First Glimpse of the Wall

I couldn’t help but think of the Truman Show when we crossed the US/Mexico Border in Nogales on Thursday.

I’ve seen the Truman Show exactly once, in seventh grade English class, I think as part of a unit on 1984.  The finer details of the movie escape me, but the concept of being in a manufactured lie of a world, oblivious to the world outside, stuck.

I don’t want to push this metaphor too far, because it’s certainly not a perfect parallel, but arriving at the US/Mexico border in Nogales felt like reaching the edge of a bubble that the “People In Charge” didn’t want me to find or know was there.  Because if more people could see this border town, with the border fence undulating along the hills, more people would surely be asking the question I asked, which was are you kidding me?

This wall, which isn’t a wall any more, because they replaced it with a 25-foot iron fence last year, makes it extremely hard to cross the border in the urban area of Nogales.  It is see-through, so the border patrol can more easily see what’s going on on the other side.  They are allowed to shoot through it.  To me, it seems like an instrument of violence, a roadblock for people who cannot survive on the Mexican side, pushing them out to the desert to attempt to cross, and quite possibly die.

It’s hard to wrap my head around, and to attempt to comprehend how we got here: to a place where a country which claims to promote freedom around the world has a fence around it.  It isn’t the first time I’ve wondered something like this, and I’m damn sure it won’t be the last.

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