A Defense of Trump's Border Wall
by Mari Gomez
(originally published on June 5th, 2016 in Shit Talking the Elephant)
Logistically speaking there are a myriad of questions to ask regarding the border wall with Mexico: How it would be built, what material, how it would actually be paid for, where the labor will come from. How much will a wall that spans about 2,000 miles actually cost? The Border fence built as part of George W. Bush’s Secure Fence Act of 2006 was a rather costly endeavor that didn’t pan out too well, cost billions of dollars, and was never really completed as intended. The law was supposedly an initiative towards immigration reform, or as George W. Bush, in all his oratory grace, put it:
“This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step towards immigration reform.”
The fence hasn’t protected the American people from a whole lot, not from tons illegal narcotics, not from the influx of illegal immigrants/refugees fleeing violence and poverty in Mexico and Latin America, and certainly not from the lack of comprehensive immigration reform.
Donald Trump’s proposal for a literal and physical border wall is appealing to Americans in a visceral away; The Wall is an image, a representation of a less over-extended interventionist foreign policy and a more insulated domestic one. The Border Wall is built out of Trump’s varying positions of “America First” politics and a call for a robust nationalism. It’s visually enticing and a good chunk of Americans fear their country has lost control of its own borders and therefore its national identity and stability.
I came to the idea that The Wall might be good for Mexico too. This is a country that has already lost too much to and/or because of America. America’s drug policies, after all, have had a direct impact on Mexico’s stability, economy, and security. I find it interesting that Mexicans are so concerned about who the President for the United States will be, while their very own President and "elected" officials consistently prove themselves corrupt, incompetent, and in cahoots with organized crime. The news coming out of Mexico on a daily basis is horrifying, yet somehow these proud Mexicans living in the States don't seem to notice.
Frankly, it’s more than embarrassing when I see videos of Trump rallies where fat Mexicans are spouting off nonsense, yelling, and wearing sombreros or burning American flags. Or, when Mexican flag wavers beat up Trump supporters carrying U.S flags(as in this picture above). Look at yourselves, your burning the flag of the country that probably took you or your immigrant parents in. The country that gave you education, (although given your behavior probably not a very good one. Or should we blame that on your parents?). I’d like to know how many of those Mexican protesters are on food stamps or have received Financial Aid for school. My guess would be most of them. Where were you all when news of the Fast and Furious weapons operation broke? When Eric Holder lied to Congress about it? Yeah, you know the operation that emboldened cartel violence by providing them with weapons? Where was your Mexican pride then? Or when the U.S and the rest of the world finally got their hands on Mexico’s rich oil reserves?
So, Trump, let’s talk about The Wall. Aside from the scenic obstruction, some would argue the building of the W. Bush fence, (in some stretches simply vehicle barriers) really only forced illegal immigrants into alternative and far more dangerous routes across the border, causing desperate people to undergo treacherous terrain, be raped and/or ripped off by coyotes, and many to die of thirst or exhaustion in the expansive deserts. In the end it proved that a fence would not be enough to completely deter people willing to risk everything for the possibility of a better life. It proved that without immigration reform or consequences for those crossing illegally, it only encourages more illegal immigration. Deterring illegal immigration and immigration reform requires an approach from all directions; it requires a shift of thinking; it requires accepting that America has a right to defend its borders.
Bush’s Border Fence back in 2006 was met with varying complications. First off, there are the environmental worries. Then the realization that the border is comprised of very different terrain so a single type of fencing would be impossible. The same kinds of structural and practical questions have been posed to Donald Trump, yet he seems able to continue pushing the idea to cheers and hoots of supporters. This is precisely because the idea of the literal Border Wall is emblematic of the position that this nation has derailed into an identity crisis.
The logistics of the Border Wall are completely irrelevant, because Trump is using The Wall as a way to capture people’s imagination. The Wall is deeper than that, it speaks to the nations need to consider self-preservation.
Of course to the hypersensitive Left and regressive liberals, the wall merely suggests Trump is a racist. The wall is interpreted as such, but Trump is not suggesting a border, the border already exists, as does the law against crossing it illegally. Other than the unpleasant aesthetic aspect, what is so explicitly racist about the wall? Is having a border racist? Should we simply open up the ports of entry? Luis Gutierrez, Congressman for Illinois, certainly thinks so, as does his close ally and supporter Hillary Clinton. Moreover, Obama has deported or "removed" illegal immigrants too, just like every other President, and his numbers are not particularly low, yet somehow when Trump talks about it, he's a racist. Somehow when Hillary Clinton says she wants to continue Obama's policies on most things, she's not called a racist.
This election is about more than just the fight between the Left and the Right. It’s about people fighting for America and its founding principles and people that are happy with a watered down restricted and politically correct American culture. Trump is calling for America First and people misinterpret this too as racist, but some degree of nationalism , or pride, is necessary in order for a country to define itself, its needs, and its immediate interests.
