By Frank C. Pierson, Jr., Editor and Publisher, www.democraticfaith.com
Kaz (my wife) and I visited Ambos Nogales - twin cities on the Mexican/US border - a couple weeks ago. We support a cross border tennis program for youngsters and wanted to experience its activities first hand. Of course we both had seen pictures of the towering slatted metal fence dressed out with concertina wire snaking through the Nogales twin cities but were still unprepared for the reality.
A tiny % of American citizens will ever share our first hand experience because the vast majority will never go there. Most, for now, will view the attempt at border militarization from a distance through a political lens. That’s too bad. First hand they might gain some insight into why US border policy is broken.
The slatted fence draped with concertina wire is reminiscent of the Maginot Line developed by the French military prior to World War II. History buffs will recall that the expensive fort and bunker system, based on WWI expectations, was outflanked in a matter of days by German Panzer divisions. Or maybe a better analogy is the Berlin Wall which failed so miserably to protect Communist East Germany from economic incursions from the West. Deconstructed it ended up as souvenirs on countless coffee tables and remnants that became tourist attractions. History books are full of ridicule for leaders who advanced these failed attempts to stymie forces mismatched with their “solutions”.
The wall between the USA and Mexico has already failed. It’s yesterday’s imagined solution to today’s problems. Locals on both sides of the border get it. President Trump and his enablers don’t (or don’t admit it). Local knowledge testifies to the fact that there are just too many identifiable avenues of ingress/egress available to outflank, literally and figuratively, the wall building enterprise. The changing of the guard at the top of the Department of Homeland Security or Customs and Border Protection can’t salvage an approach misaligned with the problem it purports to solve.
When more jobs are created tearing off the concertina wire and salvaging the steel slats, local support for retaining a section or two may make itself known. Tourists from all over the world may crane their necks in wonder and hopefully add a dollar or two to the local economy. Perhaps retired human smugglers and drug cartel members - enriched by the challenge of shepherding their precious cargo across the border - will regale rapt audiences with the inventiveness of their stratagems.
In the meantime, US taxpayers will foot costs the President of the United States swore from sea to shining sea would be paid by Mexico. Perhaps a plaque to that effect along with testimonials by gullible US citizens will help visitors make sense of the failed enterprise.
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