25 May 2006

Fox doesn't like fences

Visiting more of his colonists yesterday, Mexican president Vicente Fox told them that problems are not solved with walls because—among other things, I’m sure—walls only put distance between people.  As if that’s always a bad thing.  There’s another way of looking at it.  What’s that saying?  Something like, “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Let’s say, for purposes of explication, that you are the owner of a suburban house with no fence around it of any kind.  Let’s also say that several of the kids in the neighborhood like to use your property as a shortcut to the park where they go and do whatever it is that neighborhood kids do these days.  One day you decide that you have had enough.  You’ve asked politely; you’ve flatly demanded.  But no matter how politely you ask, and regardless how vehement your demands that your property rights be respected, these kids insist on using your yard as their own private avenue to the park.  Even talking to the kids’ parents has no effect on the matter.  So you decide to build a chain link fence, nothing really big, just about four feet high, just high enough to keep cyclists out of your yard.  Now, let’s imagine that the children, and their spineless parents of course, object to this aggressive move on your part.  The children say, “We’ll still find a way to use your yard as a short cut.”  The parents say, “You know Joe,” (let’s say they call you Joe because that’s your name) “fences only put distance between people; they don’t solve problems.”

It is noted, Presidente Fox, that you are not here telling your people to get their law-breaking fourth points of contact back home and to respect national borders.  (We have read some of your country’s laws, so we know that’s what you would want our president to do if circumstances were reversed.)

Are there no fences in Mexico, Presidente Fox?

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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