Secondly, for the love of Mexico. What if The Wall creates a big enough rift that Mexicans say, you know what, let’s fix our country. Again, why are these protesters marching around the U.S with Mexican flags obnoxiously incoherent and boisterous? This isn’t a soccer game. This is an election. What would happen if a bunch of fat Americans went over to Mexico and waved a U.S flag among some election protests? At the very least it would appear to be imperial in nature. At worst, they'd be found in a ditch somewhere. Where is this anger against their own government, which presumably is at fault for making them (or their family) come to the U.S in the first place? Mexico needs to save Mexico, not the U.S. If you’re so concerned about Mexico that you are prompted to carry the flag as a statement of how deeply you care for it, and you do so in another country, then go to Mexico and protest there. See what happens. You’ll come crying back to the U.S. Political protest in Mexico takes real courage. And many Mexicans are doing it, truly brave journalists, activists, and people fed up with violence and poverty. It’s starting to happen and that’s what Mexico needs to focus on.
People in Mexico have real complaints. There is crime, abject poverty, killings. Journalists get murdered. Crimes go unsolved. Students disappear. Clandestine mass graves are found on a regular basis. If you’re Mexican and living in the U.S, what is your complaint? You want more financial aid? More food stamps? You want citizenship? Well, violently protesting is not going to get it for you. And yes, many of these people at Trump rallies are probably U.S citizens. If so, then educate yourself and debate like a civilized person. Why not start a legitimate political movement instead of going out on the street without your shirt and screaming “Puto,” and “Racist!” or "Fuck Trump." Don’t you know any other words? You’re making us all look bad, asshole.
There is no other country in the world that would tolerate another country’s flag being shoved in their citizens’ faces, while the home country’s flag is disrespected. (video above)
The United States has for so long provided Mexico an escape route and it has weakened Mexico and diluted their sense of true Mexican identity. Engaging in violent protests and waving your flag in another country is not exactly nationalism, not the healthy kind anyway. How is that helping Mexico? How does that aid the already skewed image Mexicans have of being narcos and criminals and uneducated?
The Wall might have an emotional response and make Mexicans feel that there is no escape. Hey, maybe we are not wanted here, so let’s go back and fix our country because our country is also beautiful. Because we have natural resources and land and schools and culture. Remember the battle cry of the Mexican Revolution? Tierra y Libertad.
Land and liberty.
Revolution and radical change happen when people see no escape to their situation, so they roll up their sleeves and do something about it. Of course, it’s easy to say that, but the Mexican people have had their fair share of violence in the past decade and who could blame them for wanting to leave it? The War on Drugs has been catastrophic to both countries and I hope that part of Trump’s Wall is dealing with this policy. He’s been relatively quiet on it so far, although in the 1990’s he did mention the way to go was to legalize drugs. I realize that it’s not as easy as simply saying, “Well, start a revolution then,” when cartels and organized crime have unprecedented amount of power and control over the political landscape, land, and resources and especially when the people are unarmed.
Generations of corrupt politicians in Mexico have bled the country dry and forced the people into a mere survival mode, where politics and political change often seem too inconceivable, too ambitious, unlikely to the common folk. It’s more conceivable to just go to the U.S. They have been made to believe that this is simply the way things are, creating what is often a culture of complacency in Mexico. How does a revolution happen in that country when the corruption is so deep in the nation's fabric and the people can’t arm themselves? I don’t have the answer to that, except that it has to start with Mexicans wanting to save their own country instead of wanting the U.S to do it for them. In oil reserves alone, Mexico could have some pretty good leverage and provide its people with some economic growth.
NAFTA aided in blurring the lines between the countries and wreaked havoc on American workers, while taking advantage of Mexican cheap labor. NAFTA was passed by Bill Clinton with the pretense of ‘expanding trade.’ Trumps Wall would change this dynamic. Keep the jobs in America. Get rid of shifty trade agreements. NAFTA contributed to the harrowing devaluation of the Mexican peso in the 1990’s, which then caused an increase in illegal immigration to the U.S. This, in turn, drove wages of U.S citizens even lower while it increased the amount of illegals in the U.S.
In America, nationalism has somehow become politically incorrect. All of a sudden to say that you want to re-establish an American identity or that you are pro-American which is what Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan is all about, is labeled as hate spreading and racist.
Donald Trump is not the change in America. He is the vehicle by which the anti-establishment sentiments have manifested themselves. The change is already happening, but it’s happening through him. He's saying it and he's saying it loud and clear. He might just be the catalyst for change. This could only be possible with a non-politician, somebody who is not beholden to the system. Somebody who thinks, like a true American. Yet, it’s true to say that there is no real accountability for Presidents once they get into office. If they don’t do as they promised and go haywire, there is not a whole lot the American people can do, except protest, organize, and revolt and I suppose we got to be ready for that too. For now, I have hope that the shift in conversation, that exposing the mainstream media and the political establishment has changed the playing field. I hope that The Wall will make people re-asses what America really stands for.
The Wall is already being built. We are building it, not Donald Trump, much to the protests of the loud egg throwing American flag burning protesters and short sighted progressives, who are preoccupied with ensuring Facebook lists all the gender identifications. The wall is the only hope for the Constitution of the United States of America and with all my deepest love to my native country, the only hope is that it look at itself and realize that for too long it has depended on the U.S.
Mexico too can be great. Tierra y Libertad.
Liberty. Yeah, Americans know that word too. I’m just now starting to understand it.