In the 1980s, many Texans were alarmed that hordes of immigrants were fleeing Rust Belt states and pouring across the Red River to take our jobs. So, my friend Steve Fromholz recommended a big beautiful wall across our northern border to keep them out.
But Fromholz – a popular singer-songwriter and renown political sprite – was ahead of his time in the political sport of wallbuilding. Instead of steel barriers and miles of nasty of razor wire, Steve proposed preventing Yankee refugees from entering the Lone Star State by planting a 10-foot high, 10-foot thick wall of jalapeño peppers along the length of the Red River. Eat your way through… and you’d be accepted as a naturalized Texan.
I thought of Steve’s impishness when I read that Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and other Republicans were concocting a whole new xenophobic bugaboo to goose up their anti-immigrant demagoguery. We can’t just fear the “invasion” coming across our Southern border, they cry! Indeed, Haley wailed: “It’s the northern border, too” – adding ominously that we must “do whatever it takes to keep people out.” And then DeSantis piled on, saying we should wall off America’s Canadian border.
Meanwhile, nearly all residents living along that 5,500-mile boundary fear the political wall-mongers more than the imaginary threat of foreigners surging across illegally. “People have always been coming through Canada,” says a clerk at a general store in far-north New Hampshire. Scoffing at the silly political hype, she says: “I don’t think the residents are really worried.”
But Chicken-Little politicos won’t be shooed off by reality. After all, they still have the east, west, and gulf coasts to shut off – so expect them to propose razor wire for the entire US shoreline. Their ridiculousness makes Fromholz’s satire seem rational!
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