No one can stop The Wall! Right? I’m going to depart from my usual subject here on the blog just this once. No, I’m not turning into a music reviewer and talking about Pink Floyd. I want to talk about Trump’s wall.
Oh, I can hear the groaning already! “Ugh, a political post! I’m out of here!” Just hear me out. This isn’t a political post at all in the sense of being for or against a candidate. It’s my view on the specific policy of building a wall on our southern border. I’m not here to thrash the President or sling mud, I just want to say why I think the Wall is a tremendous waste of money and resources.
But why should you care what I think? I don’t know if you should honestly, but it’s my blog, so there. Also, I’m not just a bleeding heart wannabe pastor guy. I also have a degree in Criminal Justice that features a fairly extensive discussion and education on security policy and anti-terror policy. This was a feature of any CJ program in the days after 9/11. I had classes and seminars from police officers, members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force, and even a retired British SAS soldier who had pulled duty in Belfast and other places in Northern Ireland.
So I’m still not saying you NEED to care what I think, but I’m not talking out of my rear end either.
The first thing we need to get out of the way is that opposing a big, physical barrier on the border does not mean you’re for “open borders” necessarily. I am certainly not. However, people misrepresent the views of people like me in order to make a relatively moderate view seem like an extreme leftist view. Trust me, I know and speak regularly with a lot of liberals, and not one of them is for “open borders.” On the flip side, wanting a more secure border doesn’t necessarily make you a racist, a fascist, or inhuman. We all want to be safe. The question is, how do we balance the desire to be safe with the call to be compassionate? Also, how do we use the resources at our disposal in a responsible manner to provide more dependable security?
Look, the southern border has issues. It always has, it probably always will. It’s long, it has a very diverse geography with several sections that are hard to fortify including rivers and mountain ranges. It is impossible to fortify every square mile of the southern border. That is a cold, hard, fact. It crosses private land that the government may or may not be able to seize. It crosses Native American land which the government can definitely NOT seize (lawfully anyway).
But there are reasons to try to secure the border more than it is in it’s present state. The former SAS soldier that I took seminars from was very honest when he said that with America’s airports and seaports being fortified in the wake of 9/11, the porous southern border becomes the easiest, most vulnerable way for someone with nefarious intentions to enter the country. Also, the flow of illegal narcotics across the border fuels America’s drug addictions and funnels huge amounts of money to cartels that then use that money to oppress people and expand their control. This in turn creates a desire to flee areas of cartel control, and about the only sure way to do that is to head for the United States. This results in a massive human trafficking problem where some of the world’s most vulnerable people will pay the very same cartels that they are trying to escape from every cent they have to be smuggled across the border. If they succeed in crossing they are often either left to fend for themselves or funneled into cartel run safe houses where they are often mistreated, exploited, or even sometimes sold into servitude (a particular problem for young women).
So having admitted that there IS a problem on the southern border, the next question we ask ourselves is: “Will a wall do anything to deter these actions and if so, will that offset the cost of building and maintaining it?”
For me, the answer is a resounding no. First off, I’ve already stated that it is impossible to fortify every square mile of the border, so there’s going to be large gaps in the wall, rendering it fairly useless to deter anyone who is at least enterprising enough to walk to the end of the damn thing. Plus, even if you COULD build it along the entire stretch of the border, the wall itself becomes vulnerable to breach if it’s not totally staffed every second of every day. Do you honestly think the United States can afford to spend 20 billion dollars on building a wall, let alone cover the cost of defending it? Plus, the wall will constantly be exposed to the eroding forces of nature, meaning that the cost to maintain it just went up as well.
People make comparisons to the Great Wall of China. Well, we’re not dealing with Mongolians on horseback (South Park reference alert). America’s drug habit ensures a steady stream of cash to cartels who often have technology and weapons at their disposal that are at least as good as, if not better than, the stuff that the good folks at the CBP have. If human history teaches us anything about ourselves it is that if someone builds a 12 foot wall, somebody else will build a 13 foot ladder. Of course who needs ladders when you can dig a tunnel, fly a helicopter, or just blow a whole in the damn thing with all that firepower you bought in America with the money made from selling drugs to Americans?
As long as humans have built walls other humans have figured out ways to get around them or through them. Make no mistake, both cartels and terror organizations are highly organized criminal enterprises with a lot of resources at hand. A wall might deter a few poor wannabe immigrants from trying to walk across the border to come pick fruit in a field and try to provide a better life for their family, but it’s not going to do much to stop someone who really wants to get in and hurt us. It’s almost impossible to do that in a free and open society. You know what building a wall does accomplish though? It tricks frightened and skittish American voters into thinking you’re actually doing something about the problem so they and the rest of us can continue to walk through our relatively carefree lives largely oblivious to and ignorant of the problems of the larger world around us.
These are problems that can’t be solved just by throwing money at them, doing buzzword filled TV interviews, complaining on social media, writing long off topic blog posts, or even building big ass walls. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I think doing things like hiring more border patrol folks, giving them better training and equipment, giving them better pay and benefits to make the job more attractive, and seeking more 21st century type ways to fortify the border are all better ways to spend our money than just building a big wall that must be constantly staffed and maintained. These types of solutions should be coupled with real policies designed to combat the problems inherent at the border. How do we support our allies in Mexico so that they can fight cartels and make their country safer? How do we seek to deal with America’s drug addiction and stem the flow of narcotics? The “War on Drugs” was a colossal failure, after all. How do we combat human trafficking and inhibit the cartels’ ability to operate this enterprise on both sides of the border? How do we keep America’s readily available arms and firepower out of the hands of cartels or terrorists?
Answering these questions and more provides us with the chance to make life better and more secure for people on both sides of our southern border. It’s going to take a lot of ingenuity, hard work, and maybe even some *gulp* COMPROMISE with folks who don’t agree with EVERYTHING you think.
That used to be something that America was good at. That used to be something that was viewed as a strength of our form of government. Now we’re too busy thinking that everyone who disagrees with us on ANYTHING is the devil incarnate.
I hope we snap out of it before we flush billions of dollars down the toilet and tear our country apart. Again, this is purely my opinion, and it may not be worth much. However, I needed to get it off my chest. Don’t look forward to more of these, this isn’t a political blog and it never will be. You’re certainly free to disagree if you wish, but if you’re one of these partisan trolls on either side that likes to just leave comments to stir up trouble, don’t bother. Your comment will not be approved. I cannot have my blog turned into a cesspool like Twitter or Facebook. I hesitated to even post this, but I felt like I needed to say it.
We will now return to our regularly scheduled “Path of Grace.”