don’t they? Of course they pay taxes. And indeed, given the chance they’d pay more.
Underlying all of the strongest economies of the world is an undocumented, black-market labour force doing all the jobs that the ordinary citizens of the country refuse to do because these jobs are “beneath” them.
So when the politicians denounce the illegal immigrants they are being absolutely two-faced and hypocritical.
Then the other thing is the drug-trafficking. Let’s look at this question in more detail. It is well known that the whole drug trade was used very nicely by the CIA to fund all the political coups and military dictatorships in South America during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The USA created their drug culture which was then successfully exported to the rest of the world. The CIA raised millions and millions of dollars from drug-trafficking. Now that all their youth are hooked on drugs they try to stop the influx, but the question is why do young people take drugs? Ok, most of them take drugs for recreational purposes, but why do so many people spend their lives taking drugs and getting drunk? Clearly it’s not a moral issue; let everyone take whatever they want as long as they don’t harm others. But when so many people are taking these drugs you have to look at the reasons why.
People today are so totally stressed all the time. Modern life is a constant struggle to repay debts. These debts are loaded onto everyone from the moment they leave home for the first time and go to University or college. The way the Western culture teaches us to relax and unwind very quickly is through drink and drugs.
So, to look at the problem of drugs, you have to look at the problem of the economic system we live in. Of course no one does this and so the politicians blame the drug-traffickers, they blame the kids taking drugs, but they never blame themselves…