It’s Monday afternoon and we’re out to look at art. We have great museums and one of the world’s best Fancy Pants Art Districts, but we always end up here instead.
The neighborhood is a bit iffy, but the art is magical. You can feel people’s stories, their heritage, their love. “Build your own American dream,” the mural says. My heart breaks for the hundredth time.
A day earlier, I was editing a story about congressmen in McAllen who were touring the cages crammed full of children. Those photos of tearful kids without their mothers and facing a terrifying future. It’s too much to bear.
But today is happy. It feels like we’re home in Corpus. Low riders and luchadores and flying skulls. Vibrant colors and inspiring artwork by incredibly gifted artists who are happy to paint on walls in forgotten alleys because the art is inside them and they need to let it out.
The messages are a slap across the face. A mural shows a white hand shaking a brown hand. So simple. So hopeful. Why is this so hard?
A little sign going into the tiny community where Mo is looking for The Cement Virgin Mary says simply: “Forget your politics. Protect the niños.”
They’re people, not numbers, these folks fleeing poverty and political persecution and atrocities that those of us grousing over only having 200 TV channels can’t even fathom. They come because they have no choice. They bring their children because the alternative is unthinkable. They take their chances because we’re their only hope, this land built on the idea that we would always leave the light on for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Those shouldn’t just be words.
“Let love in … then give it back.” What would Jesus do? What would Willie Nelson do?
Maybe you can stop people from entering, but you can never stop them from dreaming.
Here’s to dreaming …