Excerpt from Border Hysteria and the War against Difference

by Guillermo Gómez-Peña

The frightening post-9/11 political lingo has been normalized, and so have the fears and humiliation rituals shaped by it. George Orwell’s bible of “Newspeak” and the cold-war jargon of the “Wetback Menace” were nothing compared to the linguistic artistry of the Bush regime.

Phrases like “Homeland Security” and “Patriot Act” are fascist terminology that closely resembles Nazi jargon. “Homeland Security” in German literally translates to the original name of the Nazi SS. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is now the new acronym for the border patrol. What a pitiful metaphorical choice! Is their objective to “freeze” all border crossings? Think about these terms! Isn’t it clear that “National Security” really means security for a few middle- and upper-class whites and insecurity for the rest? Have we become so shortsighted that we can’t understand that “ethnic profiling,” now official policy and daily practice, is a euphemism for blatant and institutionally sanctioned racism?

As we build the “second border wall” we are sending an unambiguous message to the rest of the world: “The US DOES NOT wish to be part of the world community; leave us alone…or else!”

As the popularity of neocon policies decreases along with the mirage of national unity created by the phony patriotism of war, we become aware of a dramatic fact: We are a divided country, and divided we stand.

The internal divisions multiply beyond the popularized blue/red American schism revealing multiple Americas, fragmented communities and divided families. The “typical” Chicano family of today is also divided along conscious and unconscious ideological lines. Seated at the same family table one can find a soldier and an antiwar activist, a border patrolman and an undocumented uncle, an artist and a Hispanic businessman, a confused patriot and a lonely internationalist. Clearly, the post-9/11 culture of panic, militarism, censorship, and paranoid nationalism has permeated our psyches, daily interactions and personal relationships.

As critical artists, we are overworked and poorer than we were a decade ago; we’re politically exhausted and scared shitless of the immediate future. It is no coincidence that in the last few years personal illness, breakups, and suicide have all increased exponentially against the backdrop of social, racial, and military violence. Understandably, our bodies and psyches are internalizing the pain of the larger sociopolitical body, and we are absorbing the fear and despair of the collective psyche. As Latinos, our brown bodies are also occupied territories in which other wars are taking place.

(Full text at http://www2.ucsc.edu/raza/pipeline/border.pdf)