"How little is the privilege become of being born a citizen of Rome."
-Juvenal, Saturae, c. 100 a.d.
Tucson, Arizona: 1984. You have heard about a peculiar statue there. You have come to see it. You follow the tour guide off the bus, and he leads you to it, The Thing.
[quoteright]"Here we are, friends - in Tuscon, Arizona. There it is - the statue of Pancho Villa. Fourteen feet tall, 14 tons. Some people don't like it. We got it in June of 1981. Gift from the Mexican government. A Mr. Acedo who lives here said Villa and his men raped his - Mr. Acedo's grandmother. A professor of the University of Arizona, Bernard Fontana, is trying to get it out of here. He says Villa and his men massacred 77 boys and men in 1915, in the Mexican village of San Pedro de la Cueva, when their families couldn't raise the 3,000 pesos ransom demanded for each of their lives. Three months after that, Villa and 600 of his men rode into Columbus, in New Mexico, and killed 17 Americans. Professor Fontana says the acceptance of this statue by the City of Tucson is unforgivable. Sure is a lot of bronze. A real whole lot of bronze."
The tour finished, you return to your hotel. Browsing at the magazine stand, you thumb through the December, 1983 Texas Monthly. Suddenly you are looking at Pancho Villa's death mask, pictured in an article about Villa and his cloudy life and death. Bemused by the coincidence, you buy the magazine and head for a restaurant booth for a siege of reading and coffee.
The article tells you that a school in El Paso has ownership of the grisly final visage of Mexico's "patron saint of revenge", and that powerful elements of the Mexican government want it for enshrining in Mexico. You wonder if these elements of the Mexican government who want Villa's death mask in Mexico are the same elements that want his statue in Tucson; as this riddle bemuses you, as you raise your cup to signal the waitress for a refill, a shadow falls dimly over your booth, and you sense a presence at your side. Looking up, you see a stereotypical sourdough, a very incarnation of the Forty-niner prospector vagabond, looking like the twin of Gabby Hayes.
"You like that article?" he asks, smiling with rusty toothsomeness.
"Well...." you begin.
"That article and the statue go together like pigs in a poke, don't they? Mind if I sit down?"
He is there, and you are a Mensan, and curious; and you quickly deduce that he, too, must be a Mensan, at least by dint of his desire to have an opinion and to express it. His amiability assures you that you will buy the coffee, and you do. And, with a few challenging interjections to show your interest, you utilize another knack of the intelligent: you listen."
The bronze is a good symbol. Yeah, Villa is a bronze statue in the U.S. - that's a sure sign of a new bronze age. You remember the bronze age? Wandering, rootless hordes. Osmotic anthropology, where hordes migrate from areas of scarce food supplies and lack of civilization to areas of high food supply and established civilization. Then they average it out, like the Visigoths and the Vandals and the Huns did to Rome. The editor of Excelsior, in Mexico City, wrote - July 20, 1982, by the way (you are convinced that this guy knows where the gold is in Arizona, if there is any) - that the impress of illegal aliens into this nation is the most important event in history. Mexico is recovering its own territory, he says. The editor, Loret de Mola, is jubilant, fairly urging the illegal aliens to move in. 'You are unstoppable', he seems to tell them. 'The U.S. is overripe, lazy, decadent. They luxuriate in the land stolen from our fathers. Barge in, wave by wave, and take it back.' He claims they already have Los Angeles. San Antonio, down in Texas, is called the Hispanic capital of the U.S. No, you needn't worry about ICBMs. You and your blood will die out from the leeching gutting the underbelly of the nation. Not a bang. A whimper."
"It can't be that bad," you wonder audibly.
"No? Better count the numbers. Better check your history - to see how well borderless nations do in a jungle planet. You might want your congressman to think about moving some of the D.C. hovel-shelter delusional government down to San Diego and Dallas, and staying a while. See if they might not think we are nearly to nationhood, what with the two-hundredth anniversary of the Constitution coming up. And, like a real-grown-up-nation, maybe we ought to have some borders. You know - like they have in Europe, and around Russia, and in the Orient. Borders, with some of the old timey 'Don't tread on me' flags all along them."
You order another round of coffee.
"You ever hear of Andre Sakharov?" the wizened lapidary queries. You nod your head, but add, "Not much."
"He's the father of the Russian H-bomb, under house arrest there now for his advocacy of civil rights. He knew all about the Russian top honchos, the Comintern, KGB - the shebang. He slipped out a letter to the New York Times a few years ago. In it he told how the KGB has an unbelievable, very subtle and long-developed influence over the American media. Arnaud DeBorchgrave wrote about it in The Spike, and talked about it on the TV not long ago. I believe Sakharov must be right. The media stay focused on IBCMs, Three Mile Island, the incivilities of handpicked idiots in the Cabinet, Death Row, and whether or not the use of sand in sandbags around the Marines is a form of environmental destruction. But little or nothing on the lack of borders around the U.S. No headlines on the daily digging in by illegal aliens. All such as that, if it is ever written, must end up on editorial spikes. It is beneath the dignity of editors in a We-Got-It-Made nation, such as too many of us think we have, to launch any really searing editorial campaigns on Where Are Our Borders? and What happened To Them? Chappaquiddick, The Warren Commission, Elizabeth Taylor's latest, the newest TV Soap with the surefire plot built around presenting the anglo American male as a clone of Dagwood Bumstead - these are the media's hot items."
"You think Sakharov was right?" you ask.
"What do you think?" the sourdough replies with a smile, as he begins to slide out of the booth.
"What can we do?" you ask, feeling foolish.
"Me, I'm going back down to the statue to watch the beginning of the new bronze age," he answers. "Read Call of the Wild, the part about the greenhorns rushing pell-mell after the gold, and what happened to them. Down at the statue the same kind are having their picture made. It's the latest thing. They never heard of Sakharov; most of them don't know who the statue represents, or where it came from. But if they come in here later, I try to talk to them, tell them about the article you just read. Encourage them to drink some coffee. Maybe a lot of coffee will wake them up."
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