Summer 1979. Fort Huachuca.
Forty years ago, I arrived in the desert for the first time. Primarily due to an upheaval in my personal life and economic reasons, I had joined the Army, and was attending a ten-week school before being assigned a permanent duty station.
We were paid monthly, and on payday we assembled on the parade ground for a brief ceremony. I thought it a strange practice, but I did enjoy the opportunity to wear our khaki uniform. While I do not recall the specifics of any given assembly, I do remember soldiers passing out and hitting the ground. I also remember a classmate from the Phoenix area who liked to play golf on Saturdays and spoke Spanish. More on that later.
When I first learned of the new P4P book selection, The Line Becomes a River, I knew it was something I wanted to read. It is a timely pick, for obvious reasons, but the book also addresses the history of creating a southern border as well as the psychological aspects that prevent us from rationally discussing the existing problems and what changes in policy might provide remedies.
“Jung asserts that when we come to perceive “the other” as someone to be feared and shunned, we risk the inner cohesion of our society, allowing our personal relationships to become undermined by a creeping mistrust.”
I think we can all agree that this is a potentially fatal human flaw (among others) which has been evident throughout history. Given the current demographics, the continuing promotion, by some, that segments of our population are “others” is detrimental to the health of our society, just as it has always been.
My classmate’s father owned a farm. Speaking Spanish was a necessity. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a local contractor sent a roofing crew from Texas to put new shingles on our roof. Some did not speak English, but they did a phenomenal job. Some of the hotel housekeepers encountered recently from Las Vegas to Nashville didn’t have command of the English language, but they performed their duties diligently.
Reported estimates of the number of undocumented aliens in this country vary, but it appears to be as many as ten million (rounding off). We currently have a low unemployment rate (subject to discussion about the real “strength” of this economy overall), with ten million undocumented aliens participating in our economy. I don’t see a problem other than the official status of these individuals, and the issue continuously being used as a political wedge by members of two parties who appear to place their own interests above those of the citizenry they are elected to represent.
Steve Hough is a lifelong independent and became an activist for political reform after retiring as an accountant. He is the director of Florida Fair and Open Primaries.