Border lite

 

Weaponized landscape or great place to drink Tecate? The tone of this piece is way out of whack with the story it purports to tell: how author Francisco Cantú transformed himself from a (brutal? we never find out) Border Patrol cop to a teacher, writer and (we are led to believe) sympathizer with those he (presumably) arrested (“The weaponized landscape,” HCN, 11/13/17). Instead, the interviewer treats us to flirty banter, foodie ruminations and romanticized tropes. (“His country’s border ... pulled at him. He came back to the desert.”) A pervasive odor of privilege ultimately ruins what might have been — with judicious editing — a salvageable story. To wit: “But the (border) line is surprisingly empty; we walk right through. We scan our passports, the Border Patrol agent takes a brief glance at them, and just like that, we cross the line into the United States — nonchalant, licking our popsicles, improbably powerful.” That phrase — “improbably powerful” — is exactly what needs unpacking here. We need to taste, smell, feel not the drippy taco juice running down one’s fingers, but the irony, inequality and ruthlessness of the border.

Meg Scherch-Peterson
Pilar, New Mexico