Daily Archives: February 2, 2020

Not a border

It’s an epidemic, this talk of borders.

And by borders, I mean state lines.

As a child, I was taught by a well-educated mother that a border is a dividing line separating countries, and a state line is a dividing line between the states in this frail union.  (Except the union wasn’t so frail then.)

When one traveled, as one did on holiday, one passed a sign saying “Illinois State Line” or “Wyoming State Line.”  No state put up a sign saying “Iowa Border.”

Border in history usually means a place where papers are checked, customs duties assessed, and passports are stamped.  We don’t do that (yet) internally in the United States of America.

So this note to NPR in particular: revise your scripts in this election season, and stop talking about being in Iowa and looking over the border to Illinois.  You are looking over the Mississippi River, ding-dongs, and that river happens to be a the state line at that point in the geography of this country.

Here endeth the rant.