Tommy Lee Jones puts the “Border Fence” into perspective

The border wall has gained a new, and very visible opponent. Interviewed by 02138, the magazine about all things Harvard, alumnus Tommy Lee Jones minced no words when asked about his thoughts on the barrier.

The idea of a fence between El Paso and Brownsville bears all the credibility and seriousness of flying saucers from Mars or leprechauns. Or any manner of malicious, paranoid superstition. In other words, it’s bullshit.

(T)he talk is worth headlines, the talk is worth attention, and that might lead to votes. It’s a predatory approach to democracy by those who would instill fear and then propose themselves as a solution. It’s very destructive. Very, very destructive. And it’s the perfectly wrong thing to do.

First of all, it won’t work. You can’t build a fence that I cannot get over, through, or under if I want to go to Mexico. In that [border] country, you cannot do it. It’s a complete folly. Ecologically, it’s a complete disaster, and sociologically, it’s a complete disaster. It’s an act of fascist madness.

But that isn’t bad enough, Jones says. What building a border wall is really all about is electoral politics at its most cynical.

And the people who are being appealed to, the voterships that are removed from that country, are being spoken to as if it’s time to fence their backyard so the stray dog doesn’t get in. “OK, let’s just build a fence.” That’s as far removed from reality as can be, and entirely cynical by those who would manipulate these people. It’s a sad day for the democratic process to see people manipulated through fear and insecurity.

Jones’ incisive view is based not on ideology but on life experience. He grew up Midland and lived in San Antonio for three decades.