Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Nov 16 2006


Cardinal Renato Martino seems to have stirred the pot again with his negative remarks on a planned security wall at the U.S. border with Mexico. This isn't the first time he's caused heated discussions with his words, but he does come risk coming across as arrogant when he speaks about a situation he doesn't have to deal with personally on a daily basis.

Mexico has so many people risking their very lives to get out that at least a few people in power in Mexico must be getting benefit from all that activity or else Mexican officials would have done something drastic to keep people in Mexico long before this. It's something to consider before making blanket statements about what the U.S. should and should not do on its own side of the border.

A lot of things went through my mind as I read of Renato Martino's comments. I realize that he's the sort of fellow who makes a surface statement about peace and love and then stands back and smiles innocently while he watches the fur fly between the folks he incited to riot. But I still had a certain satisfaction while reading the reactions to his comments at Lucianne.com.

Maybe Cardinal Martino is sensitive to the idea of walls because Italy and the Vatican City have so many of their own. Most of us pass freely from place to place in the U.S., with merely a roadside sign that reminds us we're leaving one state and another sign welcoming us as we enter another state. We even have Welcome Centers and rest stops set up for travelers within our borders. There is no wall around Kentucky or Wisconsin.

California does have its check points, but that's basically an attempt to maintain the integrity of the beautiful produce we grow here for the rest of the world to enjoy. Those tricky little fruit flies and diseases could come in with tourists or even returning Californians and could put a crimp in our economy and food chain that could take many years to recover from. It's for the benefit of everyone that we take measures to keep the evil out while we make this a better place for everyone who lives, works and visits here—including Mexican immigrants who come here and work in the fields and orchards. A well-constructed wall would actually assure their continued employment in agriculture in California.

Literature, including religious literature, is full of walls as metaphors. The only thing a wall really does is to change the scenery of those on either side of it. And if all a person wants to do is see what's on the other side of a wall there are certainly many legitimate ways to do that. The same is true for those who want to travel to the other side of the wall. Most walls go up as tangible signs of shifts in societal attitudes. The same seems to be true of walls that are taken down. I'm just musing here, but perhaps Cardinal Martino is not as upset with the social and physical walls the U.S. might be putting up as he is with the ones in his own country that could be coming down.

posted at: 07:19 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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