He won’t come. Not because he’s ‘not man enough’ or because he’s ‘chicken’ – as much as the name calling and bravado in this election cycle would fit. All the petitions, and all the emails won’t get Mr. Trump to our community.
No, The Donald will not set foot anywhere within the Capitol of the Border because it doesn’t fit his narrative of the border he’s designed, hinted at and lied about.
You know, that scary place where the others live: where there is the fear, with all the rapists, the drug dealers, the simultaneously lazy “illegal”who is not working, but taking your benefits while stealing your jobs. You know, the Mexicans.
I’m sorry to dash your hopes El Paso Republicans: this is flyover country for Mr. Trump, and with good reason. We here in El Paso are living in a future he (and some supporters – it would seem) would like to avoid at all costs.
82% Hispanic. A majority, not the minority-majority, but the straight up majority. A snapshot of what the good ol’ USA will look like around the year 2076 – our TriCentennial – maybe sooner.
And the result of that majority? A cartel-run, Thunderdome-esque free-for-all? Mad Max in a Low Rider, with Machete’ set to pounce on anyone who dare question him?
Nope. One of the safest cities in the country. Period. Except when someone has too much to drink, gets too angry and decides to take a life. And even then, the men and women of our local law enforcement community get their man (or woman.)
Even at the height of the cartel wars in our sister city – set off to see who would control the lucrative drug corridors for the self-medicating Americans – we remained safe, and a haven for those trying to escape the violence.
Like the Rust Belt and most other parts of the country, we here in the Borderland also live in a post-industrial world, and are trying to make it work for all of us. True, we once provided the cotton and copper for much of the country, the railroad lines bisecting our town brought travelers and goods from all over, and our factories gave the 20th Century the world’s best boots and the pointy-est polyester suits courtesy of Farah and his near mile-long factory.
Now, we shop on the same land that once housed Mr. Farah’s empire; we still produce boots by the mile, but the factories have shrunk. Medical schools and doctor’s offices populate lots where warehouses once stood. We provide components to our sister city in Juarez and in return get 4 passenger ATV’s, iPads, iPhones and more.
It’s a modern take on the reciprocity our two communities have been perfecting since the 1600’s; Just swap out the rio-grown sugar cane and Cornudas-sourced salt for modern components. We are what the US needs to become in this post-industrial age: innovative, cooperative and specialized.
And speaking of long histories, let’s talk about El Paso and the military.
No, not Fort Bliss, although the post has been key to our success since Texas was admitted into the Union (Twice.) From the Punitive Expedition right on through our conflicts in the Middle East, Fort Bliss has been on the front lines alongside the many posts and bases across the US and the World.
And some, even after their stint in the military, make El Paso their home, and we are so much the better for their decision.
No, the military I’m talking about is the one where a group of kids from Bowie give their lives in a country they had only read about in class a couple years earlier; or the kid from Tornillo, freezing in a Belgian forest with a box full of grenades and a football field of fuel, told to ‘take care of it’ if/when the Nazis break through the line or the kid from West El Paso who learned to fly choppers, only to be cut down in a far-away land called Vietnam.
There are countless stories, told and untold, all with one thread.
They, and all their fellow soldiers from El Chuco – from the Adams’ to the Zunigas’ – all shared one thing in common: their love for this country, its promise, and their belief that together, fighting for the same cause, they would ultimately ensure the survival of their country for their families.
So El Paso is what Trump doesn’t want the rest of America to know about: Successful, safe and striving to be better, regardless of race, gender or place. A place where sometimes Mexican flags fly, but the freedom to fly that flag is guaranteed and defended by another.
By no stretch of the imagination is it perfect here, witness our inability to elect some public officials who understand the basic rules of conflict of interest or the lack of knowledge of traffic laws; but we’re working on it.
And that’s what America is: the world’s best, on-going, forward-moving experiment.
There’s no need to Make America Great Again, around here we’ve been chugging along trying to perfect it the whole time – just like our founding fathers wished. Looking out for each other, helping those who have just come to our country, making them feel welcome and showing them the promise of America.
Some stay, most leave. And they sometimes come back. Same thing with our families.
Is it perfect, no. But that’s the opportunity our founders left us with – WE the people must all work together to make a more perfect union.
Together. Not one group set above another. Not one group blaming another for their own failures. A group of regular citizens united to made sure the generations unknown to us will have something just a bit better than we have. Something we’re quite familiar with here in our corner of the world.
A corner that Mr. Trump will not visit nor – hopefully – ever govern over.