Local South Texas officials didn't like Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff too much to begin with and then when he pushed forward with the border wall despite every political and ecological plea they could make, the dislike morphed into something very akin to hatred.
That hasn't passed, apparently.
This Saturday, Texas border residents in El Paso and Brownsville are throwing retirement parties for Michael Chertoff, the departing secretary of Homeland Security. He, of course, is not invited.
As a release from the No Border Wall Coalition states in part:
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During his illustrious career, Secretary Chertoff has driven a wall through the borderlands, condemned the property of hundreds of Texas landowners, waived the laws that protect us, imprisoned immigrant families, and set a new low in the response to Hurricane Katrina. Border residents will gather in Brownsville and El Paso, where Chertoff's concrete and steel legacy is being erected along the Rio Grande, to remember the man who has done so much to our communities.
"This is not a protest disguised as a party - this is a party. Chertoff has only been Secretary for three years but he has managed to do a tremendous amount of damage. Texas will be glad to see him gone, and it can't come soon enough," said Scott Nicol of the No Border Wall Coalition.
In Brownsville, the party will be held close to the coming border wall. The release described it thusly: "Chertoff's retirement is like Christmas morning and the day after you get over the flu all wrapped up together. So the party will blend a corporate retirement party and Carnival. Poets and artists will contribute their thoughts on the man who has so profoundly impacted the border; Ensamble la Mision (and possibly other bands) will play; a retirement cake and piñata will bear his likeness; Chertoff's Wheel of Fortune; a raffle; and still-President Bush may even stop by to give Chertie a send-off.
"We're having a party for Michael, but he's not invited," said Bill Guerra Addington from No Wall - Big Bend.
In El Paso, the retirement party will be held at the Chamizal National Memorial which "commemorates the harmonious settling of a century-long boundary dispute between the U.S. and Mexico, providing a counter-example to the militarization of the border that Chertoff has worked so diligently to put in place. Games and the traditional breaking of the Chertoff piñata will greet the dawning of the post-Chertoff era."
Sounds like Chertoff's missing quite a party. The only sad note is that the wall is still coming.
- Margaret Downing