We Need You, Go Away

Although this week’s cover story is about using the SENTRI system to cross the border, the cover photo speaks volumes about the philosophies and policies of the United States and Mexico (“The Only Way to Walk Across the Border in Five Minutes,” Cover Story, November 23). The photo depicts the conditions on both sides of the border, about a quarter mile north and south of the border fence. The topography is obviously the same on both sides.

Ironically, the Mexican side is the fully developed side — a compact but still suburban development pattern anchored on its northernmost edge by a four-lane boulevard with a landscaped median and bustling with vehicular activity. Houses and shops are efficiently developed with no land wasted. American and Mexican consumer products are prominently advertised to passersby, indicating thriving commerce.

In stark contrast, the land north of the fence is the undeveloped American land — a large swamp bordered by a zigzagging American version of the Berlin Wall, apparently set up to “protect” what is left of America’s decadent socialist empire. Aside from a corner view of the international sewage treatment plant built a few years ago, the land is almost entirely unutilized for any purpose.

Mexico has no wall or fence and has no use for one, since Mexicans welcome the trade and commerce Americans will bring. They love the free-market concept. Americans, who have apparently grown tired of doing the hard work of building and producing, have, in effect, posted two signs on the border fence — one says Help Wanted, the other says No Trespassing. The paradox is stunning.

Hopefully, the day will come when we Americans realize that the free market is best, that there is no need for walls, fences, Border Patrol agents, SENTRI systems, and all the fiscal and economic costs associated with all of that. Hopefully, we will also recognize that the Mexicans are our neighbors, and they aren’t out to get us. The sooner that day comes, the better.

Russ Gibbon
via email

Show Me Your Cards

Good read was the cover article “The Only Way to Walk Across the Border in Five Minutes” on November 23. Very enjoyable.

I have three comments, remarks, or additions.

• U.S. citizens no longer need to carry the passport or passport card on them while crossing the border with a SENTRI card. The SENTRI card is all they need to present to the officer. Mexican citizens and green card holders need to show their visa card or green card along with the SENTRI card.

• Border crossers who are also frequent flyers can apply for both the SENTRI card and the Global Entry program (fast entry program at U.S. airports) at the same time and pay only for one of them.

• And, finally, a passport document is issued for the purpose of passing ports (being terrestrial ports of entry, airports, or seaports), and it is intended for immigration officers, not regular city or municipal police officers like the ones the author of the article mentioned. The request on the U.S. passport from the secretary of state to foreign officials to provide aid to the U.S. citizen who’s holding the passport is the same message on a Mexican passport from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to officials of other countries to provide aid to the Mexican citizen holding that passport. And I have seen a similar message on a Brazilian passport. No wonder it is ignored.

Sergio J. Castro
Rancho Bernardo

Shut Your Pie Hole

What kind of cretins are serving as gatekeepers at our graduate schools (“SD on the QT,” November 23)? From R. Harkness’s statements, we know, don’t we, how he got to where he is? He must have “enhanced” the hell out of all his “performances” all the way through school.

Let’s see, he says that cheating is necessary to success. Okay. Students who buy their papers instead of writing them are a leg up. Of course, that would disadvantage low-income students, but democracy is just a tight-ass ideal— forget about it. You might disadvantage some hard-up Einsteins out of the competition, but who cares? Mass-producing rich winner-types is more lucrative for the university. What does it matter if med students hire stooges to take their tests and do their autopsies? Med schools have been turning out know-nothing doctors for decades. What was good enough for previous generations is plenty good enough for present and future ones.

Why should students read textbooks and sit through lectures? They can hire someone else to do these things for them (if they can’t afford to, they’re out of the game). After all, traditional universities have to compete with cyberschools and correspondence schools, which enable students to personally do nothing whatever except arrange to pay fees. Anyway, academic s--- doesn’t have anything to do with what’s required in the real world of commerce.

UCSD knows what it takes to succeed: taking credit for someone else’s accomplishments, lying expeditiously, dropping the right names, knowing the right people and, most of all, having the finances to put on a good show. Excellence has a new meaning — times change, but, hey, Harkness, not always for the better. You represent decadence. You’re like a hopelessly decayed tooth in the jaw of higher education, and you should be immediately removed.

A suggestion for the editors. Is it one of the Reader’s goals to inform? I doubt it. Your broad-spectrum acid copy tells me that your staff writers are too skeptical and too smart to think they know anything for sure enough to inform us about. But if you do want to inform, it’s okay — it’s only human. Out here on the street, I believe the human animal’s favorite thing to do is not sex but the running of the mouth, and it doesn’t matter in the least if he has an IQ of minus 80. He wants to inform — not just talk, not just have somebody listen. He wants to uncover the “truth” about whatever. He reels off “facts” and cites authorities to prove his points. He might quote the Bible, which is myth, or the internet, which is probably the biggest source of misinformation in the world today. He doesn’t say “I think…” or “Maybe…” or “According to.…” He states his pathetic facts and tells you that he learned on the internet that the newspaper accounts of what happened on 9/11 were all a military-industrial-government cover-up, but he saw internet pictures showing what really happened. Even if he didn’t see the film Wag the Dog, he probably knows how media people can make pictures show whatever they want them to show, but he ignores anything negative about his source. If you verbally demolish his authority, he suddenly has other places to be — end of lecture. Praise be to whatever. Why don’t you do a piece on how to shut the know-nothings up?

Dorothy Casey
San Diego

“SD on the QT” is the Reader’s “almost factual news” feature. — Editor

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Hey, Russ, love the love, as an expat two decades into this, I appreciate it. One issue though. Go to Chiapas. Look at that border there. A whole different perspective. Mexico (as much as I love her) is no different from any other nation. They protect what is politically important and let loose with that which isn't worthy of a fight. Politics are a lot like bedbugs. You get bit when you sleep in a bed you're led to trust in.

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