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Old 02-12-2013, 08:54 AM  
La literatura La literatura is offline
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For people who live around/have traveled to U.S.-Mexican border

Is it safe to say that, from the perspective of a Midwesterner or a New York/East Coaster, it does not look like America?

I've never been there. But that's my impression.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:56 PM   #46
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When was the last time you were there, and why did you go?
Did you not read the part about the don keys?
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:01 PM   #47
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I'm interested in the question of what America looks like. What does America look like? I suspect the answer might be quite different if one is in Vermont versus Nevada.

The geography of America is too varied to be a descriptor. Maybe you could use demographics to describe it, in that you have a mix of races that are dominated by white, but that's not universally true.

When I think about coming back to the U.S. after overseas travel, the way that I know I'm home is in the upkeep and maintenance of the infrastructure. After traveling in other countries, I'm always struck by how clean America is. You drive back from the airport and there's not a single piece of trash on the side of the road. It's really quite striking.

Granted, my international travel is generally to less developed places, so you might not notice this if you're returning from Switzerland or Sweden. But if you're coming back from Egypt or Madagascar or India, you notice it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:39 PM   #48
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I doubt too many go the other way daily. The show I watched (some PBS show I think called the Daytripper) showed the people from Mexico coming through and they asked them about the process. They said that it could be 5 minutes or an hour to get through. I can't imagine that kind of hassle would be worth it for many jobs on the Mexican side. Even if it's easier for Americans it's probably still not too convenient.
I have several friends that live in El Paso. 10 years ago people travelled freely back and forth. Now, El Paso people don't travel into Juarez. It's a ****ing warzone due to the cartel wars. There are tanks and military units patrolling the streets.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:43 PM   #49
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If we were sitting in a bar together just shooting the breeze, and you told me that you were thinking of visiting a Mexican border town, I would try to talk you out of it for your own safety.
This to an extent. West of Juarez of isn't nearly as bad because Sinaloa cartel controls that half of the country. Juarez is ground zero for the cartel wars. The remnants of La Familia (knights templar and other offshoots), Los Zetas, Golfo, Sinaloa, and a smaller Juarez cartel are all fighting over it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #50
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I was stationed in San Diego when I was in the Navy back in the 90s. Me and my friends used to go down to Tijuana all the time before I turned 21. For a guy from Kansas who'd never traveled and seen much it was pretty crazy. Lot's of drinking in shady bars with hookers and you can get some pretty cool fireworks too. I see the footage of the drug violence on TV now and I can't believe nothing ever happened to me.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:18 PM   #51
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I've had very little experience with most of the U.S./Mexico border, but I lived for almost a decade in El Paso, so I have more than a casual familiarity with the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez metropolitan area.

The people who live there are not all one kind. An American culture with which most of us are very familiar as well as a traditional, stable and proud element of the Mexican culture are well represented by a relatively small percentage of the people there on each side. However, a majority of the residents blur and mesh those identities into a third culture that is uniquely its own.

In that third culture there is an daily presence of resentment toward the powerful of both the Mexican and American cultures that is born from a sense of the inevitability of defeat. There is also pride in individual street-level entrepreneurship that's missing in most of America.

Some of the government-sponsored goods and services that are provided to American residents are shared or bartered across the citizenry of both countries. There's a huge literacy problem in both languages. There's pretty hopeless poverty, and there's a market for illegal activity and a plentiful supply of the American cash that causes people to do some pretty terrible and debasing things.

My wife's parents and two of her brothers live in El Paso after having become citizens. Her brothers owned businesses in Juarez that they started and/or acquired after becoming Americans. Recently, they sold their interests in those businesses due to real, personal and specific threats of kidnap for ransom.

I used to visit Juarez whenever I was in El Paso. I loved the street food and the folk arts and the markets and the shabby exoticism of the place. I won't cross the border now.

I couldn't be more pleased to be away from that place now, but I'm very fond of the way I remember it before the cartels turned it into a war zone.
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